Installing Serv-U on a Dedicated or Virtual Private Server

The following is an edited version (superfluous information was removed) of the ‘Getting Started’ page of the Serv-U Help file. For an online version of this help documentation, please go to

You want to put your shiny new FTP server to work fast! Not a problem. First note that Serv-U is designed not to allow access to anything or anybody out-of-the-box. Unless you specify otherwise your PC is well protected by the default settings and nobody has access to it.

To make the server do useful work it needs at least one domain and at least one user account in that domain. For more about this please take a look at the Administrator Overview section.

Setup Wizard
The quickest way by far to set up the initial domain and user account is by using the Setup Wizard. The Wizard will automatically kick in the first time the Administrator program is started. While use of the Setup Wizard is not a requirement (you can cancel out of it), there is little reason not to use it. Anything set up by the Wizard can be changed later. The Setup Wizard will ask a series of questions:

Enable small images with menu items
Unless you are visually impaired and using a screen reader there is nothing to loose by choosing ‘Yes’. This will make the Administrator program show small images with most of the menu items, which makes navigating through the menus easier.

IP Address
The IP address is a set of 4 small numbers separated by dots that uniquely identify your computer on the network. Serv-U can merely use the IP address(es) assigned to your PC, it cannot change them. Your web host is usually the person that assigns an IP address to your computer. The best answer here is to use either your machine or site IP.

Domain name
Enter any descriptive name of your choice to identify your FTP server/domain by. If you have an IP name assigned to your PC like ‘’ that would be a good choice.

Allow anonymous access
Anonymous FTP should not be activated if at all possible. Allowing anonymous FTP opens your server up to anyone who wants to gain access to it, and is the number 1 way a server is either hacked or used as a repository for file-swapping. The use of your server as a repository for files can abuse and increase your bandwidth usage, and generally leads to a huge expense on your part. Therefore, DO NOT allow anonymous FTP.

Create named account
This question lets you create a non-anonymous user account, i.e. an account where the FTP user has to type a name and password to log in. Answer ‘Yes’ if you want a named account.

Account login name
This is the user name the FTP user should enter to log in to the account.

The password the FTP user should enter to log in to the account

Home directory
Enter a full path name including drive (or a UNC path) where the user should be placed immediately after logging in. This should be an existing directory on your PC.

Lock the user in the home directory
If you are setting up a named account for yourself you will want to answer ‘No’ to this question. If the account is for others then ‘Yes’ may be more appropriate.

Account admin privilege
This determines how this account can be used to do remote administration through the Serv-U Administrator program. If you are setting up this account for yourself, by all means, make it ‘System Administrator’, the highest level of administrative privilege. Otherwise it is probably a good idea to leave it at ‘No Privilege’.

After all this, let the Wizard do its magic and you should be looking at domain with one or two new user accounts. Simply click on the account names in the left panel to make changes. Especially important is to take a look at the Dir Access tab in the right panel for the user account. The Wizard has set up default access rules for the account: For the Anonymous account this specifies read-only access of the home directory and the directories below it, for the named account it specifies full access. This is all, you are done! Now try using your freshly created accounts on your server with your favorite FTP client program!

Manual Setup
You did not listen, thought you can do better than the Setup Wizard, and canceled out of it, and are now looking at an almost empty left panel of the Administrator program with only ‘<< Local Server >>‘ showing. How to proceed? Here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial to create an anonymous account:

• Double-click on ‘<< Local Server >>‘ in the tree on the left side. This should start the FTP server Engine and expand the tree.
• Click on ‘Domains’ in the tree on the left side.
• From the menu select ‘Domains | New Domain’.
• Do not enter anything for the IP address, unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing, just click ‘Next’.
• Enter a descriptive name for ‘Domain name’, anything will do. Then ‘Next’.
• Unless you are sure, do not change the port number, leave it at 21, click ‘Next’.
• No changes for the ‘Domain type’ either, click ‘Next’.
• You now have a brand-new domain. Double-click on it to expand the tree.
• Click on ‘Users’ in the tree on the left side.
• From the menu select ‘Users | New User’.
• Type ‘Anonymous’ for the ‘User name’. Click ‘Next’.
• Enter the full directory including drive letter where you want anonymous users to be placed immediately after logging in. Say it is ‘c:\ftp\anonymous’, enter this and hit ‘Next’.
• Stay with ‘Yes’ for ‘Lock user in home directory’, hit ‘Next’.
• You now have a user account named ‘Anonymous’. Start using it!

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