Why Does an SEO Company Need FTP Access?

Why Does an SEO Company Need FTP Access?

Why Does an SEO Company Need FTP Access - Picture of Backend of Website

If you’ve been talking to an SEO company that wants FTP access, it’s completely normal to feel uneasy. FTP access is a big deal.

There are a few reasons why an SEO company needs FTP access:

An SEO company needs FTP access to make specific edits, troubleshoot, and recover the site if it goes down.

It’s obviously more nuanced than that, so click below to learn more about why FTP is needed for SEOs, as well as what to keep in mind before giving out FTP access to your SEO provider:

What is FTP

FTP (or File Transfer Protocol) is used to transfer data from a computer to a website. This is done directly from a computer, negating the need for a Content Management System (CMS).

With FTP access, you can see all the files on a website, as well as make changes directly.

It’s because of this direct access that website owners can be hesitant about giving that access out.

This is completely understandable. Read on to learn why FTP is needed for SEO providers, as well as how you can safely give FTP access.

Why is FTP Needed for SEOs?

  • FTP access can be necessary to edit the website – There are specific areas of a site that are not accessible by the provided CMS.
  • FTP access is necessary when things go wrong – When a site goes down, that typically means the CMS login (WordPress’s admin for example) is inaccessible. FTP access allows user to get in to the back end of the site regardless, making it so your website’s down time is as small of a window as possible. This is the most common reason behind asking for FTP access as it enables us to diagnose errors faster and more efficiently.
  • FTP access allows for better maintenance and troubleshooting – There is regular maintenance and troubleshooting that can happen with FTP access. An example would be updating files without exposing a website to hackers. Files transferred using FTP are stored online in a secure environment.
  • FTP offers more flexibility – FTP gives you the flexibility to download or upload large files (such as digital photos, documents, videos) as often as you need.

What to Keep in Mind Before Handing Over FTP Access

  • Be careful about giving out FTP access – Do your due diligence in researching as much as possible about the SEO provider. Make sure you can trust whoever you’re giving access to. It’s not just important to know that you’re giving FTP access to people who can be trusted, but you also need to Identify how the SEO provider keeps login credentials safe
  • Backup your site – Make sure you have a backup of your site before giving any kind of FTP access. This will allow you to get your site back up in a worst case scenario.
  • Give a specific amount of access – Do not provide credentials of your e-mail account that is connected with your Domain name. Instead, create a sub-account using the SEO agency’s own email address with limited access. If you’d like, you can forego providing Admin access of your Website to your SEO provider and instead provide a sub-account on cPanel with limited permissions.
  • Consider using a development environment – If you’re concerned about a person or company having FTP access to your site, consider giving them full access to a development environment and pushing changes on that environment to your live site.


If a trusted SEO provider is asking for FTP access, there is a good reason behind the request. After you’ve vetted the individual or company, FTP access can amplify what an SEO provider can do and be a safety net if a website runs into serious errors.