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How to check if file exists on FTP before FtpWebRequest

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


I need to use FtpWebRequest to put a file in a FTP directory. Before the upload, I would first like to know if this file exists.

What method or property should I use to check if this file exists?

var request = (FtpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create
request.Credentials = new NetworkCredential("user", "pass");
request.Method = WebRequestMethods.Ftp.GetFileSize;

    FtpWebResponse response = (FtpWebResponse)request.GetResponse();
catch (WebException ex)
    FtpWebResponse response = (FtpWebResponse)ex.Response;
    if (response.StatusCode ==
        //Does not exist

As a general rule it’s a bad idea to use Exceptions for functionality in your code like this, however in this instance I believe it’s a win for pragmatism. Calling list on the directory has the potential to be FAR more inefficient than using exceptions in this way.

If you’re not, just be aware it’s not good practice!

EDIT: “It works for me!”

This appears to work on most ftp servers but not all. Some servers require sending “TYPE I” before the SIZE command will work. One would have thought that the problem should be solved as follows:

request.UseBinary = true;

Unfortunately it is a by design limitation (big fat bug!) that unless FtpWebRequest is either downloading or uploading a file it will NOT send “TYPE I”. See discussion and Microsoft response here.

I’d recommend using the following WebRequestMethod instead, this works for me on all servers I tested, even ones which would not return a file size.




request.Method = WebRequestMethods.Ftp.GetFileSize

may fails in some case (550: SIZE not allowed in ASCII mode), you can just check Timestamp instead.

reqFTP.Credentials = new NetworkCredential(inf.LogOn, inf.Password);
reqFTP.UseBinary = true;
reqFTP.Method = WebRequestMethods.Ftp.GetDateTimestamp;