Install Ftp server

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26 Apr 2022: "gedit" changed to "nano". Minor error corrected.

5 Sep 2019: "0755" changed to "0775" for "Ftp" directory.

7 May 2019: "gksudo gedit" changed to "sudo gedit" as Ubuntu 18.04 dropped "gksudo".

25 Dec 2014: Created.


FTP server enables directories to be accessible for downloading or uploading by users outside the local network.


Install the package:

$ sudo apt-get install vsftpd

Edit config file:

$ sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf

Uncomment the following line to enable uploading:


Define as the following line to change the default directory permissions to 775 (drwxrwxr-x) and default file permissions to 664 (-rw-rw-r--):


Uncomment the following lines to restrict users to their home except for those listed in the file represented by "chroot_list_file":


("vsftpd.choot_list" corrected as "vsftpd.chroot_list",  7 May 2019)

Save file after uncommenting.

Specify users who can go outside their home by inserting their user login names one on each line in the file represented by "chroot_list_file":

$ sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.chroot_list

("vsftpd/chroot_list" corrected as "vsftpd.chroot_list",  7 May 2019)

Restart ftp service whenever the config files are changed:

$ sudo systemctl restart vsftpd
$ sudo service vsftpd restart

Set the internet router to re-direct ftp connections to server port 21.

Set up a root FTP Directory to contain all FTP job folders

Change directory to the top directory assessible for use by Windows network through Samba:

$ cd /<full directory path from root>​

Make a directory specially for FTP storage, called "Ftp" in this example:

$ sudo mkdir Ftp

Change its ownership so that it can be accessed by Windows network:

$ sudo chown nobody:nogroup Ftp

Change its permissions to "read only" for other users:

$ sudo chmod 0775 Ftp

("0755" changed to "0775" because for unknown reasons sub-directory cannot be created under "Ftp", 5 Sep 2019)

Check setting:

$ ls -ls

should show "drwxrwxr-x" and "nobody nogroup" against the "Ftp" item.

(drwxr-xr-x corrected as drwxrwxr-x, 26 Apr 2022)

Create a ftp user for specific job

Create a new user with authority to download and upload the job ftp directory:

$ sudo adduser <ftp user name>

Change the new user's root directory from /home/<ftp user name> to the job ftp directory:

​$ sudo usermod -d /<full directory path from root>/Ftp/<job name> <ftp user name>
  • ​<ftp user name> and <job name> can be the same or different
  • <job name> will become ftp users' root directory, they will be restricted to see only files at or below the root directory, they will not see the name of <job name> or the directory structure outside the root directory 
  • ​Instead of <job name>, a further sub-directory such as <job name>/<sub job name> may be defined as the root​ directory
  • ​The directory /<full directory path from root>/Ftp/<job name> will still exist but not be used for ftp

Set up a ftp directory for specific job for downloading

Create a job ftp directory under the Ftp directory:

  • using Windows Explorer:
​\\<server name>\<full folder path from server>\Ftp\<job name>
  • or at the server terminal:
$ cd /<full directory path from root>​/Ftp
$ sudo mkdir <job name>
$ sudo chown nobody:nogroup <job name>
$ ls -ls

should show "drwxr-xr-x" or "drwxrwxr-x" and "nobody nogroup" against the <job name> item.

Further sub-directories may be created similarly for downloading purposes.

Set up a ftp directory for specific job for uploading

Create an "upload" sub-directory under the job ftp directory:

  • using Windows Explorer:
​\\<server name>\<full folder path from server>\Ftp\<job name>\upload
  • or at the server terminal:
$ cd /<full directory path from root>​/Ftp/<job name>
$ sudo mkdir upload
$ sudo chown nobody:nogroup upload

Change its permissions on the server to enable "write" for all:

$ cd /<full directory path from root>/Ftp/<job name>
$ sudo chmod a+w upload

Check settings:

$ ls -ls

should show "drwxrwxrwx" and "nobody nogroup" against the "upload" item.

Upload or download

​Internally, use Windows file explorer to copy or move files between the Windows networked computers to the ftp directories:

  • ​​copy files to ​\\< server name>\<full folder path from server >\Ftp\<job name> for downloading
  • copy files from \\<server name>\<full folder path from server >\Ftp\<job name>\upload after uploading by others

Externally, inform external users the ftp user login name i.e. <ftp user name> and password for downloading or uploading.

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