Rackspace Cloud Essentials - CentOS - Installing vsftpd
Following the previous articles in this series, you should now have an active Cloud Server that is secured and has scheduled backups configured. Next, you’ll want to upload your web content to the server. When you think of transferring files, you probably think of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) because it has been around for so long. While simple to use, FTP has become obsolete because it lacks the ability for secure file transfers.
Instead, we recommend installing and using a secure file transfer mechanism, and we will introduce you to a few of them in this guide. This article will show you how to install vsftpd (very secure FTP daemon), the FTP client, and will also walk you through some useful administration and security steps.
Install and run vsftpd
Using the group install available in the YUM package manager makes this step very easy. Use the following command to install everything you will need:
sudo yum install vsftpd
To start up vsftpd, run the following service command:
sudo service vsftpd start
Wow, that was quick! We have a working install of vsftpd already on the server. Lets go ahead and make a couple of configuration changes for security and convenience.
Set vsftp service to start on reboot
You can use the chkconfig tool to view which services will start automatically when the server boots, and on which run level they’ll start with. To get vsftpd to start on the most common run levels (3,4,5) you can use:
sudo chkconfig vsftpd on
Verify the “on” status by checking the complete chkconfig output:
or for specific output
chkconfig --list vsftpd
The standard vsftpd configuration file and all subsequent files for CentOS will reside in the directory /etc/vsftpd/ the most important file being vsftpd.conf. We need to make two changes to this file for security and convenience:
Open /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf in your favorite text editor.
Disable anonymous users
It is generally advised to disable anonymous FTP, unless you have a specific requirement to use it. Change:
# Allow anonymous FTP? (Beware - allowed by default if you comment this out). anonymous_enable=YES
# Allow anonymous FTP? (Beware - allowed by default if you comment this out). anonymous_enable=NO
Restricting user access
Now configure vsftpd to be able to chroot(commonly referred to as jailing or jail) users to their home directories for security and privacy. Change:
# 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 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=NO # (default follows) chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd/chroot_list
Finally we need to make sure that users are jailed in their home directory. At the bottom of the file add the following:
Create the chroot_list file so you do not get an error when restarting:
sudo touch /etc/vsftpd/chroot_list
Open ports in your firewall by running the following:
sudo iptables -I INPUT 4 -m tcp -p tcp -m conntrack --ctstate NEW --dport 21 -j ACCEPT
Save your configuration:
sudo service iptables save
Open the /etc/sysconfig/iptables-config file in your favorite editor.
Verify that the “IPTABLES_MODULES” variable is specified as “ip_conntrack_ftp” (CentOS 5) or “nf_conntrack_ftp” (CentOS 6) as shown in the following examples:
Centos 5 (ip_conntrack_ftp):
Centos 6 (nf_conntrack_ftp):
Save the iptables-config file and restart iptables:
sudo service iptables restart
Access your server through FTP
Using a browser
Simply input the name of your FTP site into a browser address bar as shown here, and supply the login credentials when prompted:
Using an FTP client
Using the command line
Following is the syntax for opening an FTP session from the command line:
To close the FTP session, simply type exit in the session window.
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