How To Configure PureFTPd To Accept TLS Sessions On Debian Lenny

FTP is a very insecure protocol because all passwords and all data are transferred in clear text. By using TLS, the whole communication can be encrypted, thus making FTP much more secure. This article explains how to configure PureFTPd to accept TLS sessions on a Debian Lenny server.


1 Preliminary Note

You should have a working PureFTPd setup on your Debian Lenny server, e.g. as shown in this tutorial: Virtual Hosting With PureFTPd And MySQL (Incl. Quota And Bandwidth Management) On Debian Lenny.


2 Installing OpenSSL

OpenSSL is needed by TLS; to install OpenSSL, we simply run:

aptitude install openssl


3 Configuring PureFTPd

If you want to allow FTP and TLS sessions, run

echo 1 > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/TLS

If you want to accept TLS sessions only (no FTP), run

echo 2 > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/TLS


To not allow TLS at all (only FTP), either delete /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/TLS or run

echo 0 > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/TLS


4 Creating The SSL Certificate For TLS

In order to use TLS, we must create an SSL certificate. I create it in /etc/ssl/private/, therefore I create that directory first:

mkdir -p /etc/ssl/private/

Afterwards, we can generate the SSL certificate as follows:

openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 7300 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem -out /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem

Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]: <-- Enter your Country Name (e.g., "DE").
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:
<-- Enter your State or Province Name.
Locality Name (eg, city) []:
<-- Enter your City.
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
<-- Enter your Organization Name (e.g., the name of your company).
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
<-- Enter your Organizational Unit Name (e.g. "IT Department").
Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:
<-- Enter the Fully Qualified Domain Name of the system (e.g. "").
Email Address []:
<-- Enter your Email Address.

Change the permissions of the SSL certificate:

chmod 600 /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem

Finally restart PureFTPd:

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

That's it. You can now try to connect using your FTP client; however, you should configure your FTP client to use TLS - see the next chapter how to do this with FileZilla.


5 Configuring FileZilla For TLS

In order to use FTP with TLS, you need an FTP client that supports TLS, such as FileZilla.

In FileZilla, open the Server Manager:

Select the server that uses PureFTPd with TLS; in the Server Type drop-down menu, select FTPES instead of normal FTP:

Now you can connect to the server. If you do this for the first time, you must accept the server's new SSL certificate:

If everything goes well, you should now be logged in on the server:


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By: Lawrence D'Oliveiro

Nobody should be using FTP for authenticated transfers any more. Use SFTP (part of SSH) instead. Works over a single port (22), so there’s much less messing about to set it up.

 As for unauthenticated transfers, those are most easily done over HTTP.


I don't really agree with this, but if it is your opinion... why not.

FTP using TLS is a good alternative, even more given that it provides better throuput of gigabits networks than ssh. But, yes, SSH is a damn great tool!

By: ROb

Dude, i guess you have no experiance settign up sftp, sftp requires much more work, each user must be in passwd file and have special perms and then also modding sshd config too. On a hosting company its way more risky and more time consuming than using tls with ftp.. makes much more sense... Just think what you would need to do if you had 500 users with sftp access!

By: Ibrahim

Simple, it just works..

Thank you.

By: Roman Glos

Hello, i have a little problem and i don´t find a sollution for this problem.

Filezilla Client does not seem to work with TLS 1.3.How can I change the TLS version? Unfortunately, I find nothing in google