SFTP server on Windows: a step-by-step setup guide

Note: this article refers to an old version of the software, please consult this newer and updated article, which also features a video walk-through.

This step-by-step introductory guide is meant to help our users deploy and configure their SFTP server on Windows for the first time, and make sure that everything works well.

First of all, make sure that no other SFTP server is already running; and since Syncplify.me Server! also provides support for the FTP(S) protocol, please, also make sure no other FTP server is running on the same computer or virtual machine (this is particularly important if you’re installing Syncplify.me Server! onto a Windows Server operating system). A more comprehensive pre-flight check list is available here.

The following portion of this article has been updated to reflect the improvements made available with the release of Syncplify.me Server! v3.0.

Once we’re sure nothing is going to affect our installation, let’s download the Syncplify.me Server! installer. Once downloaded, we can run the automatic setup, that will look like this:

setup

The whole setup process is automatic and managed by MSI (aka Windows Installer). This procedure might take just a couple minutes or considerably longer, depending on the specific configuration of the underlying operating system, as the creation of a restore point (for safety reasons) might take quite some time in certain cases. Don’t worry, it’s normal.

When the installation is complete, simply click on the “Run Syncplify.me Server!” button in the bottom right corner of the installer to run the Instance Controller.

instctl1ststart

The instance controller will detect that this is a new installation, and guide you through a very easy and wizard-driven process to create your first server instance with a basic initial configuration. On the first step of the wizard you simply have to pick a strong password for your “admin” user. The “admin” user is the user profile you will use later on to manage your instance of Syncplify.me Server!

icstep1

The second step allows you to create or configure the database where all settings and user profiles will be stored. The easiest way (unless you are configuring an HA instance) is to simply use the default value and change nothing.

icstep2

The last step allows you to configure the network parameters. Basically this is where you tell your Syncplify.me Server! instance which IP addresses to bind to, and which ports to listen on. If there is no other FTP/SFTP server running on the same computer/VM you may safely leave all defaults values and change nothing.

icstep3

Once your first Syncplify.me Server! instance is created, the Instance Controller will ask you if you want to start it. Please, answer YES.

We’re now ready to configure the newly created instance. Let’s run the Configuration Manager and log in for the first time:

At your first login, pick the instance name you just created (if you have changed nothing the instance name will be “Default”): the username is admin and the password is the one you just chose a minute ago through the Instance Contoller (you should remember it)

loginconsole

Once logged in, there are very few things we need to do in order to have our Syncplify.me Server! up and running, and ready to accept incoming SFTP connections from clients. In fact, right “out of the box” Syncplify.me Server! provides a pre-set configuration that is already strong enough to pass all PCI-DSS compliance tests. Therefore we only need to configure our first user profile. We can leave everything else as-is for now.

In the image here below, the red arrows show the minimal set of fields that need to be filled in to create your first user profile:

userconf

Basically, it is only strictly necessary to:

  1. Enter a unique username
  2. Select  the “root folder” for this particular user profile
  3. Toggle file and directory permissions to enable them (or set them according to our needs)
  4. Enter a strong password for this user account (twice for confirmation)
  5. Enable password authentication
  6. Enable SFTP access for this particular user account

That’s it.

Now you can run your FileZilla, or WinSCP, or any other SFTP client (including our Syncplify.me FTP!, why not?) and test it. Your SFTP server is ready to accept the incoming connection and serve it.

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