What is an FTP account?

Transfer data to a server or hosting service.Data transfer concept. FTP(File Transfer Protocol).
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Miha Creative)

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers are often used to host websites. You'll likely need to transfer files from your computer to the server when you create a website. This is where FTP comes in handy.

Web developers often use FTP accounts to upload and download files from their web hosting accounts. 

This can be helpful if you need to transfer large files or if you want to edit website files directly on the server. You can also use an FTP account to share files with others.

What is an FTP account? 

An FTP account is a user account on a remote server that allows you to access files on that server. When creating an FTP account, you will be given a username and password

You can use these credentials to log in to the FTP server and transfer files between your computer and the server.

How does an FTP account work? 

An FTP account allows you to access your web server from a remote location, which enables you to upload and download files, as well as manage your website.

Your web hosting provider usually sets up FTP accounts, but you can also set one up yourself. You need to have a domain name and web host to do this. Once you have these two things, the next step would be to create your FTP account.

How to create an FTP account 

Most hosting providers will allow you to create an FTP account when you set up your hosting account. If not, you can usually create one from your control panel. 

The process is generally similar across different providers, but we'll go through the steps for creating an FTP account on cPanel:

1. Log into your cPanel account and scroll down to the "Files" section.

2. Click on the "FTP Accounts" icon.

3. Enter your FTP account's desired username and password in the appropriate fields.

4. Select the directory you want to give the user access to in the "Directory" field. By default, this will be your public html folder, where your website's files are stored.

5. Click on the "Create Account" button to finish creating your FTP account.

Now that you have an FTP account, you can use a program like Filezilla to connect to your web server and upload or download files. To connect, you will need to enter your domain name, username, and password into Filezilla.

The best FTP hosting services 

Many FTP hosting providers are available, but not all are created equal. To help you choose the best FTP hosting provider for your needs, here are six of the best:

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is a popular web hosting company that offers FTP hosting as an add-on to its regular web hosting plans. All A2 Hosting's FTP hosting plans come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, making it an excellent option for businesses or individuals who need a lot of space for their files.


GreenGeeks is one of the best web hosting companies offering FTP accounts as an add-on to its web hosting plans. GreenGeeks gives you unlimited bandwidth and storage space. It allows you to create as many FTP accounts as you need.


GoDaddy is a well-known name in the world of web hosting, and its FTP hosting services are no exception. With GoDaddy, you can get an FTP account with your GoDaddy web hosting account for free. You also get 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting is a leading FTP hosting provider with many plans to suit any budget. All of their plans come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, as well as a free domain name and SSL certificate. They also offer a free website builder and 24/7 customer support.


SiteGround is a popular web hosting provider that offers FTP hosting as part of its web hosting plans. All of SiteGround's plans come with unlimited FTP accounts, making it an excellent option for those who need multiple FTP accounts.


Bluehost is a leading web hosting company that offers FTP and other web hosting services. They offer various plans to suit different budgets and needs, and their customer support is excellent.


DreamHost is a popular web hosting and domain name registrar provider that offers FTP hosting plans. Their FTP hosting plans start at $4.95 per month and come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts. They also provide a free domain name for the first year of service.

Why do you need an FTP server? 

An FTP server is essential for any business that needs to share large files internally or with clients. Here are the reasons why you need an FTP server.

Easily transfer large files

FTP servers make it easy to transfer large files within your organization and external clients. With an FTP server, there is no need to worry about email attachments bouncing back because they are too large. You can also password-protect folders on your FTP server to share sensitive information securely.

Save time and money

FTP servers can save your organization time and money by eliminating the need for physical media such as CDs or DVDs. You can also save money on shipping costs by sending files electronically.

Enhance collaboration

FTP servers can enhance collaboration by allowing multiple users to access and edit files simultaneously. This can be a valuable tool for teams working on joint projects.

Improve customer service

FTP servers can improve customer service by allowing customers to download files quickly and easily. This can be particularly useful for businesses that offer software downloads or other digital products.

What are the disadvantages of FTP? 

There are a few disadvantages of using FTP which include the following:

Security Issues: FTP is an insecure protocol that transfers data in plain text. This leaves the door open for hackers to intercept and use the data for malicious purposes.

Requires Additional Software: To use FTP, you need to have additional software installed on your computer. This can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you're not particularly tech-savvy.

Slow Speeds: Compared to other methods of transferring data, FTP can be pretty slow. This is because it relies on TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), which has a lot of overhead.

Limited Functionality: FTP is a very basic protocol; as such, it doesn't offer much features and functionality. If you need something more robust, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Alternatives to FTP 

There are many alternatives to FTP that provide different features and security. Some of the most popular alternatives to FTP are:

SCP: Secure Copy is an alternative to FTP using a command-line tool for securely copying files between servers. It uses the SSH protocol to provide secure file transfer and can be used with public-key authentication for increased security.

SFTP: Secure File Transfer Protocol is another alternative to FTP using SSH for security. Like SSH, SFTP uses encryption to protect data from being intercepted during transmission.

HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a protocol that allows for secure communication over the Internet. HTTPS uses SSL/TLS to encrypt data and ensure that it is not intercepted during transmission.

WebDAV: Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning is a protocol that allows for collaborative editing and file sharing over the Internet.

Each of these alternatives has advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the one that best suits your needs is essential.

FTP account for transfer

An FTP account is a user account on a server that allows you to access files on that server. You can use an FTP account to transfer files between your computer and the server or to access files on the server. 

Web developers and designers typically use FTP accounts to transfer files to and from their web servers. However, anyone can use an FTP account to transfer files if they have the correct login information.

Ruby has been a freelance technology writer for over four years and has a passion for information technology and the Internet in its entirety. She has a wide range of specialities including web hosting, streaming (Firestick, Kodi, and APKs), VPN, information technology, and affiliate marketing. Ruby is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of the Philippines, and regularly codes in her free time.