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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Virtual Hosting With PureFTPd And MySQL (Incl. Quota And Bandwidth Management) On Ubuntu 12.10

This document describes how to install a PureFTPd server that uses virtual users from a MySQL database instead of real system users. This is much more performant and allows to have thousands of ftp users on a single machine. In addition to that I will show the use of quota and upload/download bandwidth limits with this setup. Passwords will be stored encrypted as MD5 strings in the database. This tutorial is based on Ubuntu 12.10.

For the administration of the MySQL database you can use web based tools like phpMyAdmin which will also be installed in this howto. phpMyAdmin is a comfortable graphical interface which means you do not have to mess around with the command line.

This howto is meant as a practical guide; it does not cover the theoretical backgrounds. They are treated in a lot of other documents in the web.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname server1.example.com with the IP address These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

Make sure that you are logged in as root (type in

sudo su

to become root), because we must run all the steps from this tutorial as root user.


2 Install MySQL And phpMyAdmin

This can all be installed with one single command:

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client phpmyadmin apache2

You will be asked these questions:

New password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword
Repeat password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword
Web server to reconfigure automatically: <-- apache2
Configure database for phpmyadmin with dbconfig-common? <-- No


3 Install PureFTPd With MySQL Support

For Ubuntu 12.10 there is a pre-configured pure-ftpd-mysql package available. Install it like this:

apt-get install pure-ftpd-mysql

Then we create an ftp group (ftpgroup) and user (ftpuser) that all our virtual users will be mapped to. Replace the group- and userid 2001 with a number that is free on your system:

groupadd -g 2001 ftpgroup
useradd -u 2001 -s /bin/false -d /bin/null -c "pureftpd user" -g ftpgroup ftpuser


4 Create The MySQL Database For PureFTPd

Now we create a database called pureftpd and a MySQL user named pureftpd which the PureFTPd daemon will use later on to connect to the pureftpddatabase:

mysql -u root -p

GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, CREATE, DROP ON pureftpd.* TO 'pureftpd'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'ftpdpass';
GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, CREATE, DROP ON pureftpd.* TO 'pureftpd'@'localhost.localdomain' IDENTIFIED BY 'ftpdpass';

Replace the string ftpdpass with whatever password you want to use for the MySQL user pureftpd. Still on the MySQL shell, we create the database table we need (yes, there is only one table!):

USE pureftpd;

User varchar(16) NOT NULL default '',
status enum('0','1') NOT NULL default '0',
Password varchar(64) NOT NULL default '',
Uid varchar(11) NOT NULL default '-1',
Gid varchar(11) NOT NULL default '-1',
Dir varchar(128) NOT NULL default '',
ULBandwidth smallint(5) NOT NULL default '0',
DLBandwidth smallint(5) NOT NULL default '0',
comment tinytext NOT NULL,
ipaccess varchar(15) NOT NULL default '*',
QuotaSize smallint(5) NOT NULL default '0',
QuotaFiles int(11) NOT NULL default 0,
UNIQUE KEY User (User)


As you may have noticed, with the quit; command we have left the MySQL shell and are back on the Linux shell.

BTW, (I'm assuming that the hostname of your ftp server system is server1.example.com) you can access phpMyAdmin underhttp://server1.example.com/phpmyadmin/ (you can also use the IP address instead of server1.example.com) in a browser and log in as the user pureftpd. Then you can have a look at the database. Later on you can use phpMyAdmin to administrate your PureFTPd server.


5 Configure PureFTPd

Edit /etc/pure-ftpd/db/mysql.conf. It should look like this:

cp /etc/pure-ftpd/db/mysql.conf /etc/pure-ftpd/db/mysql.conf_orig
cat /dev/null > /etc/pure-ftpd/db/mysql.conf
vi /etc/pure-ftpd/db/mysql.conf

  MYSQLSocket      /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock  #MYSQLServer     localhost  #MYSQLPort       3306  MYSQLUser       pureftpd  MYSQLPassword   ftpdpass  MYSQLDatabase   pureftpd  #MYSQLCrypt md5, cleartext, crypt() or password() - md5 is VERY RECOMMENDABLE uppon cleartext  MYSQLCrypt      md5  MYSQLGetPW      SELECT Password FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L" AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MYSQLGetUID     SELECT Uid FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L" AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MYSQLGetGID     SELECT Gid FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MYSQLGetDir     SELECT Dir FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MySQLGetBandwidthUL SELECT ULBandwidth FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MySQLGetBandwidthDL SELECT DLBandwidth FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MySQLGetQTASZ   SELECT QuotaSize FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")  MySQLGetQTAFS   SELECT QuotaFiles FROM ftpd WHERE User="\L"AND status="1" AND (ipaccess = "*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")

Make sure that you replace the string ftpdpass with the real password for the MySQL user pureftpd in the line MYSQLPassword! Please note that we use md5 asMYSQLCrypt method, which means we will store the users' passwords as an MD5 string in the database which is far more secure than using plain text passwords!

Then create the file /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/ChrootEveryone which simply contains the string yes:

echo "yes" > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/ChrootEveryone

This will make PureFTPd chroot every virtual user in his home directory so he will not be able to browse directories and files outside his home directory.

Also create the file /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/CreateHomeDir which again simply contains the string yes:

echo "yes" > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/CreateHomeDir

This will make PureFTPd create a user's home directory when the user logs in and the home directory does not exist yet.

Finally create the file /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/DontResolve which again simply contains the string yes:

echo "yes" > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/DontResolve

This will make that PureFTPd doesn't look up host names which can significantly speed up connections and reduce bandwidth usage.

Afterwards, we restart PureFTPd:

/etc/init.d/pure-ftpd-mysql restart


6 Populate The Database And Test

To populate the database you can use the MySQL shell:

mysql -u root -p

USE pureftpd;

Now we create the user exampleuser with the status 1 (which means his ftp account is active), the password secret (which will be stored encrypted using MySQL's MD5 function), the UID and GID 2001 (use the userid and groupid of the user/group you created at the end of step two!), the home directory/home/www.example.com, an upload and download bandwidth of 100 KB/sec. (kilobytes per second), and a quota of 50 MB:

INSERT INTO `ftpd` (`User`, `status`, `Password`, `Uid`, `Gid`, `Dir`, `ULBandwidth`, `DLBandwidth`, `comment`, `ipaccess`, `QuotaSize`, `QuotaFiles`) VALUES ('exampleuser', '1', MD5('secret'), '2001', '2001', '/home/www.example.com', '100', '100', '', '*', '50', '0');


Now open your FTP client program on your work station (something like FileZilla, WS_FTP, SmartFTP or gFTP) and try to connect. As hostname you useserver1.example.com (or the IP address of the system), the username is exampleuser, and the password is secret.

If you are able to connect - congratulations! If not, something went wrong.

Now, if you run

ls -l /home

you should see that the directory /home/www.example.com (exampleuser's home directory) has been automatically created, and it is owned by ftpuser andftpgroup (the user/group we created at the end of step two):

root@server1:~# ls -l /home
total 8
drwxr-xr-x 3 administrator administrator 4096 Apr 27 11:54 administrator
drwxr-xr-x 2 ftpuser       ftpgroup      4096 Jul  3 22:23 www.example.com


7 Database Administration

For most people it is easier if they have a graphical front-end to MySQL; therefore you can also use phpMyAdmin (in this example underhttp://server1.example.com/phpmyadmin/) to administrate the pureftpd database.

Whenever you want to create a new user, you have to create an entry in the table ftpd so I will explain the columns of this table here:

ftpd Table:

  • User: The name of the virtual PureFTPd user (e.g. exampleuser).
  • status: 0 or 1. 0 means the account is disabled, the user cannot login.
  • Password: The password of the virtual user. Make sure you use MySQL's MD5 function to save the password encrypted as an MD5 string:

  • UID: The userid of the ftp user you created at the end of step two (e.g. 2001).
  • GID: The groupid of the ftp group you created at the end of step two (e.g. 2001).
  • Dir: The home directory of the virtual PureFTPd user (e.g. /home/www.example.com). If it does not exist, it will be created when the new user logs in the first time via FTP. The virtual user will be jailed into this home directory, i.e., he cannot access other directories outside his home directory.
  • ULBandwidth: Upload bandwidth of the virtual user in KB/sec. (kilobytes per second). 0 means unlimited.
  • DLBandwidth: Download bandwidth of the virtual user in KB/sec. (kilobytes per second). 0 means unlimited.
  • comment: You can enter any comment here (e.g. for your internal administration) here. Normally you leave this field empty.
  • ipaccess: Enter IP addresses here that are allowed to connect to this FTP account. * means any IP address is allowed to connect.
  • QuotaSize: Storage space in MB (not KB, as in ULBandwidth and DLBandwidth!) the virtual user is allowed to use on the FTP server. 0 means unlimited.
  • QuotaFiles: amount of files the virtual user is allowed to save on the FTP server. 0 means unlimited.


8 Anonymous FTP

If you want to create an anonymous ftp account (an ftp account that everybody can login to without a password), you can do it like this:

First create a user ftp (with the homedir /home/ftp) and group ftp:

groupadd ftp
useradd -s /bin/false -d /home/ftp -m -c "anonymous ftp" -g ftp ftp

Then create the file /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/NoAnonymous which contains the string no:

echo "no" > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/NoAnonymous

With this configuration, PureFTPd will allow anonymous logins.

Restart PureFTPd:

/etc/init.d/pure-ftpd-mysql restart

Then we create the directory /home/ftp/incoming which will allow anonymous users to upload files. We will give the /home/ftp/incoming directory permissions of 311 so that users can upload, but not see or download any files in that directory. The /home/ftp directory will have permissions of 555 which allows seeing and downloading of files:

cd /home/ftp
mkdir incoming
chown ftp:nogroup incoming/
chmod 311 incoming/
cd ../
chmod 555 ftp/

Now anonymous users can login, and they can download files from /home/ftp, but uploads are limited to /home/ftp/incoming (and once a file is uploaded into/home/ftp/incoming, it cannot be read nor downloaded from there; the server admin has to move it into /home/ftp first to make it available to others).


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