Need help?

Our experts have had an average response time of 11.7 minutes in August 2021 to fix urgent issues.

We will keep your servers stable, secure, and fast at all times for one fixed price.

‘Couldn’t get handle’ failure SFTP error

by | May 24, 2021

Wondering how to fix ‘Couldn’t get handle’ failure SFTP error? We can help you.

While performing tasks with SFTP we may end up with this common error.

Here at Bobcares, we often handle requests from our customers to fix similar SFTP errors. Today we will see how our support engineers fix this for our customers as a part of our Server Management Services.

What causes ‘Couldn’t get handle’ failure SFTP error

SFTP users at times receive the “Couldn’t get handle: Permission denied” failure message while performing tasks. Following is an example where this typical error is seen:

computer:~ user$ sftp [email protected]
Connecting to
[email protected]'s password:
sftp> ls
Couldn't get handle: Permission denied
sftp> cd download
Couldn't canonicalise: Permission denied
sftp> put test.txt
Uploading test.txt to /test.txt
Couldn't get handle: Permission denied

The get handle error is returned by the server to the client since the server is unable to return a valid filehandle for writing due to a lack of permission to either the directory.

Following are some of the main causes for this error:

1. FTP user does not have enough permission
2. File that we are trying to upload already exists on the server
3. Length of the file name
4. Selinux policy

Methods to fix this error:

FTP user does not have enough permission

One of the most common reasons for this error is that the user with which we are trying to connect does not have enough permission to access the folder.

To fix this we need to ensure that the sftp user has write access to the directory.

For wordpress sites the prefered permission for the files is 664 . All folders should be 775 . wp-config. php should be 660 .

If the users have list\read access they would be able to change the directory. However, they will be unable to write to the directory.

So we need to initially check the permission of the files and folders by connecting through SSH and changing it through chmod and chown commands.

chmod -R /home/user_name

File that we are trying to upload already exist in the server

This error may also occur when we try to upload multiple files to the server at the same time. If the server already has a file with the same filename as the one we try to upload, it may show this error.

We can try to upload a single file and see if there is a file that already exists on the server that is not allowing the file to be rewritten.

Length of the file name

When the file name is too long there is a possibility for this error to occur. A user attempting to put a file name/BatchID greater than 64 characters can trigger this error.

In this case, we will need to rename the file with a shorter filename

Selinux policy

If we have Selinux is enabled we may end up with this error.

We can try disabling it temporarily with

setenforce 0

[Still, stuck with the error? We are happy to help you]


In short, we saw how our support engineers fix the ‘Couldn’t get handle’ failure SFTP error for our customers.


Never again lose customers to poor server speed! Let us help you.

Our server experts will monitor & maintain your server 24/7 so that it remains lightning fast and secure.


var google_conversion_label = "owonCMyG5nEQ0aD71QM";


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Preference Center


Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID - Preserves user session state across page requests.

gdpr[consent_types] - Used to store user consents.

gdpr[allowed_cookies] - Used to store user allowed cookies.

PHPSESSID, gdpr[consent_types], gdpr[allowed_cookies]


Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

_ga - Preserves user session state across page requests.

_gat - Used by Google Analytics to throttle request rate

_gid - Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how you use the website.

smartlookCookie - Used to collect user device and location information of the site visitors to improve the websites User Experience.

_ga, _gat, _gid
_ga, _gat, _gid


Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

IDE - Used by Google DoubleClick to register and report the website user's actions after viewing or clicking one of the advertiser's ads with the purpose of measuring the efficacy of an ad and to present targeted ads to the user.

test_cookie - Used to check if the user's browser supports cookies.

1P_JAR - Google cookie. These cookies are used to collect website statistics and track conversion rates.

NID - Registers a unique ID that identifies a returning user's device. The ID is used for serving ads that are most relevant to the user.

DV - Google ad personalisation

IDE, test_cookie, 1P_JAR, NID, DV, NID
IDE, test_cookie


These are essential site cookies, used by the google reCAPTCHA. These cookies use an unique identifier to verify if a visitor is human or a bot.