How to Configure and manage an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server on Windows 10

If you want to create your own private cloud and be able to share and transfer large files without restrictions, then build your own (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server on Windows 10.

Building your own FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server can be one of the easiest and most convenient solutions to transfer file through a private or public network without limitations and restrictions typically found with most cloud storage services.

There are also many benefits running your (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server. For example, it’s private, and you have absolute control. It’s fast (depending on your internet connection speeds), and there is virtually no limits on the amount and type of data you can store.

Also, you don’t have restrictions on file sizes either, which means that you can transfer something as small as a text file or a 1000GB PC backup, and you can even create multiple accounts to let friends and family access or store content remotely too.

You’ll find many third-party software on the internet to build a file transfer server, but Windows includes an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server feature that you can set up without the need to resource to other solutions. In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to successfully set up and manage an FTP server on your PC to transfer files from your home network or remotely over the internet.

How to install an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server on Windows 10

Very similar to previous versions, Windows 10 includes the necessary components to run an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server. Follow the steps below to install an FTP server on your PC:

  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Programs and Features.
  2. Click the Turn Windows features on or off link.
  1. Expand the “Internet Information Services” feature, and expand the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol option.
  2. Check the(FTP) File Transfer Protocol Extensibility and (FTP) File Transfer Protocol options.
  3. Check the Web Management Tools option with the default selections, but making sure that the IIS Management Console option is checked.
  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click the Close button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, the components to set up an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol will be installed on your device.

How to configure an FTP server site on Windows 10

After installing the required components, you can proceed to configure an FTP server on the computer, which involves creating a new FTP site, setting up firewall rules, and allowing external connections.

Setting up an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol site

To set up an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol site, do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on System and Security.
  3. Click on Administrative Tools.

Double-click the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager shortcut.

On the “Connections” pane, right-click Sites, and select the Add (FTP) File Transfer Protocol Site option.

  • In the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol site name, type a short descriptive name for the server.
  • In the “Content Directory” section, under “Physical path,” click the button on the right to locate the folder you want to use to store your (FTP) File Transfer Protocol files.Quick Tip: It’s recommended to create a folder in the root of the main system drive, or on an entirely different hard drive. Otherwise, if you set the home folder in one of your default folders when adding multiple accounts, users won’t have permission to access the folder. (You can adjust folder permissions, but it’s not recommended.)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Use the default Binding settings selections.
  3. Check the Start (FTP) File Transfer Protocol site automatically option.
  4. In the “SSL” section, check the No SSL option.
  • Important: In a business environment or on an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server that will host sensitive data, it’s best practice to configure the site to require SSL to prevent transmitting data in clear text.
  • Click the Next button.
  • In the “Authentication” section, check the Basic option.
  • In the “Authorization” section, use the drop-down menu, and select Specified users option.
  • Type the email address of your Windows 10 account or local account name to allow yourself access to the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server.
  • Check the Read and Write options.
  1. Click the Finish button.

After completing the steps, the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol site should now be operational on your computer.

Configuring firewall rules

If you’re running the built-in firewall on Windows 10, connections to the FTP server will be blocked by default until you manually allow the service through, using these steps:

  1. Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  2. Click on Firewall & network protection.
  3. Click the Allow an app through firewall option.
  • Make a note of the IPv4 DNS server address, which is the address of your router. Usually, it’s private address in the 192.168.x.x range. For instance, 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.2.1.
  • Open your default web browser.
  • On the address bar enter the router’s IP address (for example, 192.168.1.1) and press Enter.
  • Sign-in with your router credentials.
  • Open the Port Forwarding page. (Usually, these settings can be found under the WAN, NAT, or Advanced settings pages.)
  • Add a new rule to forward incoming connections to the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server from the internet by including this information:
    • Service name: Type a descriptive name for the port forwarding rule.
    • Port range: 21.
    • Local IP: This is the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server IP address that the router will forward incoming connections. (This is your IPv4 address. See step No. 5.)
    • Local port: 21.
    • Protocol: TCP.
  • Click the add button.
  • Click the Apply button to save the changes.

After completing the steps, any incoming connection on port 21 will be forwarded to the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server to establish a networking session.

Setting up a static IP address

If you’re planning to transfer files over the internet in the regular basis, then it’s recommended to configure a static IP address to prevent having to reconfigure your router in the future if your device’s IP changes.

  • Open Settings Control Panel.
  • Click on Network and Internet.
  • Click on Network and Sharing Center.
  • In the left pane, click the Change adapter settings option.
  • Right-click the network adapter, and select the Properties option.
  • Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.
  • Click the Properties button.
  • Select the Use the following IP address option.
  • Specify the IP settings:
    • IP address: Specify a static network address for the computer. You should use an address outside of the DHCP server scope configured in your router to prevent conflicts. For instance, 192.168.1.200.
    • Subnet mask: In a home network, the address usually is 255.255.255.0.
    • Default gateway: This is usually the IP address of the router. For example, 192.168.1.1.
    • Preferred DNS server: Typically, this is also the IP address of your router.
  • Click the OK button.
  • Click the Close button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, the IP configuration will no longer change, and it’ll prevent potential connection problems in the future.

How to set up multiple (FTP) File Transfer Protocol accounts on Windows 10

If you want to allow multiple people to download and upload files to the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server simultaneously, you need to set up multiple accounts with specific permissions.

This process is done by creating new standard Windows 10 accounts and configuring the correct settings.

Creating new user accounts

To add multiple accounts to an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server, do the following:

  • Open Windows Settings.
  • Click on User Accounts.
  • Click on Family & other people.
  • Click the Add someone else to this PC button.
  • Type the Microsoft account address for the user you want to allow access to the FTP server.Quick Tip: If you want users to access the server using local accounts, then click the I don’t have this person sign-in information option, click the Add a user without a Microsoft account option, and follow the on-screen direction to create the account.
  • Click the Next button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, you may need to repeat the steps to create additional accounts.

Configuring user accounts to FTP server

If you want multiple users to access the FTP server at the same time, you need to modify the server settings using these steps:

  • Open Settings Control Panel.
  • Click on System and Security.
  • Click on Administrative Tools.
  • Double-click the  (IIS)Internet Information Services Manager shortcut.
  • On the left pane, expand “Sites,” and select the site you created earlier.
  • Double-click the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol Authorization Rules option.
  • On the right pane, click the Add Allow Rule option.
  • Select one of these two options:
    • All Users: Allows every user configured on your Windows 10 device to access the FTP server.
    • Specified users: You can use this option to specify all the users you want to access the FTP server. (You must separate each user using a comma.)
  • Check the Read and Write options.
  • Click the OK button.

After completing the steps, all the users you specified should now be able to access the (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server to download and upload files remotely.

How to connect to an (FTP) File Transfer Protocol server remotely on Windows 10

Once you’ve created and configured your FTP server, there are many ways to view, download, and upload files.

Viewing and downloading files

If you want to browse and download files, you can do this using Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome:

  • Open a web browser.
  • In the address bar, type the server IP address using ftp://, and press Enter. For example, ftp://192.168.1.100:21
  • Type your account credentials.
  • Click the Log on button.

After completing the steps, you should be able to navigate and download files and folders from the server.

In the case that you’re trying to connect from the internet, you have to specify the public (internet) IP address of the network hosting the FTP server.

The easiest way to find out is to search for “What’s my IP” in Google or Bing within the network before trying to connect from a remote connection. Also, unless you have an static IP address from your internet provider, or you’re not using DDNS service, you may need to check your public IP regularly in order to connect, in case it changes.

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