CentOS FTP

Configure FTP Server on CentOS 8

vsftpd is an open source FTP server. It is very secure and stable. vsftpd is also very easy to configure. vsftpd is available in the official package repository of CentOS 8. So, it’s also easy to get it installed on CentOS 8. In this article, I am going to show you how to install vsftpd FTP server and how to configure it on CentOS 8. So, let’s get started.

Installing vsftpd:

First, update the CentOS 8 package repository cache with the following command:

$ sudo dnf makecache

Now, install vsftpd with the following command:

$ sudo dnf install vsftpd

Now, press Y and then press <Enter> to confirm the installation.

vsftpd should be installed.

Managing vsftpd Service:

Once vsftpd is installed, check the status of the vsftpd service with the following command:

$ sudo systemctl status vsftpd

As you can see, vsftpd service is inactive (not running) and disabled (won’t automatically start on system boot).

You can start the vsftpd service with the following command:

$ sudo systemctl start vsftpd

Also, add vsftpd service to the system startup of CentOS 8 with the following command:

$ sudo systemctl enable vsftpd

Now, check the status of the vsftpd service again.

$ sudo systemctl status vsftpd

As you can see, the vsftpd service is active (vsftpd is running) and enabled (will automatically start on system boot).

If you change any vsftpd configuration file, then you will have to restart the vsftpd service. You can do that with the following command:

$ sudo systemctl restart vsftpd

If you want to stop the vsftpd service for some reason, run the following command:

$ sudo systemctl stop vsftpd

Allow Firewall Access to the FTP Server:

To allow firewall access to the FTP ports 20 and 21, run the following command:

$ sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=ftp --zone=public --permanent

Now, for the firewall changes to take effect, run the following command:

$ sudo firewall-cmd --reload

Now, you should be able to access the FTP server installed on CentOS 8 from another computer on the network.

Accessing the FTP Server:

In order to access the FTP server installed on your CentOS 8 machine, you will need the IP address of your CentOS 8 machine.

You can find the IP address of your CentOS 8 machine, run the following command:

$ nmcli

In my case, the IP address is 192.168.20.129. It will be different for you. So, make sure to replace it with yours from now on.

Now, you can access the FTP server from any FTP client. You can use one of the command line FTP clients, ftp and lftp. Or you can use a graphical FTP client, FileZilla. I will use lftp FTP client in this article.

You can install lftp FTP client on CentOS/RHEL with the following command:

$ sudo dnf install lftp -y

On Ubuntu/Debian, you can install lftp FTP client with the following command:

$ sudo apt install lftp -y

Once lftp is installed, you can connect to your FTP server with the following command:

$ lftp -u <Username> <FTP Server Address>

Note: By default, vsftpd is configured in a way that lets you access the HOME directories of your CentOS 8 users, i.e your login user. The <Username> is your login username and the password is the password of that login user.

In my case, the lftp command is:

$ lftp -u shovon 192.168.20.129

Now, type in the password of the user that you’re trying to login as and press <Enter>.

You should be logged in.

Now, you should be able to list the files/directories, upload and download files etc.

Once you’re done testing, exit out of the lftp program as follows:

> quit

Adding a New FTP Users:

In the default configuration, adding a new FTP user is the same as creating a new CentOS 8 user.

You can create a new CentOS 8 user bob with the following command:

$ sudo useradd --create-home bob

Also, set a password for the user bob as follows:

$ sudo passwd bob

Now, type in a new password and press <Enter>.

Re-type the password and press <Enter>.

The password should be set.

Now, you should be able to login as the user bob.

$ lftp -u bob 192.168.20.129

Deny FTP Access to Users:

By default, usernames added to the file /etc/vsftpd/user_list are denied access to the FTP server.

So, if you want to deny access to some user, put their username in the /etc/vsftpd/user_list file. Remember to put one username per line.

First, open the /etc/vsftpd/user_list file with vi as follows:

$ sudo vi /etc/vsftpd/user_list

Then, add your desired username at the end of this file and save the file.

Once you’re done, restart the vsftpd service as follows:

$ sudo systemctl restart vsftpd

Configuring vsftpd FTP Server:

The default configuration file of vsftpd is /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf.

You can open the vsftpd.conf file for editing with vi text editor as follows:

$ sudo vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

This is how the vsftpd.conf file looks like.

The format of each configuration option is,

option-name=value

You can find what options vsftpd.conf file supports from the man page of vsftpd.conf.

To open the vsftpd.conf man page, run the following command:

$ man vsftpd.conf

Now, scroll down a little bit and you should find all the vsftpd.conf supported option name, what they do, what values are allowed for the option and the default value for the option.

Once you’ve changed the vsftpd.conf file, make sure to restart the vsftpd service for the changes to take effect.

$ sudo systemctl restart vsftp

So, that’s how you install and configure vsftpd FTP server on CentOS 8. Thanks for reading this article.

About the author

Shahriar Shovon

Shahriar Shovon

Freelancer & Linux System Administrator. Also loves Web API development with Node.js and JavaScript. I was born in Bangladesh. I am currently studying Electronics and Communication Engineering at Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), one of the demanding public engineering universities of Bangladesh.