Setup FTP Server On CentOS, RHEL, Scientific Linux 6.5/6.4/6.3

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vsftpd (Very Secure File Transport Protocol Daemon) is a secure, fast FTP server for Unix/Linux systems. In this how-to article, let us see how to setup a basic FTP server using vsftpd on CentOS 6.5. This procedure will also work on all RHEL CentOS, Scientific Linux 6.x versions.

ftp-logo-itMy testbox server hostname and IP Address are server.unixmen.local and 192.168.1.101/24 respectively. Change the values as per your scenario.

Install vsftpd

All commands should be run with ‘root’ user. Run the following command in terminal to install vsftpd package:

# yum install vsftpd ftp -y

Configure vsftpd

Edit vsftpd configuration file /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf,

# vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

Find the following lines and make the changes as shown below:

 [...]
## Set to "NO" ##
anonymous_enable=NO

## Uncomment ##
ascii_upload_enable=YES
ascii_download_enable=YES

## Uncomment - Enter your Welcome message - This is optional ##
ftpd_banner=Welcome to UNIXMEN FTP service.

## Add at the end of this  file ##
use_localtime=YES

Start the vsftpd service and make it to start automatically on every reboot:

# service vsftpd start
# chkconfig vsftpd on

Create FTP users

By default, root user is not allowed to login to ftp server for security purpose. So let us create a testing user called “sk” with password “centos”:

# useradd sk
# passwd sk

Connecting to FTP server

Now let us try to connect to FTP server itself with user “sk”:

# ftp 192.168.1.101
Connected to 192.168.1.101 (192.168.1.101).
220 Welcome to UNIXMEN FTP service.
Name (192.168.1.101:root): sk
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
500 OOPS: cannot change directory:/home/sk
Login failed.
ftp> 

Probably you will get an error like “500 OOPS: cannot change directory”.

This is because your SELinux restricts the user to log in to ftp server. So let us update the SELinux boolean values for FTP service:

# setsebool -P ftp_home_dir on

Now try again to login to FTP server:

# ftp 192.168.1.101
Connected to 192.168.1.101 (192.168.1.101).
220 Welcome to UNIXMEN FTP service.
Name (192.168.1.101:root): sk
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> 

Now you will be able to login to FTP server without any problems.

Client side configuration

Let me try to log in to the FTP server from my Ubuntu client system.

$ ftp 192.168.1.101
ftp: connect: No route to host
ftp>

You might see the above error like “ftp:connect:No route to host”. To resolve this error, allow the default ftp port “21″ through your firewall or router. In the server side, do the following.

Edit file /etc/sysconfig/iptables,

# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Add the following lines.

[...]
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 21 -j ACCEPT
[...]

Save and exit the file. Restart iptables now:

# service iptables restart

Now try again from the client system to login to FTP server:

$ ftp 192.168.1.101
Connected to 192.168.1.101.
220 Welcome to UNIXMEN FTP service.
Name (192.168.1.101:sk): sk
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> 

Boom!! It’s working now.

Working from command-line mode might be little bit annoying to newbies. So let us install a graphical FTP client called Filezilla to get things done quite easier:

$ sudo apt-get install filezilla

For RHEL based systems, you can install filezilla using following command:

# yum install filezilla

Open Filezilla client from your client system “Dash” or “Menu”. Enter the FTP server hostname or IP Address, username, password and port number. Click “Quickconnect” to login.

 sk@192.168.1.101 - FileZilla_002Probably you will get the following error.

Error:    Connection timed out
Error:    Failed to retrieve directory listing

To get rid of this error, do the following resolutions. In most cases Resolution 2 should work.

Resolution 1:

1. In your Filezilla client go to Edit -> Settings -> FTP ->Active Mode.

In the Active Mode tab, make sure the option “Ask your operating system for the external ip address” is selected.

Settings_003Then goto Edit -> Settings -> FTP ->Passive Mode. Select “Fall back to active mode” and click Ok.

Settings_004Now the error will be gone in some cases (May be in Windows OS clients).

Resolution 2:

If the problem still persists, goto your FTP server, edit file “/etc/sysconfig/iptables-config”.

# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables-config 

Find the line IPTABLES_MODULES=” “ and change this to IPTABLES_MODULES=”ip_conntrack_ftp”:

# Load additional iptables modules (nat helpers)
#   Default: -none-
# Space separated list of nat helpers (e.g. 'ip_nat_ftp ip_nat_irc'), which
# are loaded after the firewall rules are applied. Options for the helpers are
# stored in /etc/modprobe.conf.
IPTABLES_MODULES="ip_conntrack_ftp"
[...]

Save and restart iptables:

# service iptables save
# service iptables restart

Now try again from Filezilla. Yes! It should now.

sk@192.168.1.101 - FileZilla_005Access FTP server from Browser

You can access the FTP server from your client browser also. Navigate to ftp://FTP-Server-IP-Address/. Enter the ftp username and password.

Ubuntu Start Page - Mozilla Firefox_006Now you can see the contents in your FTP server.

Index of ftp:--192.168.1.101- - Mozilla Firefox_007Log in as a particular user

If you want to login using a particular user, then navigate to ftp://username@FTP-Server-IP-Address/. It will ask the password of user, enter the password and you’re done.

For example, let us create another user called “kumar” with password “centos”:

# useradd kumar
# passwd kumar

Now open your browser and navigate to ftp://kumar@192.168.1.200. Enter the password of the user kumar.

New Tab - Mozilla Firefox_009Now you will able to connect to FTP server with user kumar.

Index of ftp:--kumar@192.168.1.101- - Mozilla Firefox_010That’s it. You’re good to go now. Start using FTP!

Good Luck!

For questions please refer to our Q/A forum at : http://ask.unixmen.com/

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