Ubuntu Linux vsftpd ftp service / server install, configuration howto

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Q. How do I install Ubuntu ftp service or server?

A. Ubuntu Linux comes with various ftp servers to setup FTP service such as:
=> proftpd – Versatile, virtual-hosting FTP daemon

=> vsftpd – The Very Secure FTP Daemon

=> ftpd – FTP server

=> wu-ftpd – powerful and widely used FTP server

=> wzdftpd – A portable, modular, small and efficient ftp server

=> pure-ftpd – Pure-FTPd FTP server

I recommend using vsftpd. It is simple and quite secure FTP server. According to vsftpd man page:

vsftpd is the Very Secure File Transfer Protocol Daemon. The server can be launched via a super-server such as inetd or xinetd. Alternatively, vsftpd can be launched in standalone mode, in which case vsftpd itself will listen on the network.

=> Default ftp port : 21
=> Default configuration file : /etc/vsftpd.conf

How do I set up the vsftpd daemon to accept connections from another computer?

The configuration of the vsftpd FTP service (read as daemon ) simply requires three steps.

Step # 1: Install vsftpd

Type apt-get command to install vsftpd
$ sudo apt-get install vsftpd

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 121kB of archives.
After unpacking 438kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com edgy/main vsftpd 2.0.4-0ubuntu5 [121kB]
Fetched 121kB in 0s (246kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package vsftpd.
(Reading database ... 31396 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking vsftpd (from .../vsftpd_2.0.4-0ubuntu5_amd64.deb) ...
Setting up vsftpd (2.0.4-0ubuntu5) ...
Adding system user `ftp' with uid 106...
Adding new user `ftp' (106) with group `nogroup'.
Not creating home directory `/home/ftp'.
 * Starting FTP server: vsftpd                  

Step # 2: Configure /etc/vsftpd.conf

The default vsftpd configuration file is /etc/vsftpd.conf. You need to edit this file using text editor such as vi:
$ sudo vi /etc/vsftpd.conf

Add the following line (uncomment line) to the vsftpd configuration file:
Above config directive will allow local users to log in via ftp

If you would like to allow users to upload file, add the following to the file:

For security you may restrict local users to their home directories. Add the following to the file:

Save and close the file.

Step # 3: Restart vsftpd

To restart vsftpd type the command :
$ sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart

* Stopping FTP server: vsftpd                                                                                       [ ok ]
 * Starting FTP server: vsftpd                                                                                       [ ok ]

How do I use ftp command line utility?

Now you should be able to FTP to this server with any account that exists on the system except for the root user. From Windows or other Linux system use ftp client, type the command:
$ ftp ftp.nixcraft.in

Connected to ftp.nixcraft.in.
220 (vsFTPd 2.0.4)
Name (ftp.nixcraft.in:vivek): vivek
331 Please specify the password.
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> pwd
257 "/"
ftp> ls
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
-rw-r--r--    1 1000     1000        91798 Aug 16 08:26 apf-current.tar.gz
-rwxr-xr-x    1 1000     1000          156 Nov 10 07:05 iptables.stop
drwxr-xr-x    3 0        0            4096 Dec 23 11:11 postfix
-rw-r--r--    1 0        0        10481942 Nov 29 23:35 webmin_1.310_all.deb
226 Directory send OK.
ftp> quit
221 Goodbye.

Open FTP port using iptables (optional)

Add following rules to your iptables script. Assuming that default incoming policy is drop. If protocol is TCP and destination port is 21 (ftp):
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 21 -j ACCEPT
See – How do I open open ftp port 21 using iptables for more information.

There are a large number of other configuration options available for vsftpd that can be used to fine tune ftp server. Read vsftpd.conf man page by typing following command:
$ man vsftpd.conf


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

62 comment

    1. Login “root” user through ftp
      step1: To Remove root user from “ftpusers” &”user_list”

      # vim /etc/vsftpd/ftpusers
      root — remove root user here

      # vim /etc/vsftpd/user_list
      root — remove root user here
      Step2: Service on & restart
      # chkconfig vsftpd on
      # service vsftpd restart
      Step3: Set Boolean Policy

      # getsebool -a | grep ftp (show ftp policy)

      # setsebool -P allow_ftpd_full_access=on
      # setsebool -P ftp_home_dir=on
      Step4: Again We restart ftp service

  1. hi
    after logging to the username, i am able to do get command (able to
    download the files) but i am not able to upload the files. message
    ftp> put vish
    227 Entering passive mode (127,0,0,1,188,16)
    553 Could not create file.

    pls help me

    vishal parikh

  2. The default setup for vsftpd makes the /home/ftp directory for ftp server use. I had been using vsftpd on fedora where this directory was /var/ftp/. In my new ubuntu installation I had kept /var partition large to accomodate ftp site files.

    How do I change the default behaviour in ubuntu to make /var/ftp as the default ftp home in place of /home/ftp??


  3. If the user conect with ftp, he should be login in his home dir only.

    how to set this home dir option.(no permisson view other dir)

    1. Step1: Set Boolean Policy

      # getsebool -a | grep ftp (show ftp policy)

      # setsebool -P allow_ftpd_full_access=on
      # setsebool -P ftp_home_dir=on
      Step2: You will restart ftp service

  4. hi
    i want to anynom users can visit /myftp folder and download some files.

    then i want to users lik u1,u2,u3 can login to ftp
    and can upload,change files in /myftp sub folders.

    u1 should have access to /myftp/folder1
    u2 should have access to /myftp/folder1 and /myftp/folder2
    u3 should have access to /myftp/ all folders
    anonym should not access to /myftp/folder3 !

    is it possible?
    i’m using FC6 with vsftpd2.0.5

  5. Great short step-by-step instructions for getting an FTP server running under Ubuntu. So easy to follow! Thank you.

  6. vishal: you need to edit the /etc/vsftpd.conf file and uncomment write_enable=YES

  7. Hello!,

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I just followed your instructions and now it is nicely running :-)

    I installed it on Ubuntu 8.0.4

    Thanks again!!!

  8. After setting this up, is there a way I can log into this and see if it works from the same machine/pc? thanks

  9. i just got the ftp working. but when i try to upload an index.html file to my public_html folder. I get a 403 forbidden error. if i create the file on the web server it works great. any ideas because i don’t want to have to type everything into a file on the server thanks

  10. hello,
    thanks for tutorial, but i have some problem,
    when anonym upload file, they can download it?

  11. Hi

    I have a question on vsftpd,

    While setting the below settings (vsftpd.conf)


    But, while using FileZilla clinet still I can able to go to other directories like “/, /etc/, /boot” and could even transfer the file to my PC?

    Can you advise is there any setting is wrong?



  12. @Sylvester:
    I think your problem might revolve around the usage of both
    (since when chroot_local_user is YES, the chroot_list_enable becomes a list of people who ISN’T being chrooted.
    May this perhaps be the stumbling block?

  13. I would like to setup a site where users can download(only) installers. The idea here is that users will click the installer they want to download and a window will appear asking if they want to open or save the installer . No need for username or emailaddress. On the .asp of the site I will hardcode the ftp location of the installer. Please help me on how I could setup my ftp server installed in linux fedora 6. I use vsftpd installed on the linux server. The installers are also located on the linux box.

  14. I have vsftpd setup. I can connect via command line with my home server’s IP address and the domains setup as virtual hosts. I cannot, however, connect through FileZilla when I use anything other than the IP address behind my router. Something I need to configure? Something I forgot to configure, maybe? Hope someone can help me out. Thanks.

  15. can somebody help to setup a PROFTPD server with the following settings:
    don’t allow anonymous logins
    files copied to the server must by default have rwxrwxrx permissions
    the user will be locked in student’s home directory
    maximum of 5 users can FTP to the server at the same time
    maximum download speed for nay user is 100kbytes
    pass the configuration file

  16. plz help me
    i cannot access the other end ftp user acount in ubuntu linux server,

    what is the way to access?

    thanking u

  17. Hi,
    I installed the ftp service.But could not connect it using http://ftp.nixcraft.in
    Could you pls clarify what does nixcraft stands for.
    When i create a ftp service,the ftp address will be http://ftp..com.
    What will be X, Is it my computer name ? or User Name ?

    Please clarify
    Thanks in Advance

    1. nixcraft.in is my domain name. You need to create subdomain called http://ftp.nixcraft.in by editing bind zone files. However, if your dns hosted with ISP, contact them or use their control panel to create ftp subdomain.


  18. Hallo, fellows!
    I followed all steps in this guide but on the end result is the following:
    $ sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart
    * Stopping FTP server: vsftpd
    No /usr/sbin/vsftpd found running; none killed.
    [ OK ]
    * Starting FTP server: vsftpd [ OK ]

    What is “No /usr/sbin/vsftpd found running; none killed.” supposed to mean and how could I get over it?

    And another question: What is the meaning of these rows in vsftpd.conf:
    # Run standalone? vsftpd can run either from an inetd or as a standalone
    # daemon started from an initscript.
    What actually means “Run standalone”?

    Thank you!!!

  19. Kaloyan:
    You get “No /usr/sbin/vsftpd found running; none killed.”
    when vsftpd isn’t running, and you’re trying to stop it (as in /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart)

    What actually means “Run standalone”?
    It means that vsftpd is running as a standalone server, not controlled by inetd or xinetd.
    Setting ‘Run standalone’ to NO means vsftpd isn’t running.
    When configuring inetd to control vsftpd it means that inetd is actually listening at port 21, when a connection comes inetd launches vsftpd. This is preferable if one uses /etc/hosts.deny and /etc/hosts.allow for security (f.example using denyhosts) since inetd/xinetd obeys those files, and vsftpd doesn’t.

  20. By default all files uploaded up users has 600 permissions. If you want your files to be 644 you need to uncomment the line “local_umask=022” and you should be good to go. If you still can’t upload. Make sure the user has permission to write to this folder.

  21. sir i am workin in bizmascot company plz send me information about in FTP bu using in and access personal database……………….

  22. Hello guys

    I want to know about ftp access with domain.

    If i am usingw ith virtual host once public domain. like this Your IP from Network enable to domain?

    example: is localhost on your couter or your laptop.
    1xx.xxx.xxx.xxx yourdomain.com

    Than how do i bind with virtualhost for ftp access??
    like this ftp_domain.com with password and http://domain.com or http://www.domain.com

    Thanks for tricks and tips.. I want to try.

    PS: Can i use once Steam Server like Counter-Strike Server from my ip?

    If “yes” than iw ill make sure…

    Thanks Best regards from Germany. Jens

  23. Thanks for the awesome write up. I’ve installed vsftpd on my Fedora server before without any problems. But for some reason with my Ubuntu server I cannot get it running properly. I have the daemon installed and it is running (I can connect from localhost without issue) but when trying to connect remotely I get a timeout from the machine. I opened up port 21 to listen for FTP connections but still remote connections don’t seem to catch.

    Any idea what could be causing this?

  24. In recent versions of Ubuntu use this command to restart vsftp:

    sudo service vsftpd restart

  25. I want to make users of ftp which can login in my FTP server |
    how can i make users and permissions
    plz help me any one

  26. how can limite ftp connection to a single dominain ?

    only machines width IP in “enterprise.com” domain can login to ftp

  27. Hello,

    I have configured vsftpd on Mint Linux (debian/ubuntu) and I have open FTP port 20 and 21 in the firewall. I have created self assigned certificate for vsftpd and make the necessary configuration in vsftpd.conf.

    vsftpd use any random port (>1024) to encrypt/decrypt the data and it automatically uses the passive mode.
    Can I assign specific port (990 or 991) instead of the random ports?

    I have used following options in vsftpd.conf however it doesn’t work…

    Thanks & Regards,

  28. Status: Connection established, waiting for welcome message…
    Response: 220 Welcome to ******* Server
    Command: USER ####
    Response: 331 Please specify the password.
    Command: PASS ####
    Response: 230 Login successful.
    Command: SYST
    Response: 215 UNIX Type: L8
    Command: FEAT
    Response: 211-Features:
    Response: EPRT
    Response: EPSV
    Response: MDTM
    Response: PASV
    Response: REST STREAM
    Response: SIZE
    Response: TVFS
    Response: UTF8
    Response: 211 End
    Command: OPTS UTF8 ON
    Response: 200 Always in UTF8 mode.
    Status: Connected
    Status: Retrieving directory listing…
    Command: PWD
    Response: 257 “/”
    Command: TYPE I
    Response: 200 Switching to Binary mode.
    Command: PASV
    Response: 227 Entering Passive Mode (ip.xxx.xxx.xxx,255,60).
    Command: LIST
    Error: Connection timed out
    Error: Failed to retrieve directory listing

    ok this is what happens remotely when connecting with filezilla. I have ports 20,21 opened in router, and also a range of high ports listing in vsftpd.conf. i can access the ftp fine on my LAN.

    here is the vsftpd file


    any advice here would be great first time iv’e tried to set this up.

    1. Joe
      You don’t have all the SSL options set up. Use this as a guide. The big one is the first one. You should check on the other options. They can vary a lot from one installation to the next.

      Also make sure that port 22 is open on your computer firewall and any external firewalls.

      # the next three are the connection types / SSL versions. good luck with the right combination.

  29. hi
    i want to know when a user loging to ftp server in linux,he anly can upload specific file to server.
    good luck

  30. huh?

    me also confused when facing this at the first time.
    Once I finished installing the ftp service, seems everything is okay.
    Anyway, at the vsftpd.conf file, i didn’t notice some variable saying the
    default directory …. where would it be?

    ~ confused mode: ON.

  31. I know how to disable anonimous on the ftp server.
    where do I setup the file with Username and Password?

  32. so when I try restarting by typing
    /etc/init.d$ sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart
    I get the message

    Rather than invoking init scripts through /etc/init.d, use the service(8)
    utility, e.g. service vsftpd restart

    Since the script you are attempting to invoke has been converted to an
    Upstart job, you may also use the restart(8) utility, e.g. restart vsftpd
    vsftpd start/running, process 5888
    I know how to find the PID but then what?

  33. Hi guys

    quick question

    i have 2 webhosts running on same machine just setup today

    now i installed vsftpd on the ubuntu machine running the 2 webhosts.

    now i want to know how and which files i need to edit in order to create 2 accounts
    2users+2 passwd and give specific folder access rights for each specific webhost

    i have the following setup here

    the 2 webhosts are in


    webhost1 and webhost2

    so i want to give only FTP access to user1+passwd1 direct to webhost1 folder

    and user2+passwd2 only for access webhost2

    is that possible and how can i do it, as i dont want the usere to have any kind of access at all to the older folders on the ubuntu machine.

    any hints or help will be appreciated guys

  34. when i try to connect from Filezilla its working from Public IP address to connect to my FTP server and working fine but when i try to connect from Private IP address which is NATed to the same Public IP
    the connecotn to the server Established OK and it accept username and password
    but when it reach to MLSD then it give the Error
    Connecton TIme Out
    Failed to retrieve directory listing

    can any one help me please

  35. Hello,
    Firstly, thank you for your time sir.

    I followed your instructions, but when I attempt to ftp the server I just set up, I get the following error. I believe I am not defining what my domain is, am I correct? If so, how do I rectify this issue?

    My Fedora 16 (x64) Desktop is called homepc as depicted below.

    [hasan@homepc ~]$ hostname
    [hasan@homepc ~]$
    [hasan@homepc ~]$ ftp http://ftp.homepc
    Connected to http://ftp.homepc (
    Host/Domain name is invalid

    Thank you so much. Hasan

  36. I want to setup vsftpd server for 10 users.
    5 of them should have read, write access & rest 5 should have read only access.
    When they login they should be able to access only /opt/pub directory.
    No access to their home directory (not required)
    Please suggest.


  37. How do I host an ftp for local use … in the sense if I have 2 laptops and i want to transfer files from one computer to another using vsftpd ?
    what do i need to do ?

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