How to Set File Permissions on a Remote FTP Site - dummies

How to Set File Permissions on a Remote FTP Site

By Dan Gookin

When uploading to the Internet, you might consider setting attributes for files stored on an FTP server. They include Read, Write, and Execute permissions for your own account as well as others who may visit the FTP site. By not setting the proper permissions, you may prevent access to the files by other users or inadvertently allow unknown users access to your stuff.

To set permissions for a file, follow these steps:

  1. Open the FTP server and browse to the folder containing the file you want to modify.

    You can also modify a folder itself.

  2. Right-click the file icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

    You see the FTP Properties dialog box.


    The dialog box shows you details about the file and gives you the ability to change the file’s permissions. There are three permission settings:

    • Read: Files can be opened or copied from the server.

    • Write: Files can be changed. For a folder, Write access means that files can be added to the folder.

    • Execute: Files can run, like programs. Folders can be opened.

    These permissions are set for three different types of users:

    • Owner: The person who created the file or folder — you or whoever created the folder on a public server.

    • Group: Used to apply permissions to a whole mess of people, such as a guest or public group.

    • All Users: Everyone.

  3. Set the permissions as necessary.

    For example, to allow only your own account to access the file, set the Read and Write permissions for only the Owner. To let others access the file but not change it, set their Read permission, but don’t set the Write permission.

  4. Click OK.

The file or folder’s attributes are now changed.

You can repeat these steps for other files in your FTP folder that require special permissions.

  • Generally speaking, the attributes are properly set for you. Normally, a file is set with Read and Write permissions for the Owner and then Read permissions for the Group and All Users.

  • It’s silly to not give a file any access. At minimum, your own files should have both Read and Write access for the Owner.

  • All folders require Execute access if you’re to open them. Normally, the Execute attribute is set for all users automatically.

  • Beyond folders, don’t set the Execute attribute unless you know that it needs to be done; having executable files on an FTP server can be a security risk.