FTP Error “530 User cannot log in” – Troubleshooting Guide For Windows 2008


You have a VPS running on Windows 2008 server OS. You are using IIS 7.5 web server with Microsoft FTP Service 7.5. Your attempt to log in to FTP account results in an error. It says – “530 User cannot log in, home directory inaccessible. Error: Critical error.” Given below is the detailed error log as shown on your computer –

Status: Resolving address of ftp.example.com
 Status: Connecting to
 Status: Connection established, waiting for welcome message...
 220 Microsoft FTP Service
 USER Admin
 331 Password required for Admin.
 PASS ***************
 Error: 530 User cannot log in, home directory inaccessible.
 Error: Critical error.
 Error: Could not connect to server.

Root Cause:

“Error: 530 User cannot log in, home directory inaccessible – this error message is displayed when the user trying to establish the FTP session does not have valid FTP authorization to use the service. A user must be granted ‘read’ permission on ‘Default FTP Site’ to establish any FTP session.


The issue will get resolved once the server administrator allows ‘read’ access to the concerned user by creating a new FTP authorization rule in IIS -> Sites -> Default FTP Site.

Troubleshooting Guide:

Given below is the step by step guide for troubleshooting this error. You will need admin access and a remote desktop connection program to perform this activity. Although we are using Windows 2008 R2 in our example, you can follow the same guide for Windows 2003 as well.

STEP-1: Use any remote desktop connection program to log in to the Windows 2008 server from a remote computer. Ensure that the user has ‘admin’ access.

STEP-2: Navigate through the start menu (Start -> Administrative Tools -> Internet Information Service 7.5.) and open IIS console.

STEP-3: Use the navigation pane on the left side and click on the line item ‘Sites’ to expand (+) sub-items. It will open a list of all available ‘Sites’ on the right sided pane.

STEP-4: Click on ‘Default FTP Site’. It will take you to ‘Default FTP Site’ home interface.

STEP-5: Under the section titled ‘FTP’, you can see a number of icons for configuring FTP settings. Click on the ‘FTP Authorization Rules’ icon (2nd from left on the 1st row).

STEP-6: This is the interface where you set the rules for FTP access. If you had previously configured any other FTP rules, then you can see those listed here.

There are two types of rules that an administrator can set here – 1. “Allow” rule and 2. “Deny” rule. As evident from the naming convention, “allow” rule is used for granting a user FTP access, while to prevent a user from accessing FTP, you can use the “Deny” rule. In our case, we will be using the ‘Allow’ rule. Click on the link ‘Add Allow Rule’ on the right hand side pane.

STEP-7: It will open a new window where you can choose your preferred options. You can choose to give FTP access rights to all the users, or users belonging to a specific user group, or even to an individual user. Select the appropriate radio button and scroll down to the ‘Permissions’ section.

You can grant the user ‘read’ access or ‘write’ access or both types of access by marking the respective check boxes according to your exact requirement. In our case, the error message – “530 User cannot log in” can be resolved with ‘read’ access. Finally click on the ‘OK’ button located at the bottom right corner.

STEP-8: To make the changes take effect, you need to restart the FTP service. Go to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Services. It will open another window with a list of all available Windows services. Scroll down, right click on ‘Microsoft FTP Service’ and select the option ‘Restart’.

Now you are all set to log in to your FTP account. Log out of the server and try to log in to your FTP account. This time the server should let you to access FTP service without throwing any error message.

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