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installing an alternative ftp daemon - proftpd 10 November 1999
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I decided to install another ftp server.  Mainly because I was having a small problem with the default ftp server which I didn't want to spend the time fixing.   The problem was with chroot.  If I placed a user in /etc/ftpchroot, they were unable to use the ls command.  I understand this is because the ls executable must be placed within the chroot tree.  That makes sense.  However, I didn't want to do that.  I also liked the idea that proftpd does not depend upon any external executables.  It is entirely independent.

See also Creating a chroot ftpd.

Another selling point for me, with respect to proftpd, was the apache-like configuration.  If you are familiar with the httpd.conf, the proftp.conf file concepts will be easy for you to pick up.

home page
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The Install
And since I have the entire ports tree, all I needed to do was:
# cd /usr/ports/ftp/proftpd
su: cd: /usr/ports/ftp/proftpd: No such file or directory

Oh oh!  Why don't I have that?  I checked the page to see if proftpd was listed in the ftp section.  It was.  So my ports were out of date.   Time to fix that.  It was pretty easy.  I used the instructions found in Updating the ports collection.  When doing this, I could have modified my ports-supfile and commented out everything except the ftp section.  But I didn't.  I wanted all my ports updated.

So I started again:

# cd /usr/ports/ftp/proftpd
# make

Again, I started getting errors.  This time it was complaining about not being able to get autoconf-2.12.tar.gz I think.  Hmmm, where does that live?  A quick:

# locate autoconf

shows it's from /usr/ports/devel/.  A quick check again at finds that the current version is 2.13. So my ports are out of date.  I had not been updating the devel directory.  So I uncommented that line from the ports-supfile and ran cvsup again.  After that, I started with the install again:

# make
# make install

Of note was this output from the install:

===>  Installing for proftpd-1.2.0p8
As of proftpd 1.2.0p5 and later, you need to edit /etc/pam.conf to add
support for ftp.  To do so, add the following two lines to this file:

ftp auth    required         try_first_pass
ftp account required         try_first_pass
===>   Generating temporary packing list
===>   Compressing manual pages for proftpd-1.2.0p8
===>   Registering installation for proftpd-1.2.0p8

I'm not sure if this will be relevant or not.  It turned out it was.

The main configuration file is /usr/local/etc/proftpd.conf.

I was running this daemon standalone.  That's the default configuration.  So I commented out the line in /etc/inetd.conf for ftp.  Don't forget to HUP inetd (like I did):

# killall -HUP inetd

After making changes to the config file so as to enable anonymous ftp (see config file and below), I started the server:

# /usr/local/libexec/proftpd

Then I checked to see if it was running:

# ps -auwx | grep ftp

Hmmm, there's nothing there.  Time to check for error messages:

# tail /var/log/messages
Nov 10 23:14:20 ducky proftpd[17601]: attempted bind to, port 21
Nov 10 23:14:20 ducky proftpd[17601]: bind() failed in
                inet_create_connection(): Address already in use
Nov 10 23:14:20 ducky proftpd[17601]: Check the ServerType directive to
                    ensure you are configured correctly.

DOH!  I forgot to HUP inetd.

# killall -hup inetd
# /usr/local/libexec/proftpd
# tail /var/log/messages
Nov 10 23:18:20 ducky proftpd[17640]: ProFTPD 1.2.0pre8 
                                               standalone mode STARTUP 

OK.  That's looking much better!

Testing it
With my initial testing, I was unable to connect with any user/password combination. Most annoying.  Checking the messages again, I find this:
Nov 10 23:25:35 ducky proftpd[17681]: USER dan: incorrect password from
  [] to

Hmmm, but my password is correct.  I dunno.  But anonymous ftp is working.

Eventually I remembered the bit about PAM from the install process and added those bits to the PAM configuration file.  But that didn't fix it either.  At this point, I went to bed.

The problem was PAM
After posting a message to the I found the solution.  It appears that my version of FreeBSD  does not support PAM.   What's PAM you say?  If you check /etc/pam.conf, you'll see this: Pluggable Authentication Modules.  And from man pam:
PAM  Is  a system of libraries that handle the authentica-
tion tasks of applications (services) on the system.   The
library  provides  a stable general interface (Application
Programming Interface - API) that privilege granting  pro-
grams  (such  as  login(1)  and su(1)) defer to to perform
standard authentication tasks.

The solution was found at and it involves adding the following line to /usr/local/etc/proftpd.conf:

AuthPAMAuthoritative            off

Note: FreeBSD 3.3 does support PAM.  I know because that was the version I used when Installing an ftp server.  And there I also used proftpd.

The first thing you might want to do is add an anonymous ftp user.  Look at for the configuration options.  Here is more or less my anonymous settings:
<Anonymous ~ftp>
  DirFakeUser                   on ftpd
  DirFakeGroup                  on ftpd

  User                          ftp
  Group                         ftp
  ### We want clients to be able to login with "anonymous" as well as "ftp"
  UserAlias                     anonymous ftp

  ### Limit the maximum number of anonymous logins
  MaxClients                    10

  ### It is wise when making an 'ftp' user that you either block its
  ### ability to login either via /etc/login.access or my giving it
  ### an invalid shell.
  ### Uncomment this if the 'ftp' user you made has an invalid shell

  RequireValidShell             off

  ### We want 'welcome.msg' displayed at login, and '.message' displayed
  ### in each newly chdired directory.
  DisplayLogin                  welcome.msg
  DisplayFirstChdir             .message

  ### Limit WRITE everywhere in the anonymous chroot
  <Limit WRITE>

  <Directory incoming/*>

     <Limit WRITE CWD>

  <Directory bin>
Virtual servers
One of the  things which proftpd does, as do other daemons, is allow you to have virtual ftp servers.  Much like virtual websites in apache, it allows a single host to respond with different files for different server names.  See virtual ftp servers - proftpd for more detail.
Starting proftpd
I wanted to ensure that proftpd started at boot time.  So I created this file
# cat /usr/local/etc/rc.d/
/bin/mkdir -p /var/run/proftpd
if [ -x /usr/local/libexec/proftpd ]; then
/usr/local/libexec/proftpd && echo -n ' proftpd'

Remember to set the permissions correctly or it won't be executed:

chmod 711
Non-anonymous users
Here is a non-anonymous user.  It assumes you have a user and group called Susan.  Uploads will be done in the user's home directory.
<Anonymous ~susan>
   user                  susan
   group                 susan

   AnonRequirePassword   on
Common shell problem
The login I created for Susan was an ftp-only login.  She is not allowed to use telnet or ssh.  Therefore, when I created her, I assigned a shell of /nonexistent.   But when I tested the connection I encountered a slight problem:
$ ftp
Connected to
Name ( susan
331 Password required for susan.
530 Login incorrect.
ftp: Login failed.

In the logs for I found this

- USER susan (Login failed): Invalid shell.

There are two problems here. First, I gave Susan a login shell of /nonexistent.   Second, this shell is not listed within /etc/shells.  It is the latter issue which results in the above error message.  For more information about nologin, please see this article.

To correct this problem, I changed Susan's login shell to /sbin/nologin after first ensuring this shell existed:

# ls -l /sbin/nologin
-r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  1990 Dec  6 05:57 /sbin/nologin

And here is what was in /etc/shells after I added the /sbin/nologin entry.

# $FreeBSD: src/etc/shells,v 1999/08/29 14:19:02 peter Exp $
# List of acceptable shells for chpass(1).
# Ftpd will not allow users to connect who are not using
# one of these shells.


After fixing the above, I found that Susan's login worked and resulted in the following log entry:

ANON susan: Login successful.

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