Debian Tutorials

Debian Tutorials


Step by step tutorials showing you how to install and configure various applications and services on Debian based Linux distros.

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Installing vsftpd using text file for virtual users

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Notice

This tutorial is for older Debian versions and may not work for current versions. Please refer to the links below to find a newer tutorial.

vsftpd is a secure, fast and stable FTP server. In this tutorial we’ll install the server and make it check in a flat text file for virtual users allowed to login.

1. Install required packages

apt-get install vsftpd libpam-pwdfile

2. Configure vsftpd (pico /etc/vsftpd.conf)

Edit these variables in the config file and leave everything else with the default value.

anonymous_enable=NO
local_enable=YES
write_enable=YES
local_umask=022
nopriv_user=vsftpd
virtual_use_local_privs=YES
guest_enable=YES
user_sub_token=$USER
local_root=/var/www/$USER
chroot_local_user=YES
hide_ids=YES
guest_username=vsftpd

Set the local_root to the parent directory where the user’s home directories are located

3. Configure PAM to check the passwd file for users (pico /etc/pam.d/vsftpd)

auth required pam_pwdfile.so pwdfile /etc/ftpd.passwd
account required pam_permit.so

Make sure you remove everything else from the file

4. Create the passwd file containing the users

htpasswd -c /etc/ftpd.passwd user1

You can later add additional users to the file like this:

htpasswd /etc/ftpd.passwd user2

5. Create a local user that’s used by the virtual users to authenticate

useradd --home /home/vsftpd --gid nogroup -m --shell /bin/false vsftpd

6. Restart vsftpd

/etc/init.d/vsftpd restart

7. Create user’s home directory since vsftpd doesn’t do it automatically

mkdir /var/www/user1
chown vsftpd:nogroup /var/www/user1

Comments 12
  • Jacob Fich
    Posted on

    Jacob Fich Jacob Fich

    Author

    Hi.

    NICE howto!

    How do I create a symbolic link to an other virtual users files?


  • John
    Posted on

    John John

    Author

    Thanks – this description worked for me when others failed (e.g.:
    http://howto.gumph.org/content/setup-virtual-users-and-directories-in-vsftpd/
    )


  • Phil
    Posted on

    Phil Phil

    Author

    Amazing tutorial! Very simple, clear, and best of all, ACCURATE.

    I have been trying different tutorials for hours now, and all of them were missing critical steps, such as setting up a local user, or setting permissions for the var/www/user1 folder.

    I didn’t think it would be so hard to remember all the steps and put them in a tutorial…. But apparently it is very difficult!

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you! You are one in a million!


  • jim
    Posted on

    jim jim

    Author

    One minor change that finally got it working for me. Add /bin/false to /etc/shells to make it a valid login shell for your virtual user.


  • Mahidul
    Posted on

    Mahidul Mahidul

    Author

    Thanks a lot… Great work … Worked like a charm ….


  • Claes
    Posted on

    Claes Claes

    Author

    If you use Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS you need to use the -d in htpasswd since newer versions seems to use MD5 instead of Crypt that was default before.

    Example to create a new ftpd.passwd file:
    htpasswd -cd /etc/ftpd.passwd user1

    Example of adding a new user to an existing ftpd.passwd file:
    htpasswd -d /etc/ftpd.passwd user2


  • malte
    Posted on

    malte malte

    Author

    i cant login no matter what i try.
    already added users without password.

    always get :FAIL LOGIN in the log


  • Emilnd
    Posted on

    Emilnd Emilnd

    Author

    Malte, make sure you really have removed all the content of /etc/pam.d/vsftpd before you add the two lines (auth and account) to it! I had an really hard time getting the login to work but that solved it for me 🙂


  • shane
    Posted on

    shane shane

    Author

    The newest vsftpd from Ubuntu has a “security” update that fundamentally breaks most use cases for ftp.

    It disallows writeable access to the chroot_dir
    look here
    http://www.benscobie.com/fixing-500-oops-vsftpd-refusing-to-run-with-writable-root-inside-chroot/
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/128180/vsftpd-stopped-working-after-update


  • Taco Bob
    Posted on

    Taco Bob Taco Bob

    Author

    Claes: that comment about htpasswd defaulting to md5? thank you so much. you just helped me solve a totally unrelated issue! woohoo!

    More interesting information from the pam_pwdfile developer here: http://cpbotha.net/software/pam_pwdfile/


  • dan
    Posted on

    dan dan

    Author

    First, thanks for the ‘how-to’ – Excellent and clear to follow. I couldn’t get the “security” update to work by changing vsftpd.conf. But I was able to get it to work by adding a sub-folder to the root folder in step 7 with these changes. Make user1 unwriteable, make uploads writable. Minor nuisance, but it works.

    mkdir /var/www/user1
    mkdir /var/www/user1/uploads
    chown -R vsftpd:nogroup /var/www/user1
    chmod a-w /var/www/user1


  • Pete
    Posted on

    Pete Pete

    Author

    Ditto and ditto! Super clear instructions. Newbie in both linux and raaspberry, but managed is setting up raspian server from a Slitaz machine via ssh only.
    Saw the same problems mentioned in comments, and solved them the same way.
    Thnks to writer and commenteers for a great tutorial!!
    /Pete