What causes “530 Login authentication failed” error?

In our role as Website Support engineers for online businesses, managing FTP servers and resolving the related errors, is a task we usually perform.

“530 Login authentication failed” is a common error reported by users in cPanel Pure-ftpd servers. This error occurs when the FTP server is unable to verify whether the user’s login details are correct.


The error message usually shows when FTP users try to establish a session with the server by submitting their username and password in FTP clients such as Filezilla.



 

 

What causes “530 Login authentication failed” error?

 

While debugging 530 login errors in FTP, we’ve see that this error happens in Pure-ftpd servers due to 2 main reasons. Here, we’ll see how we resolve those.

1. Incorrect login details used

Login details used by users for FTP access include their username and password. If these credentials are given wrongly in the FTP client, it can give a 530 login error in FTP.

In cPanel, there is a default user account and additional FTP accounts associated with each domain. For default user account, the ‘username’ is the FTP login name.

But for additional FTP accounts, the FTP login name is of the format ‘username@domain.com’. If the FTP username entered is not in this specific format, login failures happen.

“530 Login authentication failed” also happens due to wrong password. Even a single additional space in the password can cause a login failure. Many account owners tend to overlook that aspect and struggle with 530 errors.

 

2. Password database corruption

Pure-ftpd stores user passwords in an encrypted form. They are stored as MD5 strings in its database. cPanel updates or FTP server changes may accidentally corrupt this database.

When the password database gets corrupted, it can lead to a server-wide issue. In such instances, all the FTP users would be unable to login to the server and end up seeing “530 Login authentication failed” errors.

How to fix “530 Login authentication failed” error?

To establish a successful FTP session, users should make sure that the username, hostname and password are given correctly in the FTP client such as Filezilla, Cute-FTP, FlashFXP, etc.

If the password is not working, then a password reset would be required for that user account. But in case of a password database corruption, we perform server wide actions such as:

  • Sync the FTP passwords via WHM or manually, if the former fails. This would update the corrupted passwords with the proper ones.
  • Forcefully sync the FTP passwords. By switching the FTP server from Pure-ftp to Proftpd and then switching back, we recover the password database.

Our experience resolving the different issues helps us to restore customers’ FTP service in no time. Asking the right questions upfront, and giving the solution in a few minutes reduces customer hold time and enhances customer delight.

To add on..

When users try to FTP to their account, they usually use their domain name as the ‘FTP host’ in the FTP client such as Filezilla. If this domain name is not resolving correctly, it would give 530 errors.

In addition to username/password validation, confirming that there are no DNS errors for the domain, is a vital part of our FTP error trouble-shooting process.

We also update and patch the FTP servers with the latest secure version to avoid a hack or data loss. Encrypting FTP with TLS is another security policy we follow to ensure data security.

Our Support Specialists routinely help server owners ensure seamless web services for their customers. If you’d like to know how you can better support your users, we’d happy be to talk to you.

 
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