Virtual Web Server: Part 6 - ProFTPd Setup


The Blog of Tom Webster

  2013-05-09 01:36:00 PDT

Now that you have most of what you need to run some simple sites, you need a way to open it up to people, allow them to upload their own files. This is where ProFTPd comes in. First, install it with apt-get install proftpd. There are some configuration options as you set it up. Right now, select standalone when the installer asks you whether to run as a service or standalone server.

Now we have to create a user who will manage our domain. I usually set this name to the domain name itself without the ending (so example would manage www.example.com). Create a new user with adduser example and set a good, complex password. Debian will ask you for more details, but you don't need to fill these out. This creates a new user and home directory. We actually don't want our user to use /home/example as their home directory, we want them to be jailed to the web directory. Open up /etc/passwd in your text editor of choice, we're going to make some changes to this new user. We need to set a new home directory, and more imporantly, a new shell, we don't want the user logging on via SSH, they don't need that kind of access. Check out the example below for configuration details.

bob:x:0:0:root:/home/bob:/bin/bash
# The above user can log in interactively, and their home folder is in the usual location
alice:x:1000:1000:,,,:/var/www/www.example.com:/bin/false
# The above user can't log in interactively, and their home folder is set to their public website folder.

After you set up your user like alice in the example above, we need to change the permissions on our new user's home directory. Use this command to set the owner and group of the folder to your new user: chown -R example:example /var/www/www.example.com/. Now we're ready to set some ProFTPd configuration options. Open up /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf and copy my configuration file below.

#
# /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf -- This is a basic ProFTPD configuration file.
# To really apply changes reload proftpd after modifications.
#

# Includes DSO modules
Include /etc/proftpd/modules.conf

# Set off to disable IPv6 support which is annoying on IPv4 only boxes.
UseIPv6             on
# If set on you can experience a longer connection delay in many cases.
IdentLookups            off

ServerName          "Debian"
ServerType          standalone
DeferWelcome            off

MultilineRFC2228        on
DefaultServer           on
ShowSymlinks            on

TimeoutNoTransfer       600
TimeoutStalled          600
TimeoutIdle         1200

DisplayLogin                    welcome.msg
DisplayChdir                .message true
ListOptions                 "-l"

DenyFilter          \*.*/

# Use this to jail all users in their homes
DefaultRoot         ~

# Users require a valid shell listed in /etc/shells to login.
# Use this directive to release that constrain.
RequireValidShell       off

# Port 21 is the standard FTP port.
Port                21

# In some cases you have to specify passive ports range to by-pass
# firewall limitations. Ephemeral ports can be used for that, but
# feel free to use a more narrow range.
# PassivePorts                  49152 65534

# If your host was NATted, this option is useful in order to
# allow passive tranfers to work. You have to use your public
# address and opening the passive ports used on your firewall as well.
# MasqueradeAddress     1.2.3.4

# This is useful for masquerading address with dynamic IPs:
# refresh any configured MasqueradeAddress directives every 8 hours
<IfModule mod_dynmasq.c>
# DynMasqRefresh 28800
</IfModule>

# To prevent DoS attacks, set the maximum number of child processes
# to 30.  If you need to allow more than 30 concurrent connections
# at once, simply increase this value.  Note that this ONLY works
# in standalone mode, in inetd mode you should use an inetd server
# that allows you to limit maximum number of processes per service
# (such as xinetd)
MaxInstances            30

# Set the user and group that the server normally runs at.
User                proftpd
Group               nogroup

# Umask 022 is a good standard umask to prevent new files and dirs
# (second parm) from being group and world writable.
Umask               022  022
# Normally, we want files to be overwriteable.
AllowOverwrite          on

# Uncomment this if you are using NIS or LDAP via NSS to retrieve passwords:
# PersistentPasswd      off

# This is required to use both PAM-based authentication and local passwords
# AuthOrder         mod_auth_pam.c* mod_auth_unix.c

# Be warned: use of this directive impacts CPU average load!
# Uncomment this if you like to see progress and transfer rate with ftpwho
# in downloads. That is not needed for uploads rates.
#
# UseSendFile           off

TransferLog /var/log/proftpd/xferlog
SystemLog   /var/log/proftpd/proftpd.log

<IfModule mod_quotatab.c>
QuotaEngine off
</IfModule>

<IfModule mod_ratio.c>
Ratios off
</IfModule>


# Delay engine reduces impact of the so-called Timing Attack described in
# http://security.lss.hr/index.php?page=details&ID=LSS-2004-10-02
# It is on by default.
<IfModule mod_delay.c>
DelayEngine on
</IfModule>

<IfModule mod_ctrls.c>
ControlsEngine        off
ControlsMaxClients    2
ControlsLog           /var/log/proftpd/controls.log
ControlsInterval      5
ControlsSocket        /var/run/proftpd/proftpd.sock
</IfModule>

<IfModule mod_ctrls_admin.c>
AdminControlsEngine off
</IfModule>

#
# Alternative authentication frameworks
#
#Include /etc/proftpd/ldap.conf
#Include /etc/proftpd/sql.conf

#
# This is used for FTPS connections
#
#Include /etc/proftpd/tls.conf

#
# Useful to keep VirtualHost/VirtualRoot directives separated
#
#Include /etc/proftpd/virtuals.con

# A basic anonymous configuration, no upload directories.

# <Anonymous ~ftp>
#   User                ftp
#   Group               nogroup
#   # We want clients to be able to login with "anonymous" as well as "ftp"
#   UserAlias           anonymous ftp
#   # Cosmetic changes, all files belongs to ftp user
#   DirFakeUser on ftp
#   DirFakeGroup on ftp
#
#   RequireValidShell       off
#
#   # Limit the maximum number of anonymous logins
#   MaxClients          10
#
#   # We want 'welcome.msg' displayed at login, and '.message' displayed
#   # in each newly chdired directory.
#   DisplayLogin            welcome.msg
#   DisplayChdir        .message
#
#   # Limit WRITE everywhere in the anonymous chroot
#   <Directory *>
#     <Limit WRITE>
#       DenyAll
#     </Limit>
#   </Directory>
#
#   # Uncomment this if you're brave.
#   # <Directory incoming>
#   #   # Umask 022 is a good standard umask to prevent new files and dirs
#   #   # (second parm) from being group and world writable.
#   #   Umask               022  022
#   #            <Limit READ WRITE>
#   #            DenyAll
#   #            </Limit>
#   #            <Limit STOR>
#   #            AllowAll
#   #            </Limit>
#   # </Directory>
#
# </Anonymous>

This configuration jails users in their home directories, which we've just set to be the public web directory. You do need to run service proftpd restart to apply the configuration changes.

Have your users log in with the following details (changed to fit your domain/username of course):

Host: www.example.com
Port: 21
Username: example
Password: # the password you set for this user #

Now your users can push and pull files to set up their websites.

Other posts in this series:

  1. Getting a Server
  2. Getting a Domain Name
  3. Automatic Updates
  4. Apache2 Setup
  5. PHP and MySQL Setup
  6. ProFTPd Setup - You are here
  7. WordPress Setup
  8. RVM Setup
  9. Git Setup
  10. OctoPress Setup
  11. Rackspace Backups