In this tutorial we will learn how to use vsftpd on Linux to make Ubuntu machine run as ftp server and transfer files over wifi on local network.
On many occasion you need to copy and backup files locally from one computer to other. Using physical disk like flash drive or external hard drive is not always feasible due to many constraints such large file size, external drive availability.
We can take advantage of machines being on same network to achieve file transfer.
To follow this guide you should have access to following
- Ubuntu Machine
- Windows Machine
- Both machines connected over same network using ethernet or wifi
How to install VFTP on Ubuntu
Open Terminal to get and install
vsftp demon from official ubuntu repository.
sudo apt-get install vsftpd
Above command will install
vsftp demon which means it will always be running in background upon machine startup using
Use following commands to check vsftp service
sudo service vsftpd status
If service is running then above command will output status of service with all spawned
vsftp process ids.
Alternatively you can also check vsftp process with grep
ps -ef | grep vsftp
How to configure VSFTP for Uploads
This step is optional but if you want to allow uploads from remote machine to your ubuntu server then follow below configuration.
After installation vsftp will create configuration file at path
/etc/vsftpd.conf. This file should be owned by
root and should have default vsftp configuration. By default VSFTP will not allow ftp uploads; to enable it uncomment line
# Uncomment this to enable any form of FTP write command. write_enable=YES
/etc/vsftpd.conf would be owned by
root, to make any changes in configuration do.
sudo vim /etc/vsftpd.conf or
sudo gedit /etc/vsftpd.conf
Restart vsftpd demon once configuration is completed.
sudo service vsftpd restart
Check status after restart.
sudo service vsftpd status
How to configure Ubuntu firewall for FTP
By default ubuntu shall be running firewall known as uncomplicated firewall (
ufw). Default firewall rules will not allow any outside connection.
To open ftp port on this firewall use following commands.
Check firewall status using
sudo ufw status
Firewall should be active and running. If it's not active then enable the same using following command to make your machine secure.
You can keep it disable if you have such requirement, however it's recommended to keep it on.
sudo ufw enable
To open ftp port
21 use following command
sudo ufw allow ftpor
sudo ufw allow 21
This will add firewall rule to accept ftp connections from other machine on network. After adding ftp rule you should have following entries in your firewall.
sudo ufw status
Status: active To Action From -- ------ ---- 21/tcp ALLOW Anywhere 21/tcp (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)
Configure Windows Firewall
Firewall should permit you to initiate ftp session from windows machine. Search for Windows Firewall in start menu to open firewall configuration window.
Since we are going to use one time ftp we will disable firewall and reenable it once ftp is done. Depending upon which network you are connected to Home or Public you can disable firewall like below.
Note that disabling complete firewall is not recommended. If you are going to use ftp server regularly from windows machine then please create firewall rules under Windows Firewall with Advanced Security on Port 21
Initiate FTP session using Windows command line
Once we are done with required configurations we can initiate first ftp connection from windows command line. First get IP address of machine hosting FTP server using command
ifconfig on ubuntu machine. Use
eth0 inet address if you are connected with ethernet cable. For wireless connection use
inet address of
wlan0 interface. My ubuntu machine have following local IP
eth0 Link encap:Ethernet UP BROADCAST MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1 RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B) wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet inet addr:192.168.2.102 Bcast:192.168.2.255 Mask:255.255.255.0 UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1 RX packets:24006 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:8312 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 RX bytes:12996852 (12.9 MB) TX bytes:1224374 (1.2 MB)
To initiate connection open command prompt on windows and use following command.
It will ask for username and password. Username will be same name as the ubuntu user (techmonger in my case) and password will the ubuntu's system password of user.
To get file from ubuntu ftp server, navigate to directory and use get command like below.
To upload file from windows machine to ftp server, put command like below.
To terminate ftp session use bye.
Initiate FTP connection usign ftp client on windows
By now you would agree that doing ftp from windows command prompt is bit tedious. We can use ftp client such as winscp or filezilla to get GUI for ftp operations.
Use hostname as IP address of ftp server (192.168.2.102 in my case) and same credentials as those of ubuntu user.
Like below you can initiate connection from filezilla. You can use drag and drop to download and upload files from windows machine.
FTP Security Aspects - Firewall and Services
All ftp connections will be initiated in plain text. You should only use above method if you are in local network and have complete control over network. For encrypted connections use
Remove firewall rule from ubuntu once ftp requirement is over.
Enable Winows firewall once ftp requirement is over.
Stop vsftp demon if ftp is no longer needed to save system resources. It will also make your system less vulnerable.
sudo service vsftpd stop
sudo ufw deny ftpor
sudo ufw deny 21
Conclusion : You can make your ubuntu machine to run as ftp server and can transfer files locally. You do not need SMB (server message block) for file transfer between linux machine and windows machine over network.