I'm running an OS X Server with the following services turned on: Web, MySQL, DNS, AFP, Firewall. I'd like to also start FTP, and I did this, but I can't seem to make it work properly. I'm sure there is a way, but I can't find a way to make it work for me.

What I've done so far: - activated the FTP service - opened port 20-21 in the Firewall - forwarded ports 20-21 from the router to the Server

I use Coda to connect to my FTPs (as I do a lot of web development). When I type in this server's address + credentials it tries to connect for about 2-3 minutes before actually succeeding, and when it does it lists the following directories: "Public" (with a shortcut icon), "Users" (with a shortcut icon) and a file named "???" which it tries to open right away. Doing [cmd + k] in Finder also results in a 2-3 minutes waiting.

Also, I have no idea where to create new users for the FTP (just for the FTP) and how to give them permissions to specific directories (without useless ones like "Users" or "Public").

I've come to the conclusion that the built-in FTP server might not be the best option for me, but I have no idea what I should try. Using a separate app is not the ideal scenario for me as I'm trying to avoid keeping extra apps open on my server.

  • Generally I recommend against FTP as it sends your passwords in plain text, is this server local or remote? Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 8:10
  • It's in my office, but I'll be accessing it remotely. What else could I use? I also use AFP (not sure if it's secure or not), but this is not a long term option as other users (Windows) will require access to put/get files on/from the server. Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 8:14
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    Have you considered DropBox? or a similar service to share files with others? Perhaps you could briefly outline how you intend to use the file server, what sort of files (eg large or small). If we had this information, someone here could recommend a better product to suit your exact requirements.
    – robzolkos
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 8:20
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    How about smb with a port opened for you to remotely ssh in and mount the smb shares like sharkysoft.com/tutorials/linuxtips/sshsmb, then the windows clients get authentication and interop, and you get a filesystem like view with security. Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 8:35
  • I do a lot of web development so this is mainly a FTP for accessing those files. File sharing is a perk (but still necessary). I'm considering CrushFTP? Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 6:36

3 Answers 3


I suggest you use what comes with OSX, namely sftp/scp, included with every OSX since the age of dawn.

Enable SSH in the sharing (Remote Login), configure what users have access and then try to use sftp from the Terminal (if you are familiar with it). Try

man sftp

to see the help.

DESCRIPTION sftp is an interactive file transfer program, similar to ftp(1), which performs all operations over an encrypted ssh(1) transport.

You have the benefits of "ftp-like" plus everything is encrypted.

If you still want to go ahead and use ftp, I suggest you take a look at ftpd conf file, located in /etc/ftpd.conf and /etc/ftpusers

In any case, take a look at the man page for ftpd.conf and ftpusers:

man ftpd.conf
man ftpusers

…to see other options you can add there (because the default one will be most likely empty or with little things in it).

There's no pretty program to configure FTP on OSX (there is on the Server version as far as I can remember).

Please note that FTP is not a very secure protocol by default and hence it should be running inside a chroot. (hint: man ftpchroot).

  • I am running OS X Server. I just installed Rumpus and it seems to be doing all that I need and it's quite easy to use (the only downside is the spicy price but they do offer a quite generous trial period so hopefully I'll decide if it's worth the money. It also supports adding secure certificates if I ever need one. Martin, thanks for your answer, I'll definitely be looking into the info you shared because, as I said, Rumpus is quite expensive and I do prefer a service that comes with the OS rather than an extra service. Thanks! :) Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 11:25
  • Bonus: Coda does have an option for SFTP instead of just FTP. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 21:57

I would go with vsftpd. Some time ago I wrote about setting up vsftpd on Mac OS X.


Give Rumpus a try. Much easier FTP server solution with a very easy to use GUI, but its still got tonnes of options. We use it at work to deliver content to clients and also to receive content from providers. Extremely easy to use, but is also very configurable.

(my second post in a row about rumpus... dont worry, they dont pay me, just a very happy customer!)

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