How to Setup FTP Server on Centos/Redhat – Part 1

How to Setup FTP Server

FTP is built on a client-server model architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and the server. FTP users may authenticate themselves with a clear-text sign-in protocol, normally in the form of a username and password, but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it. For secure transmission that protects the username and password, and encrypts the content, FTP is often secured with SSL/TLS (FTPS). SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is sometimes also used instead, but is technologically different.

Step 1: PreWork

 Before proceed, stop the firewall.

[root@foxutech ~]# service iptables stop
iptables: Flushing firewall rules:                         [  OK  ]
iptables: Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter          [  OK  ]
iptables: Unloading modules:                               [  OK  ]
[root@foxutech ~]# service ip6tables stop
ip6tables: Flushing firewall rules:                        [  OK  ]
ip6tables: Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter         [  OK  ]
ip6tables: Unloading modules:                              [  OK  ]
[root@foxutech ~]# chkconfig iptables off
[root@foxutech ~]# chkconfig ip6tables off
Step 2: Install FTP

Now let us install FTP service.

[root@foxutech ~]# yum install -y vsftpd
[root@foxutech ~]# Start vsftpd service.
[root@foxutech ~]# service vsftpd start
Starting vsftpd for vsftpd:                                [  OK  ]
[root@foxutech ~]#

Step 3: FTP Configuration

Enable vsftpd in multi-user levels, using chkconfig

[root@foxutech ~]# 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@foxutech ~]# 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).
# 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 FOXUTECH 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 with two configuration files.
# Make sure, that one of the listen options is commented !!

Now let us restart the vsftpd service and try to connect to ftp server.

[root@foxutech ~]# 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 foxutech.

[root@foxutech ~]# useradd foxutech
[root@foxutech ~]# passwd foxutech
Changing password for user foxutech.
New password:
BAD PASSWORD: it is based on a dictionary word
Retype new password:
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.

Step 4: Connect to FTP Server From Client

Connect to FTP server using the new user foxutech.

[root@foxutech ~]# ftp
-bash: ftp: command not found
Oops! ftp package is not installed. So let us install ftp package first.

[root@foxutech ~]# 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
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
ftp.i686 0:0.17-51.1.el6
[root@foxutech ~]#

Now try to connect server :

[root@foxutech ~]# ftp
Connected to (
220 Welcome to FOXUTECH FTP service.
Name ( foxutech
331 Please specify the password.
500 OOPS: cannot change directory:/home/foxutech
Login failed.

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@foxutech ~]# setsebool -P ftp_home_dir on

And finally connect to the FTP server.

[root@foxutech ~]# ftp
Connected to (
220 Welcome to FOXUTECH FTP service.
Name ( foxutech
331 Please specify the password.
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> pwd
257 “/home/foxutech”

Yahoooo!!, connected to server,