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Guidelines on how to set up FTP Server on Ubuntu VPS

To set up the FTP server on Ubuntu VPS servers you will need a vsftpd server as this is the most secure and fastest FTP server for the UNIX systems. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and this is basically for sending and receiving files across networks. The FTP allows the users to share their files from remote computers through an efficient, secure and reliable transfer, using IP/TCP protocols. So, the FTP basically works in the same manner as does the SMTP or the HTTP. The only point of difference being that this is responsible for the safe transfer of files from senders to receivers rather than web pages from server to users or emails across the Internet.

- Installing Vsftpd: The very first step involves getting package updates before installing the vsftpd. You need to wait for the processes to get completed and then you can see a confirmation once all updates are done. Following this, you can start to set up the vsftpd server after which you get a confirmation message that will require you to click on "Y" followed by Enter. When the installation is over, you must create backups of original files to ensure that you can begin working with a blank file for configuration.

- Allowing FTP traffic from the firewall: The FTP server must interact with the outside and therefore it has to go past the firewall. So, you first have to check whether a firewall is activated on the machine. When you realize that there is no firewall installed, you may continue with installation process. But if the output reveals that there is a firewall active, you must find out whether FTP will work or not.

- Creating the user directory: It is the third important step in installing the FTP server on Ubuntu. You will have to choose the user who is going to get FTP access. So, you can begin by adding new users for which you may have to give a password and provide details. The FTP should ideally be limited to one directory for security reasons. The vsftpd will use chroot for this and with this enabled; the local user will be confined to the home directory only. You can create a file holding directory and then assign ownership of this. You may add test files to this directory which you can use later on for testing purposes.

- Configuring the vsftpd: In the next step of building a FTP server on the Ubuntu VPS you have to configure the vsftpd and the FTP access. So, you can choose a single user for connecting with the FTP through a local account. The main configurations which you need for this have already been mentioned in the vsftpd configuration file. You must verify that this configuration file contains settings that match using nano command.  You may need to add some values and this can be done by pasting them at the file's bottom. A user sub token is generated which them lets the configuration work with both the current user and all other users that are added later on. There is a userlist_deny flag which when set to the "No" option will only give access to users who have been specified in the list. You can then press on Ctrl+X to save the changes thus made.

- Making FTP secure: It is the next step since the FTP will not carry out any data encryption. Therefore, TTL and SSL are used for making data safe. You need to create an appropiate SSL certificate and then use this for securing this Ubuntu FTP server. When the certificate has been made you will have to reopen the configuration file and ensure that there are two lines starting with "_rsa" at the end. You must point this configuration file to this SSL certificate you have created. Thereafter, you can enable the certificate and make sure that only the clients who have SSL active can contact you.

Finally, you must test the connections using Filezilla. Today, most of the FTP clients will use TLS encryption configurations and this is the best way to test to see if the FTP server works like it is supposed to. You can use Filezilla FTP client for testing the connection. So, you must launch Filezilla and click on a "Site Manager" icon. You must then choose "New Site" option to start entering all Ubuntu FTP server information. Once ready you can click on the "Connect" option and you will view a screen which asks you to enter the user password for the FTP. In the end, you must verify this SSL certificate.

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