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FreeNAS Tutorial Part 5 – FTP Server Setup



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The past couple of articles in our series of FreeNAS Server Build tutorials have covered how to stream your media to other devices. But what if instead of streaming content you wanted to copy the files to a remote location so you can access them at a later time?  In this tutorial, we will show you how to setup FreeNAS as an FTP server.

freenas linuxFTP is a simple yet robust solution for sharing files across a local network or across the Internet. The great thing about FTP is that it is cross-platform. You can easily download and upload files from your Linux, Mac, or PC. There are many FreeNAS FTP tutorials out there on the Web, but most of the ones we found were very simplistic and allowed anonymous logins. In this scenario, we will cover how to setup local user authentication, something that has caused issues for others in the past.

In order to complete this tutorial, you must have completed Part 1 and Part 2 to make sure that the FreeNAS Operating System, discs, and permissions have the basic setup.  Just getting started?  Go download FreeNAS and catch up!

Let’s get started then!


Grant User Access to FTP Server

1. Login to your FreeNAS web-administration console

2. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Access’ tab

3. Click on the ‘Users and Groups’ menu item


4. Click on the ‘wrench’ icon next to the user you would like to give FTP access to


5. Under the ‘Additional group’ section, click on the ‘ftp’ group menu item

a. Note: clicking on a group in this menu will unselect any previous groups that may have been selected. To avoid this, hold the ‘CTRL’ key on a PC keyboard or the ‘Command’ key on an Apple Mac keyboard


6. Click on the ‘Save’ button

7. On the ‘Access | Users’ page, click on the ‘Apply changes’ button

Continue on to the FTP Service Setup

8. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Services’ tab

9. Click on the ‘FTP’ menu item


10. Click on the ‘Enable’ checkbox to select this item

11. In the ‘Local users only’ section, click on the ‘Only allow authenticated users…’ checkbox

12. In the ‘Default root’ section, check the ‘chroot() everyone…’ checkbox


13. Scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on the ‘Save and Restart’ Button

Connecting to Your New FTP Server

You can use your favorite FTP client, file browser window, or even a command-line or shell to connect to your new server. Listed below are a few examples

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window
  2. In the address bar, type in ‘ftp://’ then the IP address of your server


3.  When prompted, type in your user name and password

4.  Click on the ‘Log On’ button

5.  You should now see your FTP share


6. As previously mentioned, you can also access your FTP server from the command prompt

7. Run ‘cmd.exe’

8.  When you see the shell, type ‘ftp’ and the ip address of your server

a. Ex: ftp

9.  When prompted type your username and hit the ‘Enter’ key

10. When prompted type your password and hit the ‘Enter’ key

11.  You should now be logged into your FTP server from the command prompt!


That was pretty easy right? Well you may not know it, but there are many forum posts on other sites from individuals expressing their frustration setting up FTP within their  FreeNAS server. If you run into problems yourself, please feel free to let us know if you have any questions by using the ‘Comments’ feature below.


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About the Author

John ReyesJohn, a seasoned IT professional working in the field since the Dot-Com Era, currently works as a system engineer for a large health care organization. In addition to his full time job, John also specializes in small business consulting, data recovery, forensics and freelance writing. He is also very active in the open-source community. When he’s not in front of a computer, you’ll usually find him mountain biking on a hill somewhere.View all posts by John Reyes

  1. Tom Abell
    Tom Abell02-09-2011

    Great Job on this series John! I'm telling you everyone, if you want to know something about FreeNAS or any number of other platforms, John is a great resource!

  2. HHoltman

    Thank you for the complete series on FreeNAS!

  3. douglasawh

    on beta 3 of 8.0.1 you need to do some filesystem permission changing to get this to work if you have multiple users. In the short term I added the other admins to the "me" group so when I upload stuff they can move it if necessary.

  4. Matt

    Thanks for the guide. I am having real trouble with this, I am a complete noob to FreeNas and not very experienced with routers. I have setup a port forward for 21 (FTP Port) and setup FreeNas 8 as you have described here, but some where along the line I can't get it to work. I have used "Open Port Check Tool" and it is showing that port 21 is still closed. I have tried FileZilla and used the wizard and that comes up saying unexpected reply. Any help would be great, I don't need FTP but it would be useful and it is a little project for me, but it is turning into a head ache and a big one at that.

  5. John Reyes
    John Reyes09-23-2011

    Hey There Matt. I haven't setup FTP on FreeNAS 8 yet. It is slated for an upcoming article, but let me try to help you any way. Are you trying to access your FreeNAS server outside of your local area network? Are you accessing it from the Net? If so, you may need to setup a NAT rule on your router to point to your server.

    Let's try this. Try accessing your server via FTP when both your client and server are on the same network. Did it work? If so, that means your FreeNAS FTP server is setup correctly. If not, can you please try your 'Open Port Check Tool' to see if the port is opening. You can also type the following command into a command prompt or shell and see if you get a response: "telnet"

  6. Andy

    I am trying to find out how to give ftp users access to multiple mounts. It looks like it will only add the one. Is there a trick to figuring this out?

    Any help would be great

  7. kobie

    John, thank you for the very nice series on FreeNAS. I am going to build my NAS next month using an HP microserver and FreeNAS.
    You answered my one question about DLNA support 😉
    Now i wanted to ask if you can please do a tutorial on automatically downloading torrents using your FreeNAS box – like some commercial NAS boxes do (i think Dlink Blackarmor..)
    Many thanks

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