Virtual Hosting With PureFTPd And MySQL (Incl. Quota And Bandwidth Management) On Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

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Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 11/24/2010

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.

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 tutorial is based on Ubuntu 10.10. You should already have set up a basic Ubuntu 10.10 server system, as described in the first eight chapters of this tutorial:

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 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:

aptitude 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 10.10 there is a pre-configured pure-ftpd-mysql package available. Install it like this:

aptitude 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 pureftpd database:

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 you can access phpMyAdmin under (you can also use the IP address instead of 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 as MYSQLCrypt 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

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7 Comment(s)

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From: Anthony at: 2011-01-28 00:48:25

In the mysql db and table... are 3 blocks -first "creating" DB block... the second block <code>USE pureftpd; </code>...bellows to the end of who, DB or the 3 block ->table of database pureftpd that we created in first block ?

Why my concern, cuz I do entry all data manually in phpmydmin, and there is Alert msg saying that <cite>The indexes PRIMARY and User seem to be equal and one of them could possibly be removed</cite>... thanks for any suggestion and keep-up fellows :p

From: Carlos at: 2011-12-17 02:07:09

I think the text for step 5-Configure PureFTPd has some errors that prevent PureFTPd from starting. I tried starting my server and I got an error message saying that mysql.conf was invalid. I deleted the text and I thought I would just paste again... but nooooo... Putty SSH would not let me paste in Ubuntu... anyway... I ended up manually inputting the text back in the file, which is when I found the errors:

  1. Make sure that ALL the "Y" in the MYSQL[...] variables are capitalized. (I don't know if this is actually an issue, but I noticed that all the other ones before MYSQLGetBandwidthUL had the "y" in uppercase)
  2. Starting from MYSQLGetGID and down, make sure you add a space between User="\L" and the word "AND"; i.e.

MYSQLGetGID SELECT Gid WHERE User="\L"-AND-status="1" AND (ipaccess="*" OR ipaccess LIKE "\R")

 Remove the dashes, they are just there to indicate the error. Hope this helps someone!

From: alek at: 2011-03-08 16:23:43

It works!

There are no mistakes.


From: at: 2011-06-04 03:00:23


Thank you for writing up this excellent tutorial. I too have implemented it and also incorporated clam anti virus with pureftpd. This truly is an excellent tutorial, but I would like to suggest that the contents of this link be merged into your tutorial:

The steps taken in your tutorial work fine for internal networks, but a few more steps need to take place before you can use it from a server behind a home router.

In particular, I found that I had to forward ports to the internal IP address of my Linux server in order to get the passive FTP working: for example, 5000 5050.

I then had to run the following commands when logged in as the root user defined on my system:


root@box:/etc/pure-ftpd/conf# echo ,21 > Bind
root@box:/etc/pure-ftpd/conf# echo xx.xx.xx.xx > ForcePassiveIP
root@box:/etc/pure-ftpd/conf# echo 5000 5050 > PassivePortRange

In the case above, I had to force the the PassiveIP address to match the external IP address of my router.

Once I had restarted PureFTPD, my customer was able to upload files to me without any problem.

Please keep up the great work and tutorials!

From: Santiago Barros at: 2012-02-22 11:04:04

I just tested this configuration in Ubuntu 11.10 and it works perfectly fine! Thanks a lot.... ;-)

From: GodXen at: 2012-04-10 19:59:07

Hello, first of all i want to thank you for such a good lesson\guide. Thats what i was looking several days. It works perfect talking about ftp side. Somewhy my phpmyadmin page doesnt loads im getting : Not Found The requested URL /phpmyadmin/ was not found on this server. Apache/2.2.20 (Ubuntu) Server at Port 80 If you could comment me why i cant reach it would be nice, thanks in advice. GodXen

From: at: 2012-10-19 18:43:31

but dont forget now from repository instals mysql 5.5.~ 

so change  in 4 step