FTP (File Transfer Protocol) can be used to transfer files between a Raspberry Pi and another computer. Although with default program sftp-server of Raspberry Pi OS the users with sufficient privilege can transfer files or directories, access to the filesystem of the limited users is also required often. Follow the steps below to set up an FTP server:

Install Pure-FTPd

First, install Pure-FTPd using the following command line in Terminal:

sudo apt install pure-ftpd

Basic Configurations

We need to create a new user group named ftpgroup and a new user named ftpuser for FTP users, and make sure this "user" has no login privilege and no home directory:

sudo groupadd ftpgroup
sudo useradd ftpuser -g ftpgroup -s /sbin/nologin -d /dev/null

FTP Home Directory, Virtual User, and User Group

For instance, make a new directory named FTP for the first user:

sudo mkdir /home/pi/FTP

Make sure the directory is accessible for ftpuser:

sudo chown -R ftpuser:ftpgroup /home/pi/FTP

Create a virtual user named upload, mapping the virtual user to ftpuser and ftpgroup, setting home directory /home/pi/FTP, and record password of the user in database:

sudo pure-pw useradd upload -u ftpuser -g ftpgroup -d /home/pi/FTP -m

A password of that virtual user will be required after this command line is entered. And next, set up a virtual user database by typing:

sudo pure-pw mkdb

Last but not least, define an authentication method by making a link of file /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/PureDB, the number 60 is only for demonstration, make it as small as necessary:

sudo ln -s /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/PureDB /etc/pure-ftpd/auth/60puredb

Restart the program:

sudo service pure-ftpd restart

Test it with an FTP client, like FileZilla.

More Detailed Configurations:

The configuration of Pure-FTPd is simple and intuitive. The administrator only needs to define the necessary settings by making files with option names, like ChrootEveryone, and typing yes, then storing in the directory /etc/pure-ftpd/conf, if all FTP users are to be locked in their FTP home directory (/home/pi/FTP). Here are some recommended settings:

sudo nano /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/ChrootEveryone

Type yes, and press Ctrl + X, Y, and Enter.


Make a file named NoAnonymous and type yes;

Make a file named AnonymousCantUpload and type yes;

Make a file named AnonymousCanCreateDirs and type no;

Make a file named DisplayDotFiles and type no;

Make a file named DontResolve and type yes;

Make a file named ProhibitDotFilesRead and type yes;

Make a file named ProhibitDotFilesWrite and type yes;

Make a file named FSCharset and typeUTF-8;


Restart pure-ftpd again and apply the above settings.

sudo service pure-ftpd restart

For more information of Pure-FTPd and documentation, please get on official website of Pure-FTPd.