Categories: CCTV BasicsDev Ops

How to setup FTP on AWS Ubuntu

In this blog we will show how to setup an FTP on AWS machine. They heydays of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) maybe over and it is not as popular as it used to be. I personally have not used FTP for several years. Several professional IP and CCTV cameras support FTP. It is an easy way to setup a central repository for all your CCTV cameras online. All the CCTV cameras can upload the camera feed or snapshots to an FTP server. This server can serve as a repository for one or more cameras. We will now look at how to setup FTP on an AWS EC2 Ubuntu machine. AWS provides a service called SFTP, which is too expensive. Setting up an FTP server on an EC2 machine is a much better alternative.

Step 1: Create an EC2 machine with Ubuntu 16.04 AMI

Log in to your AWS account and launch an Ubuntu 16.04 machine. You can use the smallest machine to begin with. The storage will be a function of the amount of data you want to store. We will use a 20 GB machine in the demo.

Step 2: Security groups

Expose ports 20-21 for FTP access and ports 1024-1048 as passive ports.

Step 3: Installation of vsftpd

VSFTPD or very secure file transfer protocol deamon is an open source FTP server for unix based systems.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vsftpd

Step 4: Updates to the config file

Open the vsftpd file as super user for editing

sudo vim /etc/vsftpd.conf

Make the following edits

  • Enable listening for IPV4
listen=YES
#listen_ipv6=YES
  • Disable anonymous access
anonymous_enable=no
  • Permit any form of FTP write command
write_enable=YES
  • Make sure PORT transfer connections originate from port 20 (ftp-data) by uncommenting this line
connect_from_port_20=YES
  • Add the following lines at the end of file. These lines are required to enable passive access, which means a client can now initiate a connection to the server. The public IP address of the server is also required here.
  • The final lines specify the file valid user names
pasv_enable=YES
pasv_min_port=1024
pasv_max_port=1048
pasv_address=54.165.49.1
port_enable=YES
userlist_enable=YES
userlist_file=/etc/vsftpd.userlist
userlist_deny=NO

Step 5: Add user and setup directory

We will now create a user and prepare the directory for access. We will call the user aloka for now, when prompted add a password and you can just press enter for the other prompts, letting the defaults continue.

sudo adduser aloka

Create the user file list and the new user

echo "aloka" | sudo tee -a /etc/vsftpd.userlist

Restart FTP service so that the new configuration is activated

sudo service vsftpd start

Your FTP service is now ready for use. You can connect to your FTP server using the command with your public IP address. The default directory will the home of the user, which in this case is /home/aloka

ftp -p <public_ip>

Use the credentials created in step 5 to access the FTP service.

Step 6 Congratulations

Your FTP service is now up and ready to use.

Praveen Pavithran

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