Setup FTP Server step by step in CentOS 6.5

This tutorial shows you how to install and configure FTP server in CentOS 6.5. Though the steps provided here are tested in CentOS 6.5, it should work on RHEL 6.x(x stands for version) and Scientific Linux 6.x too. In this tutorial my ftp server ip and hostname are 192.168.1.200 and mainserver.ostechnix.com respectively. I have already configured a local repository and I am going to install FTP from my local repository. For more information navigate to setup your local repoistory in CentOS 6 / RHEL 6 / Scientific Linux.
Before proceed, stop the firewall.
[root@mainserver ~]# service iptables stop
iptables: Flushing firewall rules:                         [  OK  ]
iptables: Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter          [  OK  ]
iptables: Unloading modules:                               [  OK  ]
[root@mainserver ~]# service ip6tables stop
ip6tables: Flushing firewall rules:                        [  OK  ]
ip6tables: Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter         [  OK  ]
ip6tables: Unloading modules:                              [  OK  ]
[root@mainserver ~]# chkconfig iptables off
[root@mainserver ~]# chkconfig ip6tables off
[root@mainserver ~]#
Now let us install FTP service.
[root@mainserver ~]# yum install -y vsftpd
[root@mainserver ~]# Start vsftpd service.
[root@mainserver ~]# service vsftpd start
Starting vsftpd for vsftpd:                                [  OK  ]
[root@mainserver ~]#
Enable vsftpd in multi-user levels.
[root@mainserver ~]# chkconfig vsftpd on
Now edit the /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf file. Uncomment and edit the lines in the vsftpd.conf file which are shown in bold.
[root@mainserver ~]# cat /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf 
# 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).
anonymous_enable=NO
#
# Uncomment this to allow local users to log in.
local_enable=YES
#
# Uncomment this to enable any form of FTP write command.
write_enable=YES
#
# 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)
local_umask=022
#
# 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.
#anon_upload_enable=YES
#
# Uncomment this if you want the anonymous FTP user to be able to create
# new directories.
#anon_mkdir_write_enable=YES
#
# Activate directory messages - messages given to remote users when they
# go into a certain directory.
dirmessage_enable=YES
#
# The target log file can be vsftpd_log_file or xferlog_file.
# This depends on setting xferlog_std_format parameter
xferlog_enable=YES
#
# Make sure PORT transfer connections originate from port 20 (ftp-data).
connect_from_port_20=YES
#
# 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!
#chown_uploads=YES
#chown_username=whoever
#
# The name of log file when xferlog_enable=YES and xferlog_std_format=YES
# WARNING - changing this filename affects /etc/logrotate.d/vsftpd.log
#xferlog_file=/var/log/xferlog
#
# Switches between logging into vsftpd_log_file and xferlog_file files.
# NO writes to vsftpd_log_file, YES to xferlog_file
xferlog_std_format=YES
#
# You may change the default value for timing out an idle session.
#idle_session_timeout=600
#
# You may change the default value for timing out a data connection.
#data_connection_timeout=120
#
# 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.
#nopriv_user=ftpsecure
#
# 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.
#async_abor_enable=YES
#
# 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.
ascii_upload_enable=YES
ascii_download_enable=YES
#
# You may fully customise the login banner string:
ftpd_banner=Welcome to OSTECHNIX FTP service.
#
# You may specify a file of disallowed anonymous e-mail addresses. Apparently
# useful for combatting certain DoS attacks.
#deny_email_enable=YES
# (default follows)
#banned_email_file=/etc/vsftpd/banned_emails
#
# 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().
#chroot_local_user=YES
#chroot_list_enable=YES
# (default follows)
#chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd/chroot_list
#
# 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.
ls_recurse_enable=YES
#
# 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.
listen=YES
#
# This directive enables listening on IPv6 sockets. To listen on IPv4 and IPv6
# sockets, you must run two copies of vsftpd with two configuration files.
# Make sure, that one of the listen options is commented !!
#listen_ipv6=YES
pam_service_name=vsftpd
userlist_enable=YES
tcp_wrappers=YES
use_localtime=YES
Now let us restart the vsftpd service and try to connect to ftp server.
[root@mainserver ~]# service vsftpd restart
Shutting down vsftpd:                                      [  OK  ]
Starting vsftpd for vsftpd:                                [  OK  ]
Connect to the ftp server.
Note: Root is not allowed to connect to ftp server by default for security purpose. So lets us create a new user called ostechnix.
[root@mainserver ~]# useradd ostechnix
[root@mainserver ~]# passwd ostechnix
Changing password for user ostechnix.
New password: 
BAD PASSWORD: it is based on a dictionary word
Retype new password: 
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
Connet to FTP server using the new user ostechnix.
[root@mainserver ~]# ftp 192.168.1.200
-bash: ftp: command not found
[root@mainserver ~]#
Oops! ftp package is not installed. So let us install ftp package first.
[root@mainserver ~]# yum install -y ftp
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package ftp.i686 0:0.17-51.1.el6 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
================================================================================
 Package       Arch           Version                 Repository           Size
================================================================================
Installing:
 ftp           i686           0.17-51.1.el6           localrepo            55 k
Transaction Summary
================================================================================
Install       1 Package(s)
Total download size: 55 k
Installed size: 91 k
Downloading Packages:
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
Warning: RPMDB altered outside of yum.
  Installing : ftp-0.17-51.1.el6.i686                                       1/1 
  Verifying  : ftp-0.17-51.1.el6.i686                                       1/1 
Installed:
  ftp.i686 0:0.17-51.1.el6                                                      
Complete!
[root@mainserver ~]#

Again connect to the FTP server.

[root@mainserver ~]# ftp 192.168.1.200
Connected to 192.168.1.200 (192.168.1.200).
220 Welcome to OSTECHNIX FTP service.
Name (192.168.1.200:root): ostechnix
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
500 OOPS: cannot change directory:/home/ostechnix
Login failed.
ftp>
It shows a error that the user cannot change to his $HOME directory. Type exit to return back from the ftp console and allow vsftpd daemon to change users into their $HOME directories. To do that update SELinux configuration using the command below.
[root@mainserver ~]# setsebool -P ftp_home_dir on
And finally connect to the FTP server.
[root@mainserver ~]# ftp 192.168.1.200
Connected to 192.168.1.200 (192.168.1.200).
220 Welcome to OSTECHNIX FTP service.
Name (192.168.1.200:root): ostechnix
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> pwd
257 "/home/ostechnix"
ftp>
Its working now. You can use your FTP server.

Connect to FTP server using Filezilla from Client:

Download and install Filezilla client software to any one of the client systems. Open the Filezilla client and enter the username and password which we have created earlier and click connect.
FileZilla_001

Connect to FTP server via browser from the client:

Open the browser and navigate to ftp://192.1168.1.200. Enter the username and password which we cretaed earlier.
If you want to browse ftp server using domain name(i.e ftp://ostechnix.com) instead of ip address, add the ftp server ip in the DNS server records. For more information to configure DNS server navigate to Setup DNS server in CentOS 6.3/RHEL 6.3/Scientific Linux 6.3.
Thats it. You can access your FTP server from any client now using Filezilla and as well as from your client web browser.
Have a good day!!!

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  • thanks, very brief tutorial. Really helpful

    • SK

      Thanks for the feedback Auliasabri.

  • Great tutorial, but you forgot to tell us to turn the firewall back on at the end 🙂 (Or add the FTP ports to it)

    • Can anyone just show how to add the FTP ports to the firewall and turn it on.?

      • SK

        Edit iptables file,

        # vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables

        Add the following line:

        -A INPUT -m state –state NEW -m tcp -p tcp –dport 21 -j ACCEPT

        Restart iptables.

        # service iptables restart

        Done..

  • Moulay

    Thanks you.
    i would like to know to to specify the public Upload and Download folder for authonticated users.

  • Gaurav

    Thank you… very helpful tutorial… Can i also change the port instead of default 21 or 22???

    • SK

      Hi Gaurav!

      $ vi vsftpd.conf

      Find the following lines

      listen_port=21

      Change the port number whatever you want and restart the vsftpd service.

      Hope it helps.

  • Ziko

    Thank You very much! Its work. But I’ve one question: When I edit file.txt then automatiacally created file.txt~ and this file shown only from web browser. This is problem or not? If problem how can I fix it?

    • SK

      Hi Ziko I think it isn’t issue anymore. Anyhow i didn’t faced like this problem before. If i find a solution, i will let you know.

      • Ziko

        Thanks!

  • Wook

    How can I have the banner displayed also for users coming in using a browser ? My Security Polilcy requires it, but seems that banner is only displayed when accessing FTP via CLI . Using banner only username/password is required, but then no banner is shown.. : /

  • Wook

    Sorry I meant: “Using browser only username/password is required, but then no banner is shown.. : /”

  • Pingback: SELinux blocks VSFTPD uploads CentOS 6.4()

  • Nigam Raval

    thanks very brief tutorial

    • SK

      Thanks Nigam.

  • Rick Ovens

    Excellent! Clear, concise and accurate. Thank you

  • pawan

    How to restrict some IP’s not use my ftp servers.

  • DUDE, why did you leave the firewall disabled? That is a terrible idea.

  • david

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! If I could, I would kiss you. This is by far one of the BEST tutorials I’ve come across in a very long time. I have spent the last 3 hour trying to setup vsftpd and log in remotely, but nearly all the tutorials on the web are ill illustrated and very confusing. Your tut got me up and running in 4 minutes.

    One more thing, If I want to ftp over ssh, that is sftp to be more secure, how would I go about?

    Thank you once again

    • Sathis STR

      Really nice tutorial …

  • Tony

    Very good tutorial 🙂
    BTW how to change $HOME directory for particular user who do ftp? can you help me for that?

  • rahul jangam

    hey friends when I am doing ftp via browser it wont ask me for password.
    i did all these settting its its really nice brief explanation good work.

  • Gerald

    this is a great tutorial, but how do you configure the firewall to allow ftp ? so that you don’t have to leave the firewall turned off ?

  • Mohamed

    the default folder where the users are connected is /var/ftp/pub.

  • Arun

    Thanks Brother…Really Helpful…!!!

  • ajit ranjan deb

    thanks for clear concept

  • Farhaaz

    It is very simple and nice explanatio….Thank you very much!
    .

  • Harsha

    very good tutorial. Thanks a lot

  • Mohammad Rizwan

    bundle of Thanks

  • siraj

    Nice one bro..worth reading it..simple and clear..

  • kookin

    Awesome, thanks so much!!

  • Many thanks for such a nice doc.

  • Prabath

    Its a very nice tutorial and really helpful. Thank you very much.

  • Serge

    Very nice tutorial, the only problem i have is that i can connect to my ftp server with Filezilla or any other GUI ftp, command line is working fine

  • Serge

    Sorry this what i meant
    Very nice tutorial, the only problem i have is that i can’t connect to my ftp server with Filezilla or any other GUI ftp, command line is working fine.
    Filezilla
    Error: The data connection could not be established: ECONNREFUSED – Connection refused by server
    CrossFtp:
    [L] UTF-8 encoding is recommended (Sites -> Site Manager -> Options -> Server Encoding)
    [L] PWD
    [L] 257 “/home/serge”
    [L] PASV
    [L] 227 Entering Passive Mode (192,168,1,10,41,74).
    [L] Opening data connection IP: 192.168.1.10 PORT: 10570
    [L] Connection refused
    [L] Socket is closed

    Any help ???

  • Thanks for Tutorial