One user per domain policy


Each domain you host at DreamHost can only be owned by a single SFTP or SHELL user. This configuration helps to secure a domain as data from one user cannot access a domain under a different user.

This article explains this configuration and how to move a domain to a different user.

How users and domains are assigned to each other

User 1

When creating a website user in your panel, you are able to assign that single user access to multiple websites. For example, the following shows one user that has access to three websites.

User 2

When a second user is created, that user only has access to their own websites. The following shows a second user that has access to three different websites.

Users do NOT have access to each other's data

User 2 is only able to view their own home directory and the files/folders within it. They will not be able to access the website files under a different user.

In the following example, User 2 DOES NOT have access to ANY of the websites under User 1.

The same is true about User 1.

Changing the website user to which a domain is assigned

You can change the user a domain is assigned to at any time.

  1. Navigate to the Manage Websites page.
  2. Click the Manage button to open the Domain Settings page, which allows you to adjust various settings for your site.
    • If in Grid view, click the Manage button at the bottom of the website box.
    • If in List view, click the Manage button at the far right of your domain name.
  3. Click the Login Info button under Manage Your Site.
  4. Click the Switch user button.
  5. Select the user you want to control this domain from the dropdown. If you want to move the site to a new user, you must create it first.

    You have the option to move all files to the new user at this time. If you wish to move all website files, toggle Move files to the new user? on.

  6. Scroll down and click the Change settings button to save your changes.

Migrating the data to the user takes more time depending on how much data the original user needs to copy to the new user.

If the new username is on a different server, the DNS must propagate before the site resolves online to the new user and servername.

Verify the domain is resolving from the new username

Follow these steps to confirm the site is responding from the new username.

  1. Load the website.
  2. Log into your server via SFTP or SSH.
  3. Navigate to the following file. Change username to your Shell user and to your website.
  4. Open this file and check for current entries.

Naming your website user

When creating a new website user that is used by multiple people, it’s recommended to give it a general name such as ‘Domain_Admin’.


You wish to create a User for your companies website, and there will be multiple people using this FTP user login.

  • You wouldn't want to name the User Account after you, such as Bob_Smith
  • Instead, use a name that is more domain/company-centric, such as Domainname_Admin

Allowing developer access to your site

It may be necessary at some point to hire a developer to work on your website. There are a few different ways a developer may require access to your site in order to work on it. The access you grant a developer depends on exactly what tools they need to complete the job you hired them for.

View the following article for information on how to grant your developer only the specific access they require.

See also

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