If I want security updates for Debian, I add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://security.debian.org <codename>/updates main

Is there a repository that allows the http to be ftp? I say this because other normal Debian APT mirrors allows that, and doing the same here doesn't work. That is, using the following line results in errors:

deb ftp://security.debian.org <codename>/updates main

One advantage of ftp is that it's often (or rather, in my limited experience) not put behind a proxy.

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's cunningly called security.debian.org. Add this line to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb ftp://security.debian.org/debian-security <codename>/updates main

There are no official mirrors for security.debian.org by design, see Why is there a separate package repository for Debian security updates?.

Many places that have a mandatory HTTP proxy block FTP altogether. So there aren't many situations where there is an advantage to using FTP.

  • Actually for me, the only two places that had a network proxy allowed ftp traffic.
    – tshepang
    Mar 18, 2011 at 19:46

I've a debian on a VirtualBox here, at work, behind an enterprise proxy, and HTTP works fine. I don't know if security.debian.org allows FTP, but i don't really trust some other source for my security udpates.

JUST FYI: I've configured apt to use the proxy.

EDIT: Home sweet home, no proxies here so I can test ftp:

$ ftp security.debian.org
Connected to security.debian.org.
220 security.debian.org FTP server (vsftpd)
Name (security.debian.org:d4rio): anonymous
331 Please specify the password.
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
drwxrwsr-x    6 1176     1176         4096 Mar 18 17:54 debian-security
226 Directory send OK.
ftp> cd debian-security
250 Directory successfully changed.
ftp> ls
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
-rw-rw-r--    1 1176     1176          183 Aug 16  2000 README.security
drwxrwsr-x    5 1176     1176         4096 Feb 05 15:37 dists
drwxrwsr-x    2 1176     1176         4096 Feb 12  2009 indices
drwxrwsr-x    3 1176     1176         4096 Nov 20  2002 pool
drwxrwsr-x    4 1176     1176         4096 May 13  2008 project
226 Directory send OK.

So, security.debian.org allows ftp anonymous login.

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.