About SFTP Troubleshooting
SFTP stands for SSH File Transfer Protocol. In essence, it is one method used to transfer files from your server to Qualtrics, or vice versa. This page covers the most common issues that arise when setting up an SFTP connection, and how to troubleshoot the problem. When troubleshooting SFTP connections, you should work with your IT team who will be able to help with server and network issues.
Where Qualtrics Uses SFTP
Below is a list of everywhere in the Qualtrics product you can use SFTP connections:
- Contact Import Automation: Automatically import contacts to your XM Directory.
- Response Import & Export Automations: Automatically import or export survey data.
- Employee Directory Automations: Automatically import employee data to your EX Directory.
- Extract Data from SFTP Files Task: Import data from your SFTP server to use in Qualtrics.
SFTP Network Issues
There are several common network issues that can come up when setting up an SFTP connection. To diagnose network issues, contact Qualtrics Support who will be able to tell you if your SFTP is failing due to a network issue.
If a support member identifies that a network issue is causing the SFTP connection to fail, then you will need to work with your IT team to fix the issue. The most common network issues are:
- I/O timeouts: I/O timeouts are caused by the SFTP server not responding to the Qualtrics SFTP client’s requests.
- Connection reset by peer errors: Connection reset by peer errors are caused by the SFTP server receiving an RST TCP packet, signaling that it should close the connection.
Most networking issues, including the two mentioned above, are caused by a firewall, IPS, or other network control system inside the network of the SFTP server. Qualtrics does not have any system in our network that would cause such issues. To help mitigate these issues, you can have your IT team add the Qualtrics IP ranges to your server’s allow list to make sure no traffic from us is blocked on your server.
If allowlisting does not solve the issue, your IT team should run a packet trace inside the SFTP server’s network to determine what in the network is causing the issue. Common issues are dropped packets or incorrectly sent RST packets. If your IT team believes that the unusual network activity is being caused by Qualtrics, we ask that they send us a packet dump at the edge of the network.
SFTP Server Issues
SFTP server issues occur when there is a problem with the machine running the SFTP server. To diagnose server issues, contact Qualtrics Support who will be able to tell you if your SFTP is failing due to a server issue.
The most common SFTP server issues are:
- Mismatched encryption methods.
Qtip: Encryption is not supported on response import & export automations.
- Custom scripts or bots running on the SFTP server that manage files and conflict with the automation file ingestion process.
To fix mismatched encryption methods, make sure your server is using one the Qualtrics supported ciphers.
Qualtrics automations do not support any additional file management on top of the basic SFTP protocol. If you have a system that deletes or moves a file after it is “touched,” or if your system only permits a file “touch” so many times before failing, you will need to remove these extra measures for the SFTP server to be compatible with Qualtrics automations. Qualtrics manages the ingestion of the files itself on the server, and it will “touch” the files several times before removing them.
If your IT/Networking team believes that the unusual SFTP server activity is being caused by Qualtrics, we ask that they send us a dump of their SFTP logs. Note that they will need to define from the logs what they discover to be unusual, as we cannot read such logs without context.
Alternative Import Sources
If the above recommendations did not help you and your IT team resolve the issue, you may want to look at alternative ways to import your files. We recommend switching to an alternative data import source. You may use one of the following alternatives:
- The Qualtrics file service is an HTTPS file hosting service that is provided for free with automations and works directly with automations. You can find detailed API documentation about how to use this service here. If you select the Qualtrics file service when setting up your automation, we’ll walk you through how to use it.
- Qualtrics offers our own SFTP servers for clients through our Professional Services team. There is a cost associated with this service; however, we do guarantee that these servers will work with automations. For more information, contact our Professional Services team.
- You may use Google Drive and Dropbox as alternative file-drop services when setting up your automation.
- Try using an alternative SFTP server. We don’t have any recommended vendors at this time.