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.
Access your server through FTP
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
Using the service command, this is how you startup vsftpd:
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.
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.
It is generally advised to disable anonymous FTP, unless you have a specific requirement to use it.
# 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
Now configure vsftpd to be able to chroot(commonly referred to as jailing or jail) users to their home directories for security and privacy:
# 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
/etc/sysconfig/iptables-config file in your favorite editor
Verify that the "IPTABLES_MODULES" contains "ip_conntrack_ftp" or "nf_conntrack_ftp". Should look similar to the following:
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
Simply input the name of your FTP site into a browser address bar as shown here, and supply the login credentials when prompted:
Here 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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