How to install and configure vsftpd

This tutorial focuses on how to setup vsftpd server on your linux based VPS or a dedicated server. The vsftpd stands for “Very Secure FTP Daemon”. It is not just secure as the name suggests but also delivers excellent performance by consuming less memory. The tutorial also teaches you how to configure by adding ftp users and locking the directory to individual users.

You can install vsftpd on Ubuntu / Debian, CentOS /Fedora and RHEL linux.

Installing vsftpd on Ubuntu or Debian

sudo apt-get install vsftpd

Installing vsftpd on CentOS / Fedora

yum install vsftpd

How to configure vsftpd:

Now that you’ve installed vsftpd, follow this procedure to configure it. These steps applies for both the linux variants.

Before you get started, stop the vsftpd by typing:

service vsftpd stop

Edit the vsftp.conf

In Ubuntu / Debian:

vi /etc/vsftpd.conf

In Red Hat / CentOS

vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

Make the following changes:

We don’t want anonymous login:

anonymous_enable=NO

Enable local users:

local_enable=YES

The ftpuser should be able to write data:

write_enable=YES

Port 20 need to turned off, makes vsftpd run less privileged:

connect_from_port_20=NO

Chroot everyone:

chroot_local_user=YES

set umask to 022 to make sure that all the files (644) and folders (755) you upload get the proper permissions.

local_umask=022

Now that basic configuration is complete, now let us begin with locking / securing a directory to user.

sudo useradd -d /var/www/path/to/your/dir -s /usr/sbin/nologin ftpuser

Setup a password for the user:

sudo passwd ftpuser

In order to enable the ftpuser read and write the data in your home dir, change the permission and take ownership:

sudo chown -R ftpuser /var/www/path/to/your/dir
sudo chmod 775 /var/www/path/to/your/dir

Create userlist file and add the user:

Ubuntu / Debian:
vi /etc/vsftpd.userlist

CentOS / Fedora

vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.userlist

and add the user:

ftpuser

save the file and open the vsftp.conf file again:

vi /etc/vsftpd.conf

Add the following lines at the end of the file and save it:

# the list of users to give access
userlist_file=/etc/vsftpd.userlist

# this list is on
userlist_enable=YES

# It is not a list of users to deny ftp access
userlist_deny=NO

After completing all these procedures it is almost ready to use it, give it a try but you will get a 500 OOPS permission denied error. To fix it you need to add a nologin to the shell set.

vi /etc/shells

The file should look like this:

/bin/ksh
/usr/bin/rc
/usr/bin/tcsh
/bin/tcsh
/usr/bin/esh
/bin/dash
/bin/bash
/bin/rbash

Add this line at the end:

/usr/sbin/nologin

Now create a usergroup and add the ftpuser to it:

sudo addgroup ftpusers
sudo usermod -Gftpusers ftpuser

Now start the vsftpd:

service vsftpd start

That’s it. Now you have a secure installation of vsftpd on your server.

80 thoughts on “How to install and configure vsftpd

  1. Hi!

    I’ve tried your tuto for the configuration of vsftpd with a jail, but in the last step, after i’ve created my group and join the user, when i try to start the service of ftp, it sends me a message error…
    ” Starting vsftpd startproc: exit status of parent of /usr/sbin/vsftpd:1 failed”

    I’ve searching and trying to fix it, but it doesn’t work… i’d like you can help me to resolve it… Thank you so much!…

    Btw… i’m a neophyte in this stuff… so, i’m learning about Linux servers management :D , about a openSuSE Server :)

  2. Response: 530 Login incorrect.
    Error: Critical error
    Error: Could not connect to server

    Over and over and over and over and over…

  3. Pingback: Installation and configuration of vsftpd | Linux Over Cloud

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