How to Install FTP Server on Web Host

Installing an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server for your hosting can be a piece of cake if you follow these simple steps.

  1. Choose your FTP server software:

First things first, let’s pick the right ingredients. Some popular FTP server software options are:

  • Pure-FTPd: A secure, efficient, and easy-to-use FTP server that’s like the chocolate chip cookie of FTP servers. Who doesn’t love a classic?
  • vsftpd: Known for its strong security, this FTP server is like the sturdy and reliable oatmeal cookie.
  • ProFTPD: A highly configurable and feature-rich FTP server that’s the gingerbread cookie of servers, offering endless customization possibilities.
  1. Install the FTP server software:

Once you’ve chosen your FTP server, it’s time to install it on your hosting server. I’ll provide examples for Pure-FTPd, vsftpd, and ProFTPD on a Ubuntu-based system, but remember that the installation process might vary depending on your server’s operating system. So, buckle up and get ready for some command-line magic!

  • Pure-FTPd:
  • sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install pure-ftpd
  • vsftpd:
  • sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install vsftpd
  • ProFTPD:
  • sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install proftpd
  1. Configure the FTP server:

Now that we’ve got the dough, let’s shape it to our liking. You’ll need to configure the FTP server software by editing its configuration file.

  • Pure-FTPd: /etc/pure-ftpd/pure-ftpd.conf
  • vsftpd: /etc/vsftpd.conf
  • ProFTPD: /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf

Here’s a simple example of a vsftpd configuration that allows local users to log in and securely upload/download files:

# Allow local users to log in
# Enable writing to the FTP server
write_enable=YES# Enable secure FTP (FTPS)
  1. Create FTP users:

No cookie is complete without its toppings! We need to create FTP users and set their passwords. In most cases, you’ll use the existing system users for FTP access. To create a new user, run:

sudo adduser ftpuser

Replace “ftpuser” with your desired username, and follow the prompts to set a password.

  1. Start the FTP server:

The cookies are ready to go into the oven! Start your FTP server software and enable it to run at startup:

  • Pure-FTPd:
  • sudo systemctl start pure-ftpd
    sudo systemctl enable pure-ftpd
  • vsftpd:
  • sudo systemctl start vsftpd
    sudo systemctl enable vsftpd
  • ProFTPD:
  • sudo systemctl start proftpd
    sudo systemctl enable proftpd
  1. Test. If you can not connect check if your firewall is blocking.


FTP server security

  1. Use secure protocols: Instead of using the traditional FTP protocol, which transmits data in plaintext, opt for secure alternatives like FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). Both protocols encrypt data during transmission, providing confidentiality and integrity.
  2. Keep software up-to-date: Regularly update your FTP server software to ensure that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes.
  3. Strong authentication: Implement strong, unique passwords for each FTP user account. Alternatively, you can use public key authentication (especially for SFTP) for an added layer of security.
  4. Limit user access: Restrict user access to the minimum required for their tasks. Assign appropriate file permissions and avoid giving write access to users who only need read access. Also, implement the principle of least privilege by providing only necessary permissions to users.
  5. Disable anonymous access: Anonymous access allows users to log in without a password, which can be a security risk. Disabling anonymous access ensures that only authorized users can access the server.
  6. Use chroot jails: Isolate user accounts by confining them to their home directories using chroot jails. This prevents users from accessing files and directories outside their designated areas.
  7. Use firewalls and network security: Configure firewalls to allow only necessary ports and IP addresses. You can also implement intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) to monitor and block suspicious activities.
  8. Enable logging and monitoring: Enable logging on your FTP server to track user activities and detect anomalies. Regularly review logs for any signs of unauthorized access or suspicious behavior.
  9. Implement rate limiting and connection restrictions: Limit the number of simultaneous connections and failed login attempts from a single IP address to prevent brute force attacks and resource exhaustion.
  10. Use intrusion detection systems (IDS): Deploy an IDS to monitor network traffic for any suspicious activity, such as repeated login attempts or unusual data transfer patterns, and alert administrators in real-time.


More options

  • FileZilla Server: A free, open-source FTP server for Windows, offering a user-friendly interface and support for FTP, FTPS, and SFTP.
  • Microsoft IIS FTP Server: An FTP server module included with Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) for Windows Server.
  • Serv-U FTP Server: A commercial FTP server solution from SolarWinds, available for both Windows and Linux, offering advanced features, web-based management, and support for FTP, FTPS, SFTP, and HTTP/S.
  • Titan FTP Server: A commercial FTP server for Windows, offering robust security features, granular configuration, and support for FTP, FTPS, and SFTP.
  • CrushFTP: A commercial, multi-protocol file server for Windows, macOS, and Linux, supporting FTP, FTPS, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, and WebDAV.
  • WS_FTP Server: A commercial FTP server solution from Ipswitch for Windows, offering secure file transfer capabilities, remote administration, and integration with other enterprise systems.
  • Xlight FTP Server: A high-performance, easy-to-use FTP server for Windows, with support for FTP, FTPS, and SFTP, as well as granular access control and virtual server configurations.



  1. What is an FTP server?

An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server is a software application that enables the transfer of files between a client and a server over a network. FTP servers facilitate the upload, download, and management of files, providing a convenient way for users to share and access files remotely.

  1. What are the differences between FTP, FTPS, and SFTP?
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): The original file transfer protocol, which transmits data in plaintext, making it susceptible to eavesdropping and interception.
  • FTPS (FTP Secure): An extension of FTP that uses SSL/TLS encryption to secure the data transmission, ensuring confidentiality and integrity.
  • SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol): A separate protocol that utilizes SSH (Secure Shell) to encrypt data during transfer, providing a secure and reliable means of file transfer.
  1. How do I set up an FTP server?

Setting up an FTP server involves installing FTP server software on your hosting environment, configuring the software, creating user accounts, and setting up appropriate permissions. Popular FTP server software options include vsftpd, Pure-FTPd, and ProFTPD for Linux/Unix systems, and FileZilla Server or Microsoft IIS FTP Server for Windows systems.

  1. How can I access an FTP server?

To access an FTP server, you can use an FTP client like FileZilla, WinSCP, or Cyberduck, or a built-in client in your operating system, such as Windows Explorer or the command-line FTP client in Linux/Unix. You’ll need to provide the FTP server address, port, username, and password to establish a connection.

  1. Can I restrict access to my FTP server?

Yes, you can restrict access to your FTP server by implementing strong authentication, disabling anonymous access, limiting user permissions, and using firewalls to allow only specific IP addresses or ranges. Additionally, you can set up chroot jails to confine users to their home directories, preventing them from accessing other files and directories on the server.

  1. Are there any FTP server alternatives?

Alternatives to FTP servers include cloud-based file storage and sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. These services provide user-friendly interfaces, file versioning, and collaboration features, along with built-in security measures such as encryption and access control.

  1. How do I secure my FTP server?

Securing your FTP server involves using secure protocols (FTPS or SFTP), regularly updating your FTP server software, implementing strong authentication, restricting user access, disabling anonymous access, isolating users with chroot jails, configuring firewalls and network security, enabling logging and monitoring, and implementing rate limiting and connection restrictions.

  1. Can I run an FTP server on a home computer?

Yes, you can run an FTP server on a home computer. However, be aware of the potential security risks and performance limitations, such as bandwidth constraints and dynamic IP addresses. To mitigate these issues, ensure that your FTP server is secure, consider using a dynamic DNS service, and monitor your bandwidth usage.

  1. How do I create an FTP user account?

To create an FTP user account, you can use the user management tools provided by your operating system or FTP server software. For example, on a Linux-based system, you can create a new user by running the following command:

sudo adduser ftpuser

Replace “ftpuser” with your desired username, and follow the prompts to set a password.

  1. How can I limit the bandwidth usage of my FTP server?

Many FTP server software options allow you to limit the bandwidth usage per user or per connection. For example, in vsftpd, you can add the following lines to your /etc/vsftpd.conf configuration file:


These settings limit anonymous users to 50 KB/s and local (authenticated) users to 100 KB/s. Adjust the values according to your desired bandwidth limitations.

  1. How do I set up FTP over TLS/SSL (FTPS)?

To set up FTPS, you’ll need to configure your FTP server software to use SSL/TLS encryption. This typically involves generating or obtaining an SSL certificate and private key, and updating your FTP server’s configuration file to enable SSL/TLS and specify the certificate and key files. Consult your FTP server software’s documentation for specific instructions on configuring FTPS.

  1. Can I automate file transfers with FTP?

Yes, you can automate FTP file transfers using scripts or built-in scheduling features in some FTP clients. For example, you can use the command-line ftp or sftp tools in Linux or Windows, along with a script or a batch file, to automate file transfers. Similarly, many graphical FTP clients, such as FileZilla, WinSCP, or Cyberduck, offer scheduling or scripting capabilities to automate transfers.

  1. How do I configure my FTP server to allow passive mode connections?

Passive mode is an FTP connection mode that allows the client to initiate both the control and data connections, making it more firewall-friendly. To enable passive mode in your FTP server, you’ll need to configure a range of passive ports and ensure that your firewall allows incoming connections on these ports. Consult your FTP server software’s documentation for specific instructions on enabling passive mode.


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