How to run an FTP server on a Windows PC without much effort?

October 5, 2018 |

greater than 8 minutes

If you want to download and upload files to your computer from virtually anywhere without the complications or restrictions associated with cloud storage services, then you might want to set up a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server.

With an FTP server, you will get access to a private cloud, which you can control or manage as you like. For example, transfer caps are non-existent, and the speed of data transfer is dependent on your bandwidth speed or internet subscription package. In the same vein, there are no restrictions on the file types you can work with or their size.

Furthermore, you can create as many accounts as you deem necessary. If you want to share your stuff with family, friends or want both parties to transfer files between one another, then the ability to integrate multiple profiles will prove incredibly valuable.

In this guide, we will show you

how to set up an FTP server on Windows 10

. The operations involved are easy to execute, but you will have to carry out a good number of them. Here we go.

How to install the required FTP server components on Windows 10?

Microsoft has already embedded support for FTP in Windows 10 (likewise in older versions of Windows), but to set things rolling, you must add the required components manually. Follow these instructions:

  • Open the Control Panel app. You can do this right-clicking on the Windows Start icon that is always visible on your desktop screen, then choosing Control Panel from the list of programs and options that show up
  • From the menus you see on the Control Panel program window, click on Programs. Now, click on the Turn Windows features on or off link (under the Programs and Features menu)
  • The Windows features program window should come up now. Double-click on the Internet Information Services feature to expand it. Go a step further to expand the FTP Server option too
  • Tick the checkbox for FTP Extensibility and FTP Service to select them. Move to Web Management Tools and expand it. Go through the options under it and ensure that the IIS Management Console feature is selected
  • Finally, you must click on the OK button. You are free to close the windows you opened. If you did everything right, then Window will have installed the components required to set up an FTP server on your computer by now.

How to run FTP on a Windows PC?

Once you have got the needed components installed, you can move on to configure an FTP server site on your system. Here, you get to create a new FTP site, set up the firewall rules to suit your taste or needs and allow external connections (if need be).

Follow these instructions to set up an FTP site:

  • Open the Control Panel app once more. We showed you how to do this earlier (in the first step of the previous operation). Once the required program window is up, click on System and Security from the available menu
  • You will see a list of options from which you must click on Administrative Tools. Windows will now display numerous shortcuts for essential applications. You must double-click on the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager shortcut
  • On the Connections pane, you will see some items. Go through them and right-click on Sites, then select Add FTP site from the short menu list that pops up. In the text field for FTP site name, input a short descriptive name for the server you intend to add
  • Move to Content Directory. Click on the button under Physical path and navigate through the required directories to select the folder where you want Windows to store your FTP files.

TIP: We advise that you use or create a folder located in the root path of your primary system drive. This way, you get to ensure that other users have access to the chosen location. If you use the home folder located in one of your default folders, then other users will probably struggle to access the selected location because they lack the permissions to do so.

Is your computer running slow or suffering system glitches? If so, it may need maintenance. Try running a dedicated PC optimization tool to check the health of your PC and apply the necessary fixes.
  • Once you are done selecting your preferred folder, click on the Next button. At this point, we advise you go with the default Binding settings selection to avoid complications. Nevertheless, you must tick the checkbox for Start FTP site automatically
  • Under the SSL menu or option, click on the radio button for No SSL to choose it

TIP: If you are setting up an FTP server site to handle sensitive information (because you run a business), then it is imperative that you configure the site to require SSL. Of course, you must always avoid transmitting important data in clear text where possible.

  • Click on the Next button. Now, tick the checkbox for the Basic option under the Authentication section. Move to the Authorization menu, and there, you must view the available options by clicking on the drop-down menu. Select Specified users
  • Now, it is time you inputted the email address for your Windows 10 account. Your local account name will do fine too. This way, you gain access to the FTP server. Tick the checkboxes for Read and Write to select these options
  • Click on the Finish button to round up everything. If everything went well, then the FTP site should be active on your device already by now.

How to configure the required firewall rules for FTP servers?

If your system is using the built-in firewall setup available on Windows 10, then you will have to make some changes to allow connections to the FTP server to go through. Currently, Windows Firewall is probably blocking them.

If you use an antivirus that provides a firewall setup or a similar service for your computer, then you will have to navigate through its options and menus and stop it from blocking important connections.

Anyway, these steps will guide you to do the work on the Windows Firewall:

  • Launch the Windows Defender Security Center. After the needed program window shows up, click on Firewall and Network protection (one of the options visible on the left pane)
  • On the right pane, go through the options you see and click on the Allow an app through firewall link. Now, click on the Change settings button. From the list present, you must tick the checkbox for FTP Server. You must also select the options for Private and Public access
  • Click on the OK button. With these changes in place, the FTP server you set up earlier will now become accessible from the local network.

How to create and use multiple FTP accounts on Windows 10?

Surely, if you intend for multiple users to download and upload files to a specific FTP server, then you must set up different accounts with the required or varying permissions. The entire process is easier than you might have come to expect. All you have to do is create new standard Windows 10 accounts, then move on to configure the settings appropriate for them.

To create new accounts to add to the FTP server, do this:

  • Press the Windows button on your keyboard, and while holding it, tap the letter I key to launch the Settings app. From the menu or options you see, click on Accounts
  • Click on Family and other people (one of the items on the left pane). On the right pane, scroll down to the Other people menu and click on Add someone else to this PC
  • At this point, you can input the Microsoft address (for the person you intend to grant access to use the FTP server you created) or click on the I don’t have this person sign in information link (which is the right option if a local account is to be employed).

If you went with the latter option, then you must continue by clicking on the Add a user without a Microsoft account option. Windows will eventually prompt you to input the required details to create the profile

  • Click on the Next button, and you should be done. If you need additional accounts, then all you have to do is repeat the steps above to create them while using different details.

At this stage, we expect that you have the multiple accounts ready to gain access to the FTP server. Therefore, it is time we moved on to show you how to modify the server settings to make things work. Go through these steps:

  • Launch the Control Panel app. After its program window shows up, click on System and Security. From the options available, click on Administrative tools
  • The list of shortcuts should be visible now. Double-click on the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager shortcut to launch its program. After the window comes up, look to the left pane, then double-click on Sites to view the options under it
  • Click on the site you created earlier to highlight it. Now, on the right pane, you must double-click on the FTP Authorization Rules option. Move to the right pane (Actions) and click on the Add Allow rule link
  • You will be allowed to choose from one of the following options:

All users: If you go with this option, then every user profile on your computer will able to access the FTP server

Specified user: This option is what you must select if you intend to restrict access or use of the FTP server to select people. You will have to specify their accounts and use a comma to separate them from one another

  • Now, you have to tick the checkbox for the Read option. Do the same thing for the Write option. Click on the OK button. Thanks to the operations you just finished carrying out, the specified accounts or all users (depending on which option you went with) will now be able to download and upload files remotely through the FTP server.

How to connect to an FTP server on Windows?

Since you have finished setting up and configuring the FTP server, you will be glad to know that there are many ways of accessing it. For example, if you want to view and download files, then a standard web browser will do just fine as regards what you need. Follow these instructions:

  • Launch your preferred web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, for example). In the address bar, you must input the required address using ftp:// and hit the Enter key to run it

Here is an example of what we mean:

  • Input the credentials for the account you are trying to access. Click on the OK button. Go through the instructions on your screen to complete any other important step. Once you are done with everything, you will be able to navigate through folders or directories and download files from the server if need be.

One thing to note, though. If you are trying to access the FTP server through the internet connection available on your Windows 10 computer, then you must specify or indicate the IP address of the network hosting the FTP server in view.

There is an easy way of finding out the IP address. All you have to do is launch the web browser on your computer, then input What is my IP in the text field present to perform a search on Google. You will see what you are looking for on the Google Search results page, or otherwise, you might have to click on a link to view a page at most to find what you need.

If your IP address changes from time to time, then you might have to check what it is regularly to use the correct details. If you use a static IP address, then things are a lot easier.


We are rounding up things now. Considering the data transfer operations and other activities we expect you to engage in using the FTP server you set up, we believe you need a reliable protection setup more than ever. To be fair, you need all the help you can get here.

You will do well to download and run Auslogics Anti-Malware. The introduction of this superb program forces an improvement of your current security setup. With it, you get that additional line of defense that comes in handy at times against specific threats, and this way, your computer becomes safer than ever.

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