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Installing and configuring FTP server vsftpd.


This article aims to detail the steps to set up an FTP file sharing server, using vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon).


As usual, installation is very simple with apt-get or Aptitude. As root run:

aptitude install vsftpd

After installing, the server starts automatically and listens on TCP port 21 by default.

You can check it within netstat:

# netstat -npl
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      22468/vsftpd    

If your host does not have a firewall, it is recommended to stop vsftpd before configuring.

/etc/init.d/vsftpd stop


The configuration file for this server is /etc/vsftpd.conf. You can find example configuration files in /usr/share/doc/vsftpd/EXAMPLE.

The configuration file has three option types:

If certain options are not present in the configuration file, the server will be use default parameters (see man vsftpd.conf).

Anonymous access

By default, anonymous connections are not allowed.

If you enable this, only access to directory /srv/ftp/ is allowed:


For enabling anonymous uploading, set:

For enabling changes to ownership, set:


User access control

Access is enabled for authorized local users by default. To disable:


To enable write access:


User Management

Containment of users

User accounts can access files of the whole system which is not always desirable and can help to compromise the machine, they can be confined by changing vsftpd.conf :


The root of their FTP will be their home directory.

Nevertheless, an account can be used to connect outside of ftp: ssh, getty (terminal login) are examples . It will then still have access to the rest of the system by the shell. You can configure the services given as examples to block the account or to contain it, but the main solution is to disable the shell for the user.

For that we assign the user's shell to false , a simple binary which returns an error signal :

usermod -s /bin/false

Then, you need to add false to the shells list :

echo /bin/false >> /etc/shells

See also :