So you can use Google Drive as a free FTP server

What is an FTP server

First of all we want to talk about what exactly a FTP server. It is a service used to transfer files, either uploading or downloading, between two remotely connected computers. The normal thing is that it is between the local computer of a client and the server of a provider.

For this to be possible it is necessary to have an FTP client and an FTP server. Basically it is the software that will allow this file transfer between two teams. The connection is bidirectional, so at the same time we can send and receive data. For example, it is used to upload images, video files, text documents … Any type of file that we have and that we are interested in sharing with another device.

We can use this type of service with a user and password. It is what allows us to authenticate and verify a specific account to access a server and transfer files. However, guest access is also possible, which could be anonymously.

Steps to use Google Drive as an FTP server

After having briefly explained what the FTP protocol is, how the client and the server act, we are going to explain how we can use Google Drive for it. We are going to refer to google-drive-ftp-adapter, which is the application necessary to achieve our goal. We will have to download it on our computer, configure it and start using it with our user to be able to upload or download files.

Download google-drive-ftp-adapter

The first thing we have to do is download the google-drive-ftp-adapter program to our computer. It’s a free software, open source, and that we can download from GitHub. Of course, it is necessary to have Java previously installed on the computer for it to work correctly.

In GitHub we will see all the information regarding google-drive-ftp-adapter, as well as the button to download the ZIP file that contains what the program itself is and all the content that we are going to have to download on our computer and run later .

Within the information we will see that the mission of this program is to be able to use the FTP protocol through Google Drive. This, as we will see, will give a series of possibilities to users who have accounts in this popular Google service.

Run the jar file

Once we have downloaded the ZIP file from GitHub and unzip it on the computer, we will see that there are different folders. One of them is google-drive-ftp-adapter-master. It is right there where we have to enter. Inside there we must execute the jar file that we will see in order to start the program.

Additionally, we will also see that there is a tool called PoweredBy.Cloud. This is what allows you to configure Drive as a CDN.

* Note: when we executed it for the first time this file gave an error indicating that it could not be read correctly. It is something that can happen, but it is easily solved just by rerunning it a second time.

Link Google Drive account

When we have run google-drive-ftp-adapter, it will ask us to link it to our account. We have to give the necessary permissions so that it can work properly. What’s more, Windows Defender, Microsoft’s antivirus, will send us a message to allow us to use this application. We will have to give it to accept, since otherwise it could block the program and not work correctly.

Must log in in Drive with our username and password. This is essential to really link the account and be able to access the content that we already have saved or be able to upload new files that we want to the platform.

From that moment on we will have Google Drive configured to work as an FTP client. This tool that we have installed automates the entire process. We will only need any FTP program. For example in our case we have decided to use WinSCP, which works very well. It would be similar with any other option.

Configure WinSCP

Open the FTP program

Therefore, the next step will be to open the FTP program, which in this case will be WinSCP. It will ask us for a series of data that will be necessary to be able to connect to Google Drive. We have to put the hostname Localhost. In the user section we put user and password also user.

The port you are going to use is 1821. This is the port that google-drive-ftp-adapter configures us by default. In the options that will appear above we have to select FTP and without encryption.

Start using google-drive-ftp-adapter

Once we have configured all these parameters that we have mentioned, it only remains to start use google-drive-ftp-adapter. When we connect, it will hardly take a few seconds for the list of all our files that we have stored in the Google service to appear.


With this we will achieve full and accessible control of all folders. We will be able upload and download files in a simple and fast way. For example, we can transfer text documents, images, video files, ZIP folders … Anything we want to have in Drive. Being bidirectional, we can both upload and download content without any problem.

In short, with these steps that we have shown we can configure Google Drive as an FTP server. It is a simple, fast process that only requires installing a tool such as google-drive-ftp-adapter, which is totally free and open source, and configuring it properly. We will also have to have an FTP program, which in our case we have used WinSCP but any other with a similar operation can be used.

What do you think of the google-drive-ftp-adapter program? Do you think it is useful to be able to use Drive as an FTP server and transfer files quickly and easily thanks to this tool?

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