Use Gedit as Remote File Editor via FTP and SSH (Ubuntu)

Migrating from Windows Vista to Ubuntu 8.04 and have been using it all the way to 9.10, I am now a complete Linux convert. As a web developer, I am frequently required to edit files on remote servers. Without some kind of mechanism to automate the upload process, it becomes laborious as number of files grows. On Windows system I use Notepad++ and its FTP plugin to edit remote files, which work pretty well.

Now I am using Ubuntu, I have to find a similar editor to accomplish this. After some investigation, I found that the bundled text editor gedit is capable of doing remote file editing -- but not without some tricks. In the rest of the article I am going to show you how to do this.

Step 1: Connect to a Remote Server

  • Go to Places->Connect to Server and connect to a remote server. Make sure that you check "Add bookmark" check box.
  • Enter a name for this connection as you will use this to refer to the remote server in gedit.
  • Click "Connect" to proceed.

If you are promoted to enter a password, enter it and choose a password option that fits your need. They are self-explanatory.

Step 2: Editing Remote File

  • Once you are successfully connected to a server, fire up gedit.
  • Go to view and check "Side Panel" or press F9.
  • At bottom of side panel, click "File Browser" tab.
  • On top of the side panel drop down menu, select "Bookmarks".
  • Expand the server you are connecting to.
  • You now can edit remote files as they are local files.

Gedit is a very powerful text editor. In my option it is as feature-rich as Notepad++. Syntax highlighting, bracket matching, automatic indentation are the features I find the most useful to me. I use the following preferences to make gedit the programmer's perfect text editor:

Another tip is that you can narrow the file list in the side panel by applying filter. For example at bottom of the side panel, if you enter "*.php" in the "Match Filename" text box, the side panel now will only show PHP files.

Once again thanks for reading.

26 Comments Use Gedit as Remote File Editor via FTP and SSH (Ubuntu)

  1. Cuong

    I use this mostly to edit websites which do not require super user privilege. If I need to edit system files remotely, I would just SSH and use vi for the job. So as a web developer, I use this method 99% of the time.

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  3. thedoctorzeus

    Thank you! I use Coda on my Mac and was trying to find something simple and similar for Ubuntu

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  5. Dave

    How can I do this when using gedit on a Mac? I can use gedit and the file browser plugin just fine. But I don't see how to add add a bookmark when I connect to the server.

  6. Evgeni Petrov


    I am working like that but if I do not have activity on the ftp server, Nautilus seems to drop the connection and gedit hangs when I try to save a file. Do you know how I can prevent this? (by automatically closing the file in gedit or by keeping the ftp session alive in Nautilus).

  7. Hamdi

    Thanks a lot!! This is awesome! I was looking some ways to edit files remotely using my favorite editor and IDE with this method I can not just use gedit but any IDE or editor to edit files! Thanks a lot for sharing:)

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  11. Lauren

    Thank you so much. I've been trying to do something like this for a long time. I didn't know it was so simple.

  12. Jenny Saberi

    I'm not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I'll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

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  15. jbi

    Using Ubuntu 14.04. Some things changed: In 'Files' you can directly click on 'connect to server'. The upcoming dialogue no longer has a bookmark-checkmark. However, the connection shows up in Gedits Bookmark-section as long as you don't use the 'disconnect' symbol next to the connection in 'Files'.

  16. Joe Adams

    This only works if you have a connection that never drops. Otherwise, gedit hangs, and takes out ALL the work you are doing in n-th files in gedit.

    Combined with the "crashes on large files" bug, it is better to use a more stable editor.

    Gedit isn't out of alpha yet, from my perspective. They keep adding "features", while it is still a fundamentally broken application.

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  18. Er1c N0b0dy

    gedit does not include ftp support, it is provided by the gnome desktop. If you have it on xfce, you are still f*&ked.

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