I'm a bit confused about the terminology for Linux FTP servers. I'm just attempting to set up a simple FTP server. I thought was accomplished by FTPd but there seems to be no client/server for FTPd. So is FTPd not a FTP server?

Do I have to choose from one of the CrushFTP, ProFTPD, Pure-FTPd, vsftpd for example?

Or can I do it with just FTPd?

  • Well i'm not really looking for a guide. I would just like to know if FTPd is an actuall FTP server or if i'm confused and should choose one from the list above :) – mrmagin Sep 30 '18 at 16:31
  • well a server that clients can connect to. I seem to be unable to find specific documentation on how to launch FTPd. all documentation seem to be about those servers mentioned above – mrmagin Sep 30 '18 at 16:41
  • 1
    What's with all these downvotes? A reasonable question. Good answers. All downvoted. – roaima Sep 30 '18 at 20:26

Once upon a time, back in the 20th century, there used to be ftpd in the Linux world. It was more fully known as "the NetKit ftpd", and it was originally a quick-hack port of BSD FTP daemon code, as it existed at that time.

As far as I can determine, its last version from the actual maintainer (0.17) was released in July 2000, and only contained a fix for a remotely exploitable security hole that was found in version 0.16. According to the README file in the source package, it's a port of OpenBSD ftpd as it existed in July 1999, and does not support PAM and won't track FTP sessions in the utmp file.

As the name "NetKit" implies, there used to be a "kit" of networking tools for Linux, but the maintainer split that apart, at least in part because releasing all the tools together sometimes delayed important security fixes. After the split, NetKit ftpd stagnated and I think even the maintainer recommended using something else instead.

And now, 18 years later, Debian does have a package for NetKit ftpd version 0.17-36 in their current stable distribution, but has this to say about it (emphasis mine):

This is the netkit ftp server. You are recommended to use one of its alternatives, such as vsftpd, proftpd, or pure-ftpd.

This server supports IPv6, and can be used in standalone mode as well as in inetd-slave mode, but other servers have better long-term security screening.

So... yes, if security and/or reliability is at all important to you, you should definitely pick one of the "name-brand" FTP servers you mentioned, instead of trying to use one that's been on software equivalent of artificial life-support for almost two decades.


FTPd is an implementation of the ftp protocol. The ftp protocol is a set of instructions for communication, which exist outside of the implementation, rather like how Linux is an implementation of a POSIX-compliant operating system, albeit with many extra capabilities and quirks. FTPd is an ftp server, but lacks the security of other implementations. One of the advantages of the UNIX philosophy is its modularity. You can choose whatever implementation of the ftp server you like, and it simply will not care.

I personally use vsftpd, as it is reasonably simple to set up, and has very good security.

If you are set on ftpd, type man ftpd. man gives you the manual page for a piece of software, which should describe how you set up and use it.

  • 2
    If you believe my answer to be substandard, please tell me why and then downvote. – Cyclic3 Sep 30 '18 at 17:17

Yes. ftpd is indeed an ftp server.

https://linux.die.net/man/8/ftpd "ftpd(8) - Linux man page"


Ftpd is the DARPA Internet File Transfer Protocol server process.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.