FTP Access in Plesk

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a very old, relatively insecure, but very stable method for transferring files to and from a server. It works by opening a control connection to the server on one port, where your FTP client sends commands to the server and receives responses to them, and a second port so the client can send to and receive data from the server. FTP was created before many of the modern security concerns on the Internet ever existed; for instance, passwords are transmitted in cleartext and special Passive FTP extension (PASV) had to be added to the protocol to allow it to work with most firewalls.

However, most older and established web publishing platforms require FTP access to your server. The subscription user account you created already has permission to connect to the server via FTP, and all you need to do is fill in the appropriate details. You will need to consult your FTP client's documentation for the details, but the only setup you should normally need is your server's hostname or IP address, your subscription username and password, and to set the connection type as Passive (or PASV).

Because of the security concerns, it is recommended that you find a different method for publishing your site content if at all possible. If there is no other way, you should create a new FTP account that only has access to the web content itself to limit the amount of damage that can be done to your server. To view FTP accounts in Plesk...

  1. Click on the Websites & Domains tab in the Control Panel.
  2. Once there, click on the FTP Access button, and you should then see a page that has your subscription account listed as a user.
  3. Creating a new FTP account starts with clicking on the Create an Additional FTP Account button at the top of the FTP Access page.
  4. When you do, you will be presented with a form where you can configure the new account. Give the account a name unique on the server and set the home directory - which must be somewhere below your subscription's root directory. If you prefer a graphical method for selecting the directory, you can click on the folder icon to the right of the Home directory text box; however, in most situations you will only need to type /httpdocs here. Once you set the password in the next two boxes and click OK the new account will be created, and you can replace your subscription credentials in your FTP client with the username and password you just configured.

Using SFTP

SFTP works similarly in practice to FTP, but is based on encrypted connections via SSH. To connect via SFTP, use the credentials you set up for the system user when first setting up this account, rather than the ones for any FTP account.

More information about SSH and its uses will be provided later in this guide.