How to Install and Configure ProFTPD in RHEL / CentOS / Fedora Linux

by on May 28, 2008 · 13 comments· LAST UPDATED May 27, 2008

in , ,

This is a user contributed tutorial.

ProFTPD is an enhanced, secure and highly configurable FTP server. Its configuration syntax is very similar to apache web server. It offers several functionalities such as:
+ multiple virtual server
+ anonymous
+ authenticated access
+ chroot jail support
+ SSL/TLS encryption
+ RADIUS, LDAP and SQL support etc

Install ProFTPD server

Type the following command as root user:
# yum install proftpd
Start ProFTPD when the system reboot:
# chkconfig --level 3 proftpd on
To start proftpd ftp service, enter:
# service proftpd start
To Stop proftpd ftp server, enter:
# service proftpd stop
To restart proftpd ftp service, enter:
# service proftpd restart
To reload the configuration file, enter:
# service proftpd reload

/etc/proftpd.conf - Proftpd configuration file

The default configuration file is located at /etc/proftpd.conf. To edit the configuration file, enter:
# vim /etc/proftpd.conf
Checking the syntax of the configuration file
# proftpd -t6

Virtual users authentication configuration

When you install ProFTPD, it is almost ready to use by anonymous users, you only have to uncomment anonymous section in /etc/proftpd.conf but if you want authenticated access then you must configure extra directives, keep in mind these to virtual users authentication.

  • AuthUserFile : Specify the users file, has the same format as /etc/passwd
  • AuthGroupFile : Specify the groups file, has the same format as /etc/group

Open /etc/proftpd.conf file:
# vi /etc/proftpd.conf
These files can be created with ftpasswd tool, here is an example:
# ftpasswd --passwd --name {username} --file /etc/ftpd.passwd --uid {5000} --gid {5000} --home /var/ftp/username-home/ --shell /bin/false
# ftpasswd --group --name group1 –file /etc/ftpd.group --gid 5000 --member username

For example, add a ftp user called tom for cyberciti.biz domain (ftpcbz group):
# ftpasswd --passwd --name tom --file /etc/ftpd.passwd --uid 5001 --gid 5001 --home /var/ftp/tom/ --shell /bin/false
# ftpasswd --group --name ftpcbz –file /etc/ftpd.group --gid 5000 --member tom

Then the above directives must be set in this way :

AuthUserFile	/etc/ftpd.passwd
AuthGroupFile	/etc/ftpd.group

Warnings! The created user must have UNIX permission under his home directory.

The value of --shell option must be set to /bin/false if you want to improve the security of the FTP server.

Sometimes ProFTPD throws many errors when you try to authenticated trough virtual users then you must look these directives and theris recommend values.

Don't check against /etc/shells
RequireValidShell off
Don't check against /etc/passwd, use only AuthUserFile
AuthOrder mod_auth_file.c.
Disable PAM authentication
PersistentPasswd off
AuthPAM off

To jail users to theirs respective home directories, add following to config file:
DefaulRoot ~

Playing with files access permission

The general syntax is as follows:
Umask FILEMODE DIRMODE.

Sets the mask of the newly created files and directories. FILEMODE and DIRMODE must be an octal mode, in the format 0xxx. If DIRMODE is omitted then DIRMODE = FILEMODE.

Some examples:

Umask 022

  • The owner has rw permissions over the files and full access over directories.
  • The group has r permission over the files and rx over directories.
  • The world has r permission over the files and rx over directories.

More restrictive:
Umask 026 027

  • The owner has rw permissions over the files and full access over directories.
  • The group has r permission over the files and rx over directories.
  • The world doesn't have any permission over the files neither over directories.

To Deny every one except admin changes files permission via ftp put this in your context:

AllowUser admin
DenyAll

Firewall Configuration - Open FTP port

See FAQ section for further details on iptables configuration.

Further readings:

  1. Proftpd project
  2. ProFTPD unofficial documentation

This article / faq is contributed by Yoander Valdés Rodríguez (yoander). nixCraft welcomes readers' tips / howtos.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sebas June 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm

proftpd is not in yum for CentOS

Reply

2 Harold Naparst July 26, 2009 at 6:20 am

proftpd is in the Dag repository, which you can add thus:

http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/FAQ.php#B1

Reply

3 Vishwanath February 10, 2011 at 3:18 am

Is there any way to monitor clients connected to proftpd

Reply

4 yoander July 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Put in /etc/proftpd.conf the following directives:
# Define log file and log level
SystemLog /var/log/proftpd/ftpd.log
DebugLevel 6
If not exists /var/log/proftpd/ftpd.log then you must create it then tail -f /var/log/proftpd/ftpd.log

Reply

5 Humza Bobat February 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm

The ftpasswd command is not availible to the default yum version, any way to install it manually, or do I have to comile the whole proftpd?

Reply

6 jalal hajigholamali July 22, 2011 at 7:51 am
7 xzeth July 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Hi I run ftpasswd against /var/www I tried to create a file their but I got a permission denied how would I allow my virtual user to write there

Reply

8 yoander July 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm

You virtual user must have UNIX write permission. so you can reach this with following commands: (as root). I suppose you virtual user gid is 5000
# chown -Rc :5000 /var/ftp/virt-user-home && chmod -c g+w /var/ftp/virt-user-home

Reply

9 miguel February 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thank. Please note that

“To jail users to theirs respective home directories, add following to config file:
DefaulRoot ~

must be :
DefaultRoot ~
—-

As always, proftpd -t6 will help checking syntax.. ;)

Reply

10 Petyuska December 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Hello,
there is an error in the tutorial.
AuthOrder mod_auth_file.c.

there is no dot at the end of the line!!!
Cheers,
Peter

Reply

11 Humroben July 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

hi, using fedora 17

I’m unable to use AuthUserFile or AuthGroupFile
but they’re part of Proftpd as stated in many pieces of documentation

Reply

12 Andreu December 5, 2013 at 9:44 am

Hi,
thanks for this amazing tutorial. I Debian, you must set the directive:

RequireValidShell no

instead of

RequireValidShell off

for that work correctly.

Reply

13 egi June 9, 2014 at 7:25 am

halo
i’ve following your tutorial, but i can’t login from user that i’ve created from the command ftpasswd
it’s answer
530 Login incorrect.
Login failed.
it’s something wrong?

Reply

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