Currently running CentOS 6.5 with vsftpd.

I would like to explain my process and then have the proper process explained back to me from scratch which I believe will solve my issue.

I am currently able to log into my server via FTP from my "root" user account, but I understand that is bad practice. So what I need to do is create another local user/virtual user (I really do not know) to be able to access via FTP the "/var/www" directory.

(I'm simply needing to get to the point were I can begin uploading web files, as I'm a web programmer, not a system administrator -- but I was so pleasantly surprise with a dedicated server to work with.)

Initially I created a Local User, but was only able to FTP the "home" user directory. So I next tries unjailing that user via CHROOT (vsftpd.conf). That worked sort of; the parent directories were visible, but upon navigating up to them via FTP everything disappeared (possibly an issue with permissions, I don't know). Next I tried rejailing the Local User and then modifying its "home" directory from "/home/" to "/var/www". After doing attempting that, I FTP'd in and then could not see anything, so another fail. I've since returned the user's "home" directory back to "/home/" and crawl over to SOF confused as hell.


# Allow anonymous FTP? (Beware - allowed by default if you comment this out).
# Uncomment this to allow local users to log in.
# Uncomment this to enable any form of FTP write command.
# Default umask for local users is 077. You may wish to change this to 022,
# if your users expect that (022 is used by most other ftpd's)
# Uncomment this to allow the anonymous FTP user to upload files. This only
# has an effect if the above global write enable is activated. Also, you will
# obviously need to create a directory writable by the FTP user.
# Uncomment this if you want the anonymous FTP user to be able to create
# new directories.
# Activate directory messages - messages given to remote users when they
# go into a certain directory.
# The target log file can be vsftpd_log_file or xferlog_file.
# This depends on setting xferlog_std_format parameter
# Make sure PORT transfer connections originate from port 20 (ftp-data).
# If you want, you can arrange for uploaded anonymous files to be owned by
# a different user. Note! Using "root" for uploaded files is not
# recommended!
# The name of log file when xferlog_enable=YES and xferlog_std_format=YES
# WARNING - changing this filename affects /etc/logrotate.d/vsftpd.log
# Switches between logging into vsftpd_log_file and xferlog_file files.
# NO writes to vsftpd_log_file, YES to xferlog_file
# You may change the default value for timing out an idle session.
# You may change the default value for timing out a data connection.
# It is recommended that you define on your system a unique user which the
# ftp server can use as a totally isolated and unprivileged user.
# Enable this and the server will recognise asynchronous ABOR requests. Not
# recommended for security (the code is non-trivial). Not enabling it,
# however, may confuse older FTP clients.
# By default the server will pretend to allow ASCII mode but in fact ignore
# the request. Turn on the below options to have the server actually do ASCII
# mangling on files when in ASCII mode.
# Beware that on some FTP servers, ASCII support allows a denial of service
# attack (DoS) via the command "SIZE /big/file" in ASCII mode. vsftpd
# predicted this attack and has always been safe, reporting the size of the
# raw file.
# ASCII mangling is a horrible feature of the protocol.
# You may fully customise the login banner string:
#ftpd_banner=Welcome to blah FTP service.
# You may specify a file of disallowed anonymous e-mail addresses. Apparently
# useful for combatting certain DoS attacks.
# (default follows)
# 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().
# (default follows)
# You may activate the "-R" option to the builtin ls. This is disabled by
# default to avoid remote users being able to cause excessive I/O on large
# sites. However, some broken FTP clients such as "ncftp" and "mirror" assume
# the presence of the "-R" option, so there is a strong case for enabling it.
# When "listen" directive is enabled, vsftpd runs in standalone mode and
# listens on IPv4 sockets. This directive cannot be used in conjunction
# with the listen_ipv6 directive.
# This directive enables listening on IPv6 sockets. To listen on IPv4 and IPv6
# sockets, you must run two copies of vsftpd with two configuration files.
# Make sure, that one of the listen options is commented !!



Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • What user is serving "/var/www"? That's the one you should login as. I'm not sure that "chroot" is going to be very effective, because you want this user to be able to change the real files (or am I missing something)? Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:18
  • @ElliottFrisch Currently the only user able to access everything including "/var/www? is the "root". Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:23
  • So, you don't have apache serving content from that folder? Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:24
  • Do you have to use FTP? If you can SSH into the server you can do the file transferring using just SCP (you can use clients to do this as well, such as filezilla) forgoing the need to maintain an FTP server.
    – slm
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:25
  • @ElliottFrisch Yes, apache is serving that folder. Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


First of all I'd create a symlink between /var/www/ and my home what this does is, when you land into /home/usr you can go to /home/usr/www and it will redirect you to /var/www

for instance.

cd /home/usr
sudo ln -s /var/www www 

perform a ls -lrt on /var/www

ls -lrt /var/www/

now make sure your usr is part of group that owns www. this tells you who owns that directory, if it's root:root, it's a bad practice, depending on your distro, it could be www-data or apache etc..

cat /etc/group  | grep -e apache -e http -e ftp -e www

if usr is at the end of the result your usr is part of that group if you don't have a group that owns www and it's root:root create one

groupadd www-data

assuming that group is www-data

sudo adduser usr www-data

now make your user the boss of www

sudo chown usr:www-data -R /var/www

set the right permissions of www

sudo chmod 0755 -R /var/www
sudo chmod g+s -R /var/www

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