I need to install an FTP server for the following purpose and requirements:

Purpose: Distribute site specific files to about 200 different sites around the world once a week.


It needs to be EASY for the users to download the file each week. I.e. open up the FTP client, connect, double click to download, done.

The person that will be managing the FTP (create users, folders, change passwords etc.) will not have admin access to the server OS. RDP is fine but ideally everything can be handled via a remote FTP config counsel (if something like this exists). It does not have to be super simple.

Should be Windows based (but Linux is fine if needed).

We are a non-profit organization so it cannot cost an arm and a leg. Free/open-source would be great.

What FTP program would you suggest that would fit those requirements?

  • I'm already familiar with FileZilla, but I am not sure if it will fit the above requirements.

  • Somebody in the IT Department recommended CrushFTP, but I am also not sure if this fits the second requirement.

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, FTP runs on a port that requires admin rights, so achieving your no-admin-access goal with FTP won't be easy. How about using another protocol, like CMIS? It is also more secure than FTP.

My suggestion is to install Alfresco on the server, and CmisSync on the clients.


Alfresco is a document management server. First install it, then run it, and access it via the web interface. Create a new "Alfresco Site" and put your files in this Alfresco Site.

Still via the web interface, create all users, and give them read-only right to the Alfresco Site.


Tell the 200 users to install CmisSync and connect it to your server's IP address. They will only need to enter their login/password the first time.

CmisSync create a local copy of the Alfresco Site, and keep it synchronized.

Compared to downloading the file every time:

  • Easier
  • Less time wasted
  • No risk to forget to download the new file
  • No risk to mix up between different downloaded versions

Alfresco Sync


Both Alfresco and CmisSync are free, open source, and run on Windows/Mac/Linux.
Disclaimer: I am the maintainer of CmisSync.

  • Thank you for your suggestion! But it should be FTP as the users are already used to FTP.
    – philips
    Aug 26, 2014 at 16:42

Ok, I have tested around a bit and this works for me:

I installed FileZilla Server on the server machine. Then I took the "FileZilla Server Interface.exe" file and copied it onto my local computer. It ran straight and no installation was necessary.

It prompted me for the FileZilla Server Admin password - which I set earlier directly on the server. Once I was connected I was able to create users, passwords etc. I had to manually type in the correct path of the home directory on the server. The path had to be as if I was local on the server: C:\FTP\UserFolder. I had to make sure to type the exact path.

To create the directories I had to install FileZilla client on my local computer. I then logged on to the FTP server (with a user that can create directories) and created the ones I need by right clicking into the root folder and select "Create New Directory".

This fits all my requirements and works well.

  • Isn't it in contradiction with your no admin access to the server requirement?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Aug 27, 2014 at 3:24
  • @NicolasRaoul I guess it refers to the Filezilla Server's own "administration" password, not the server OS administrator password.
    – Alejandro
    Aug 27, 2014 at 10:30
  • @Alejandro: Quoting from the question: "The person that will be managing the FTP (create users, folders, change passwords etc.) will not have admin access to the server OS."
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Aug 27, 2014 at 12:40
  • @NicolasRaoul & Alejandro: Yes, I was referring to the FileZilla Server Admin password. I fixed that now.
    – philips
    Aug 27, 2014 at 19:12

You may also want to try Syncplify.me Server, it has the features you have listed above, and its Configuration Manager runs without administrative privileges.

You only need admin rights to run the Instance Controller (to configure network bindings) but all the configuration for users, folders, permissions, keys (and so on) is done through the Configuration manager and does not require elevation.

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