Network Administration: FTP Configuration

You configure vsftpd though a configuration file named vsftpd.conf, located in /etc. The default vsftpd.conf file is shown in the following. You can learn a lot about how vsftpd works simply by reading through this configuration file.

The vsftpd.conf File

# Example config file /etc/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=YES
#
# 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
#
# Activate logging of uploads/downloads.
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
#
# You may override where the log file goes if you like. The default is shown
# below.
#xferlog_file=/var/log/vsftpd.log
#
# If you want, you can have your log file in standard ftpd xferlog format.
#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 blah 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_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

You can edit this file via the text editor. (Choose Applications→Accessories→Text Editor.) After you save your changes, you’ll need to restart the vsftpd service for the changes to take effect, as described in the previous section.

The following paragraphs describe some of the more common modifications to the vsftpd.conf file:

  • Anonymous access: By default, anonymous access is allowed. To prevent users from accessing the FTP site anonymously, change the anonymous_enable line to:

    anonymous_enable=NO

    If you disable anonymous access, your users will have to have a Linux account on the server to access the FTP site. By default, each user will be directed to his or her home directory.

  • Allowing local users: By default, local users are allowed to access the FTP site. To prevent local users from accessing the FTP site, change the local_enable line to:

    local_enable=NO

    Note that you may want to disable anonymous users or local users, but you shouldn’t disable both!

  • Creating a read-only FTP site: If you want to make your FTP site read-only, so that users can download files but not upload, change the write_enable line to:

    write_enable=NO
  • Customizing the welcome banner: You can customize the welcome banner by uncommenting the ftpd_banner line and adding your banner. For example:

Ftpd_banner=Welcome to my FTP site!