Adding Custom FTP Providers with the IIS Configuration Editor - Part 1

I've written a lot of walkthroughs and blog posts about creating custom FTP providers over the past several years, and I usually include instructions for adding these custom providers to IIS. When you create a custom FTP authentication provider, IIS has a user interface for adding that provider to FTP. But if you are adding a custom home directory or logging provider, there is no dedicated user interface for adding those types of FTP providers. In addition, if you create a custom FTP provider that requires settings that are stored in your IIS configuration, there is no user interface to add or manage those settings.

With this in mind, I include instructions in my blogs and walkthroughs that describe how to add those type of providers by using AppCmd.exe from a command line. For example, if you take a look at my How to Use Managed Code (C#) to Create an FTP Authentication and Authorization Provider using an XML Database walkthrough, I include the following instructions:

Adding the Provider

  1. Determine the assembly information for the extensibility provider:
    • In Windows Explorer, open your "C:\Windows\assembly" path, where C: is your operating system drive.
    • Locate the FtpXmlAuthorization assembly.
    • Right-click the assembly, and then click Properties.
    • Copy the Culture value; for example: Neutral.
    • Copy the Version number; for example:
    • Copy the Public Key Token value; for example: 426f62526f636b73.
    • Click Cancel.
  2. Using the information from the previous steps, add the extensibility provider to the global list of FTP providers and configure the options for the provider:
    • At the moment there is no user interface that enables you to add properties for custom authentication or authorization modules, so you will have to use the following command line:

      cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

      appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"[name='FtpXmlAuthorization',type='FtpXmlAuthorization,FtpXmlAuthorization,version=,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73']" /commit:apphost

      appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpXmlAuthorization']" /commit:apphost

      appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpXmlAuthorization'].[key='xmlFileName',value='C:\Inetpub\XmlSample\Users.xml']" /commit:apphost
    • Note: The file path that you specify in the xmlFileName attribute must match the path where you saved the "Users.xml" file on your computer in the earlier in this walkthrough.

This example adds a custom FTP provider, and then it adds a custom setting for that provider that is stored in your IIS configuration settings.

That being said, there is actually a way to add custom FTP providers with settings like the ones that I have just described through the IIS interface by using the IIS Configuration Editor. This feature was first available through the IIS Administration Pack for IIS 7.0, and is built-in for IIS 7.5 and IIS 8.0.

Before I continue, if would probably be prudent to take a look at the settings that we are trying to add, because these settings might help you to understand the rest of steps in this blog. Here is an example from my applicationhost.config file for three custom FTP authentication providers; the first two providers are installed with the FTP service, and the third provider is a custom provider that I created with a single provider-specific configuration setting:

    <add name="IisManagerAuth" type="Microsoft.Web.FtpServer.Security.IisManagerAuthenticationProvider, Microsoft.Web.FtpServer, version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" />
    <add name="AspNetAuth" type="Microsoft.Web.FtpServer.Security.AspNetFtpMembershipProvider, Microsoft.Web.FtpServer, version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" />
    <add name="FtpXmlAuthorization" type="FtpXmlAuthorization, FtpXmlAuthorization, version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73" />
      <providerData name="FtpXmlAuthorization">
        <add key="xmlFileName" value="C:\inetpub\FtpUsers\Users.xml" />

With that in mind, in part 1 of this blog series, I will show you how to use the IIS Configuration Editor to add a custom FTP provider with provider-specific configuration settings.

Step 1 - Open the IIS Manager and click on the Configuration Editor at feature the server level:

Step 2 - Click the Section drop-down menu, expand the the system.ftpServer collection, and then highlight the providerDefinitions node:

Step 3 - A default installation IIS with the FTP service should show a Count of 2 providers in the Collection row, and no settings in the activation row:

Step 4 - If you click on the Collection row, an ellipsis [...] will appear, and when you click that, IIS will display the Collection Editor dialog for FTP providers. By default you should see just the two built-in providers for the IisManagerAuth and AspNetAuth providers:

Step 5 - When you click Add in the Actions pane, you can enter the registration information for your provider. At a minimum you must provide a name for your provider, but you will need to enter either the clsid for a COM-based provider or the type for a managed-code provider:

Step 6 - When you close the Collection Editor dialog, the Count of providers in the Collection should now reflect the provider that we just added; click Apply in the Actions pane to save the changes:

Step 7 - If you click on the activation row, an ellipsis [...] will appear, and when you click that, IIS will display the Collection Editor dialog for provider data; this is where you will enter provider-specific settings. When you click Add in the Actions pane, you must specify the name for your provider's settings, and this name must match the exact name that you provided in Step 5 earlier:

Step 8 - If you click on the Collection row, an ellipsis [...] will appear, and when you click that, IIS will display the Collection Editor dialog for the activation data for an FTP provider. At a minimum you must provide a key for your provider, which will depend on the settings that your provider expects to retrieve from your configuration settings. (For example, in the XML file that I provided earlier, my FtpXmlAuthorization provider expects to retrieve the path to an XML that contains a list of users, roles, and authorization rules.) You also need to enter the either the value or encryptedValue for your provider; although you can specify either setting, should generally specify the value when the settings are not sensitive in nature, and specify the encryptedValue for settings like usernames and passwords:

Step 9 - When you close the Collection Editor dialog for the activation data, the Count of key/value pairs in the Collection should now reflect the value that we just added:

Step 10 - When you close the Collection Editor dialog for the provider data, the Count of provider data settings in the activation row should now reflect the custom settings that we just added; click Apply in the Actions pane to save the changes:

That's all that there is to adding a custom FTP provider with provider-specific settings; I admit that it might seem like a lot of steps until you get the hang of it.

In the next blog for this series, I will show you how to add custom providers to FTP sites by using the IIS Configuration Editor.

Note: This blog was originally posted at

Automating the Creation of FTP User Isolation Folders

A customer asked me a question a little while ago that provided me the opportunity to recycle some code that I had written many years ago. In so doing, I also made a bunch of updates to the code to make it considerably more useful, and I thought that it would make a great blog.

Here's the scenario: a customer had hundreds of user accounts created, and he wanted to use the FTP service's User Isolation features to restrict each user to a specific folder on his FTP site. Since it would take a long time to manually create a folder for each user account, the customer wanted to know if there was a way to automate the process. As it turns out, I had posted a very simple script in the forums several years ago that did something like what he wanted; and that script was based off an earlier script that I had written for someone else back in the IIS 6.0 days.

One quick reminder - FTP User Isolation uses a specific set of folders for user accounts, which are listed in the table below.

User Account TypesHome Directory Syntax
Anonymous users %FtpRoot%\LocalUser\Public
Local Windows user accounts

(Requires Basic authentication.)

Windows domain accounts

(Requires Basic authentication.)


Note: %FtpRoot% is the root directory for your FTP site: for example, C:\Inetpub\Ftproot.

That being said, I'm a big believer in recycling code, so I found the last version of that script that I gave to someone and I made a bunch of changes to it so it would be more useful for the customer. What that in mind, here's the resulting script, and I'll explain a little more about what it does after the code sample.

Option Explicit

' Define the root path for the user isolation folders.
' This should be the root directory for your FTP site.
Dim strRootPath : strRootPath = "C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\"

' Define the name of the domain or the computer to use.
' Leave this blank for the local computer.
Dim strComputerOrDomain : strComputerOrDomain = ""

' Define the remaining script variables.
Dim objFSO, objCollection, objUser, objNetwork, strContainerName

' Create a network object; used to query the computer name.
Set objNetwork = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Network")

' Create a file system object; used to creat folders.
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

' Test if the computer name is null.
If Len(strComputerOrDomain)=0 Or strComputerOrDomain="." Then
  ' If so, define the local computer name as the account repository.
  strComputerOrDomain = objNetwork.ComputerName
End If

' Verify that the root path exists.
If objFSO.FolderExists(strRootPath) Then

  ' Test if the script is using local users.
  If StrComp(strComputerOrDomain,objNetwork.ComputerName,vbTextCompare)=0 Then
    ' If so, define the local users container path.
    strContainerName = "LocalUser"
    ' And define the users collection as local.
    Set objCollection = GetObject("WinNT://.")
    ' Otherwise, use the source name as the path.
    strContainerName = strComputerOrDomain
    ' And define the users collection as remote.
    Set objCollection = GetObject("WinNT://" & strComputerOrDomain & "")
  End If

  ' Append trailing backslash if necessary.
  If Right(strRootPath,1)<>"\" Then strRootPath = strRootPath & "\"
  ' Define the adjusted root path for the container folder.
  strRootPath = strRootPath & strContainerName & "\"

  ' Test if the container folder already exists.
  If objFSO.FolderExists(strRootPath)=False Then
    ' Create the container folder if necessary.
  End If

  ' Specify the collection filter for user objects only.
  objCollection.Filter = Array("user")

  ' Loop through the users collection.
  For Each objUser In objCollection
    ' Test if the user's account is enabled.
    If objUser.AccountDisabled = False Then
      ' Test if the user's folder already exists.
      If objFSO.FolderExists(strRootPath & "\" & objUser.Name)=False Then
        ' Create the user's folder if necessary.
           objFSO.CreateFolder(strRootPath & "\" & objUser.Name)
         End If
       End If

End If

I documented this script in great detail, so it should be self-explanatory for the most part. But just to be on the safe side, here's an explanation of what this script is doing when you run it on your FTP server:

  • Defines two user-updatable variables:
    • strRootPath - which specifies the physical path to the root of your FTP site.
    • strComputerOrDomain - which specifies the computer name or the domain name where your user accounts are located. (Note: You can leave this blank if you are using local user accounts on your FTP server.)
  • Creates a few helper objects and determines the local computer name if necessary.
  • Checks to see if the physical path to the root of your FTP site actually exists before continuing.
  • Creates a connection to the user account store (local or domain).
  • Determines the container folder name that be the parent directory of user account folders, and creates it if necessary. (See my earlier note about the folder names.)
  • Defines a filter for user objects in the specifies account repository. (This removes computer accounts and such from the operation.)
  • Loops through the collection of user accounts, checks each account to see if it is enabled, and creates a folder for each user account if it does not already exist.

That's all for now. ;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at