Installing and configuring ftp on Linux server

September 19, 2011 Linux  One comment

Ftp feature is  useful especially when  the linux server is in remote location  and we want to transfer files to server .

Configuring ftp on linux is pretty straight forward  and may be the procedure is almost similar  in all  linux distros (   I should have put the post title as ‘configuring ftp on redhat linux’ for this post  as I am writing about the steps which I followed to install ftp on my redhat server).

1.installed  vsftp ( very secure ftp ) package with  the yum…yum… yummy  command    yum

2. Edited     /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf    file

3.created a  ftp user  and changed  the user home directory


vsftpd installation:

when i typed the command yum install vsftpd i got the error message ‘failed to retrieve repodata/filelists.xml.gz from rhel-x86_64-server-5’

#yum install vsftpd

[Error: failed to retrieve repodata/filelists.xml.gz from rhel-x86_64-server-5
error was [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found]
The program package-cleanup is found in the yum-utils package

You could try using –skip-broken to work around the problem
 You could try running: package-cleanup –problems
                        package-cleanup –dupes
                        rpm -Va –nofiles –nodigest


Finally i got vsftpd installed with the commands..

#sudo yum clean all

#sudo rhn-profile-sync    then   

#yum install vsftpd


Added ftp user: 

#useradd demoftp   (create a user with the name demoftp)

#passwd demoftp     (change password for user demoftp)

added the same user name in the file /etc/vsftpd/user_list

# vi /etc/vsftpd/user_list   ( press i to insert and use arrow keys to move the cursor .After typing in the username , press escape and   type   :wq and press enter to save and exit from vim editor)

Modified the vsftpd.conf file  :

#vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf



and   changed userlist_enable=YES to userlist_enable=NO

my vsftpd.conf looked like this after editing


# Example config file /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf
# The default compiled in settings are fairly paranoid. This sample file
# loosens things up a bit, to make the ftp daemon more usable.
# Please see vsftpd.conf.5 for all compiled in defaults.
# READ THIS: This example file is NOT an exhaustive list of vsftpd options.
# Please read the vsftpd.conf.5 manual page to get a full idea of vsftpd’s
# capabilities.
# Allow anonymous FTP? (Beware – allowed by default if you comment this out).
# Uncomment this to allow local users to log in.
# Uncomment this to enable any form of FTP write command.
# Default umask for local users is 077. You may wish to change this to 022,
# if your users expect that (022 is used by most other ftpd’s)
# Uncomment this to allow the anonymous FTP user to upload files. This only
# has an effect if the above global write enable is activated. Also, you will
# obviously need to create a directory writable by the FTP user.
# Uncomment this if you want the anonymous FTP user to be able to create
# new directories.
# Activate directory messages – messages given to remote users when they
# go into a certain directory.
# The target log file can be vsftpd_log_file or xferlog_file.
# This depends on setting xferlog_std_format parameter
# Make sure PORT transfer connections originate from port 20 (ftp-data).
# If you want, you can arrange for uploaded anonymous files to be owned by
# a different user. Note! Using “root” for uploaded files is not
# recommended!
# The name of log file when xferlog_enable=YES and xferlog_std_format=YES
# WARNING – changing this filename affects /etc/logrotate.d/vsftpd.log
# Switches between logging into vsftpd_log_file and xferlog_file files.
# NO writes to vsftpd_log_file, YES to xferlog_file
# You may change the default value for timing out an idle session.
# You may change the default value for timing out a data connection.
# It is recommended that you define on your system a unique user which the
# ftp server can use as a totally isolated and unprivileged user.
# Enable this and the server will recognise asynchronous ABOR requests. Not
# recommended for security (the code is non-trivial). Not enabling it,
# however, may confuse older FTP clients.
# By default the server will pretend to allow ASCII mode but in fact ignore
# the request. Turn on the below options to have the server actually do ASCII
# mangling on files when in ASCII mode.
# Beware that on some FTP servers, ASCII support allows a denial of service
# attack (DoS) via the command “SIZE /big/file” in ASCII mode. vsftpd
# predicted this attack and has always been safe, reporting the size of the
# raw file.
# ASCII mangling is a horrible feature of the protocol.
# You may fully customise the login banner string:
#ftpd_banner=Welcome to blah FTP service.
# You may specify a file of disallowed anonymous e-mail addresses. Apparently
# useful for combatting certain DoS attacks.
# (default follows)
# You may specify an explicit list of local users to chroot() to their home
# directory. If chroot_local_user is YES, then this list becomes a list of
# users to NOT chroot().
# (default follows)
# You may activate the “-R” option to the builtin ls. This is disabled by
# default to avoid remote users being able to cause excessive I/O on large
# sites. However, some broken FTP clients such as “ncftp” and “mirror” assume
# the presence of the “-R” option, so there is a strong case for enabling it.
# When “listen” directive is enabled, vsftpd runs in standalone mode and
# listens on IPv4 sockets. This directive cannot be used in conjunction
# with the listen_ipv6 directive.
# This directive enables listening on IPv6 sockets. To listen on IPv4 and IPv6
# sockets, you must run two copies of vsftpd whith two configuration files.
# Make sure, that one of the listen options is commented !!


And finally ,Started the service  with the command service vsftpd start .

#service vsftpd start


And  i tried to login to ftp ,but got the error message   “500 OOPS: cannot change directory” .

I forgot to add selinux exception  ( selinux is a enhanced security policy feauture comes with newer version of kernels).

I did run the command ‘  /usr/sbin/setsebool  -P ftp_home_dir=1 ‘  from root and it fixed the problem.

I could have used  setsebool -P allow_ftpd_full_access 1  to allow  full access to ftp thorugh selinux.




Next, I binded a directory for demoftp user  which is out side of that user’s home directory.


# mount –bind//opt/apache2/htdocs/test/  /home/demoftp/    ( /opt/apache2/htdocs/test/ is the directory i want to access when i login  from ftp with  demoftp account).















One comment to Installing and configuring ftp on Linux server

  • neelima says:

    [Error 14]HTTP404: issue is resolved in my case while installing FTP server thanks.
    Commands which were helpful here are
    #sudo yum clean all

    #sudo rhn-profile-sync then

    #yum install vsftpd

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