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Setting up FTP for your website

Setting up FTP for your website Ubuntu


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. Its most common use is uploading your website files to your webserver, allowing you to develop your website, upload it via FTP then refresh the page to see the updated page. If you’re setting up your own webservers its essential you have some way of uploading files and the best way to do this is with FTP. First you need to setup and configure an ftp server on your webserver, in this tutorial we are going to be using ProFTP. ProFTPD is a proven, high-performance and scalable FTP server, with a focus toward simplicity, security, and ease of configuration.

I’ve gone through many FTP server tutorials in the past and they all work fine for uploading to your home directory but in this situation we don’t want to just upload to our home directory, we want to upload to our website directory, in this case /var/www. First off we need to setup a new user for our ftp login details:

sudo useradd [username]

sudo passwd [username]

Now we need to add the www-data group so it can write to you webserver storage, be warned this will set the users primary group to www-data so ensure you have created a new user especially for use as an ftp account.

sudo usermod -g www-data [username]

Now in most situations your website is stored in /var/www, this often restricts writing from the www-data group so we need to change the permissions to allow any user in the www-data group to write to the /var/www folder:

sudo chmod -R g+w /var/www

Now we are ready to actually install the server, simply type:

sudo apt-get install proftpd

and select the Stand Alone option when asked. Now we need to make some small configuration changes to

ProFTP, first open then proftpd.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf

and edit the following lines to match my example,

# Use this to jail all users in their homes

DefaultRoot                     /var/wwwr

# Set the user and group that the server normally runs at.

User                           www-data

Group                         www-data

Now we need to restart ProFTP so that it recognises the new settings:

sudo /etc/init.d/proftpd restart

and thats it your ftp server should be setup to allow you to upload, edit and download your website, to test this simply type in:


and enter your login details, now try making a folder with the following command

mkdir test

if you can do this with no errors that your ftp server has been correctly configured.