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How to Set up FTP Accounts in cPanel

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to set up FTP accounts in cPanel.

You can upload and edit your site files using the cPanel File Manager. But if you prefer using FTP—or just want to learn something new—you’ll need to know how to set up an FTP user account.

What Is an FTP Account?

FTP user accounts have direct access to your website’s files. They can upload, download, delete, and change permissions on most files in the directories they have access to.

Most FTP programs, such as FileZilla, WinSCP, Transmit, or Cyberduck (funny name, great tool), are desktop programs. You install them on your computer and connect directly to the website.

One of the benefits of using FTP is you can create FTP users that have restricted access. That allows you to give someone access to only directories that you specify. Perfect for granting access to one part of a site, but not others.

How Do I Set Up an FTP Account?

All you need is your cPanel login and a username and password for the FTP account.

Let’s go through the steps one by one.

1. Create a New FTP User Account in cPanel

Log in to cPanel, and in the “FILES” section, click the “FTP Accounts” link or icon.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 1

Enter the FTP username for the account in the “Log In” field.

Enter the FTP password in both the “Password” and “Password (again)” fields.

Note that the system will analyze your password or passphrase and reject it with a password strength error if it is too short or not sufficiently complex.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 2

2. Specify Which Directories the FTP User Can Access

The “Directory” field is automatically populated with public_html/domain.tld/ftpuser (ftpuser is the username that you entered in the “Log in” field and domain.tld is the cPanel account domain).

The user you are creating will not have access to any directories above what you set in the “Directory” field. So we have to change the default entry here if we want the new user to have access to the ggexample.com (root) directory.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 3

If, on the other hand, you intend to create a user that has restricted access to only a specific directory, replace /ftpuser in the “Directory” path with the name of the directory you wish to allow the user to access.

The subdirectory does not have to exist. cPanel will create it for you when the FTP user is created.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 4

3. Set a Quota for the FTP User and Create the Account

Setting a quota for the user will prevent them from uploading files once the quota is reached. To avoid that problem, leave the “Quota” set to “Unlimited.”

Click the “Create FTP Account” button.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 5

When the user is created, you will see an “Account Created” success notice.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 5a

4. How to Log In to an FTP Account

Once the FTP account is set up, scroll down to the “FTP Accounts” section of the page and click the “Configure FTP Client” link.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 6

The manual FTP settings and downloadable configuration files for popular FTP programs will be shown.

how to set up ftp accounts in cPanel step 7

Click the “FTP Configuration” button to download a configuration file. Then you can import the configuration into your FTP program.

If your preferred FTP program is shown in the list, click the “Instructions (new window)” link. That will open a step by step guide for importing the configuration file.

If your preferred FTP program is not shown in the list, check the program documentation for configuration file import details.

To manually set up your FTP program, use the “Manual Settings” located above the configuration file download section.

What to Do if You Forget Your FTP User Account Password

There’s no way to view the password for an FTP account. But if you forget the password, you can reset it in cPanel.

Log in to cPanel, and in the “FILES” section, click the “FTP Accounts” link or icon.

Scroll down to the “FTP Accounts” section.

Click the “Change Password” link or icon to the right of the account you want to remove.

click the "Change Password" link or icon

Enter the new password and click the “Change Password” button.

click the "Change Password" link or icon

How to Delete an FTP Account in cPanel

Log in to cPanel, and in the “FILES” section, click the “FTP Accounts” link or icon.

Scroll down to the “FTP Accounts” section.

Click the “Delete” link or icon to the right of the account you want to remove.

click the "Delete" link or icon

You’ll have the option to “Delete the User’s Home Directory.” In most cases, you do not want to check that box.

Click the “Delete” button to delete the FTP user account.

don't check the box, click the "Delete" button

Why Use FTP Rather Than a Web-Based File Manager?

In addition to the ability to set up user restrictions, and adapt to the flow, FTP is often faster.

With web-based file transfer, you have to log in, click around, then select files to upload from another window. It’s a lot of clicking to move a file.

With FTP, you just pop open a desktop program, upload your files, and you’re done. And your entire website directory structure is easy to navigate, both locally and on the server.

If you’ve never tried using FTP to manage your website, there’s no time like the present!

Do you have use for multiple FTP users to manage your website? Have you ever set up restricted FTP users to provide access to only specific parts of your site?

Author: Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is a web hosting industry veteran, helping people make the most of their web presence since 1995.

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