FTP users

It is possible to give ftp access to only 1 folder in your account?

I want to give ftp access to a web developer and dont want to give them access to every domain in my account.




This question has been asked, and answered, in virtually every way, shape, and form possible on this forum - please use the search tools in the forum and on wiki.dreamhost.com.


Okay. You might want to aprise yourself, however, of the ramifications of doing this as it relates to file ownership and permissions, as well as practical access of those files by you. There are lot’s of threads about this, as well as numerous wiki resources. If after you have reviewed those resources, should you have a specific question or problem, I’m sure that I, and other users on this forum, will be glad to help :wink:


Quite recently too, if I recall correctly. In fact, this question (and a few others) seem to be asked repeatedly, at least a few times per week.

Perhaps it’s time the forum had a FAQ section for such queries. Yes, I know there is already a FAQ link at the top of every page, but this is related to forum usage, not hosting related questions.

Some would say that the Wiki negates the need for a FAQ, but many new users are unaware of the existence of the Wiki, so perhaps all that is needed is a prominent link to the Wiki at the top of the forum.

For the original poster, the following wiki articles might help on your quest for a solution.




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Maybe the FAQ could go on the ‘Welcome’ page that you see when you enter http://discussion.dreamhost.com for the first time. Perhaps just about 10 lines as links to the wiki of the ‘Top Ten most asked questions’.

It would probably be easier to add-in as well.


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!

That’s not a bad idea Norm and I think 10 links would just about suffice for the common questions that seem to pop up the most.


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Norm and Mike,

All good ideas, though this particular subject still seems to be unclear to many users even after they have read the wiki stuff. I think this is primarily because new users often do not really understand the terms used, and have little or no understanding of *nix permission controls.

Do you think maybe it is time to build a more thorough wiki article about “sharing access”? I have seen many users following the wiki, but then being even more confused when “they” can’t access the files in their “sub users’” accounts.

I have also seen many who think this approach of multiple ftp users is a good way to have “contributors” help with adding site content to be served from their domain(s). Given the potential permissions/re-direct/re-write complications involved, for most of these “new” users, this is probably not the way to accomplish that (particularly in light of the large collection of content management tools available as opensource and easily implemented on Dreamhost).

A complete review of some of the recent threads, tends to indicate that telling them how to set up an additional ftp user only leads to many other questions about why they can’t “use” those files the way they envisioned (as they didn’t understand the permission/ownership implications).

Maybe what is needed is a whole different discussion about methodologies for collaborative authoring?


If any one does update the wiki, perhaps a warning should also be included to explain what happens when giving someone you hardly know shell access in how that not only effects, their site, but anybody else on the same server, who has not set the proper permission for files and folders.
I hope I explained that well enough.

My website

I understand what you are saying. In fact, the whole concept of “enabling” those without the basic understanding of *nix operation and/or web serving to “invite” other users aboard the shared server might need to be re-thought.

Maybe it ought to be one of those things where, “If you know enough to implement it, you might know enough to manage it well. If you don’t know enough to implement it, go study till you do before allowing others to place files on the server”.

I was just thinking out loud there, and that probably is not a very “friendly” approach to take (and maybe a lot harsher than is justified). I don’t know. In a related thought, I’m not real comfortable with showing true “newbs” how to modify some of the DH default PHP settings, as I don’t know how the multiplied effects of their operations, and the settings they have implemented, could impact other users on the server (thinking of a recent #dreamhost IRC discussion where a user wanted to set php’s max_execution time to 30 minutes.)

I suspect Dreamhost allowing the installation of your own custom PHP is kinda their way of saying, “If you know enough to accomplish that, than go ahead; We will hold you accountable for what you do.”

Are we short-circuting the self-limiting nature of these kinds of more advanced manipulations, to some degree, by talking users who clearly don’t understand this stuff through these kinds of changes?

I want to believe that more knowlege is always better, but I wonder if we are really increasing knowlege if we make it too easy. What do you think?


My name is Mark, but you are close enough :slight_smile:

You are right of-course, which is why we invariably see follow up posts from such users complaining that they have implemented multiple FTP users, but things still aren’t working as they expect.

I think your ideas for the ‘collaborative’ wiki article are spot-on. As you suggest, such an article could start with a description of the current CMS systems and the collaborative features that they offer. At a guess, a large proportion of those having problems with multiple FTP users, and the permission issues related to this, would be much better served by one of these CMS packages.

The article could go on to explain how to implement multiple FTP users and the relevant directory structure, together with the permissions issues that are likely to be encountered. This would aid those that, for whatever reason, find the CMS route to be too restrictive for their purposes.


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That is a very interesting point and one that I hadn’t given much thought to previously.

Usually the questions here are very specific, along the lines of ‘How do I enable/change this setting?’, and we rarely dig deeper to discover exactly what the original poster is trying to achieve. In many cases, it is quite possible that we helping them to do something they really don’t need to be doing, or something that could possibly result in frustration for others on their server and eventually result in DreamHost taking steps to correct the situation.

It definitely is a bit of a balancing act, while we do want to help people solve problems, we don’t necessarily want to help them get in over their heads in the process.


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I’m sorry about “borking” your name! Probably another instance of my typing outpacing my thinking :wink: ; please forgive me.

I really appreciated your thoughts on the collaborative authoring thing. You have developed the idea far more than I had, even proposing a structure for the article.

What do you think about a third part, which could address the “middle” ground, where “filemanager” cgis, “document manager” scripts with upload capabilities, and/or “Virtual Community” type scripts (such as easyhost, from cyberscript.net) are used in situations where more flexibility/less structure than a full CMS is desired without the added complexity of mutiple ftp users.

You may have seen that I’ve suggested such use in a few previous threads; this approach has worked well for my clients who don’t want/need a full CMS, but want to easily allow others to contribute media/content.

Is this something that should be part of such an article, or is it insufficiently similar in usability and/or purpose?


Which results, as I think we have both seen, in a protracted exchange where we ultimately find that they asked the “wrong question”. The end result, sometimes, is that we give them a “correct” answer that does not solve their problem! :slight_smile:


No need for an apology, I have been called worse names (normally by my wife :slight_smile:

Not really. Life yourself a few posts above, I was doing a bit of ‘thinking aloud’, just trying to visualise the form such a page might take and how best to present the relevant information.

To be honest, I have never really had a personal need for collaboration on a website, my sites tend to be ‘one man shows’ with myself carrying the workload, so I have not really investigated the scripts/applications available for such things. Although, I have looked into a few CMS packages, but not specifically from the collaboration perspective.

The ‘middle ground’ scripts that you mention sound like they would be extremely useful for those that only require the multi-user upload capability, without the full blown functionality of something like WordPress etc.

Perhaps they already have their website up and running and primarily need a central repository, where others can upload content that the webmaster can put together for later publishing.

In fact, I think the bulk of forum queries on this subject are along these lines, so it would definitely be a good idea to have a discussion of such scripts in the wiki article.


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