DigitalOcean Install FTP Server Debian: A Comprehensive Guide


Greetings, dear readers! In today’s world, where everything is digitized, the need for safe and secure data storage and transfer is paramount. One way to achieve that is through the use of a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server. In this article, we will guide you through the process of installing an FTP server on a DigitalOcean droplet using Debian – a popular Linux distribution known for its stability. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

What is an FTP server?

An FTP server is a software program that allows you to transfer files over the internet from one computer to another. It uses the FTP protocol, which is a standard for file transfers on the internet. An FTP server is most commonly used by businesses or organizations that need to transfer large files or data sets over a network.

What is DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers virtual private servers (VPS), also known as droplets, to individuals and businesses. It is known for its simple and user-friendly interface, as well as its affordable pricing plans.

Why use Debian?

Debian is one of the most popular Linux distributions for servers due to its stability, security, and ease of use. It is also known for its large repository of software packages, which makes it a great choice for installing an FTP server.


Before we begin, please ensure that you have the following:

A DigitalOcean Droplet
A droplet with Debian installed.
Root Access
You must have root access to your droplet.

DigitalOcean Install FTP Server Debian: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Update and upgrade your system

The first step before installing anything new on a Linux system is to ensure that its software is up to date. To do this, execute the following commands:

$ sudo apt update

$ sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install the FTP Server (vsftpd)

Now that the system is up to date, we can proceed to install the FTP server. In our case, we will be using vsftpd – a popular choice due to its simplicity and security. To install vsftpd, execute the following command:

$ sudo apt install vsftpd

Step 3: Configure the FTP server

After installing the FTP server, we will need to configure it. The configuration file for vsftpd is located at /etc/vsftpd.conf. We will need to edit this file to make some changes.

Step 3.1: Backup the original configuration file

Before making any changes, it is always a good idea to make a backup of the original configuration file:

$ sudo cp /etc/vsftpd.conf /etc/vsftpd.conf.orig

Step 3.2: Open the configuration file with a text editor

Next, we will open the /etc/vsftpd.conf file in a text editor. In this example, we will use nano:

$ sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf

Step 3.3: Configure the FTP server options

Now, we will make some changes to the configuration file:

Disable anonymous FTP access to prevent unauthorized access.
Enable local user access.
Allow authenticated users to upload files.
Restrict users to their home directory to prevent unauthorized access.

After making the changes, save the file and exit the text editor.

Step 4: Start and enable the FTP server

With the FTP server installed and configured, we can now start it and set it to run automatically on boot:

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$ sudo systemctl start vsftpd

$ sudo systemctl enable vsftpd

Step 5: Allow FTP traffic through the firewall

If you are using a firewall, you will need to allow FTP traffic through it. In our example, we will use ufw:

$ sudo ufw allow ftp

Step 6: Create FTP users

Finally, we can create FTP users who will be allowed to access the server. To create a user, execute the following command:

$ sudo adduser [username]

Replace [username] with the name of the user you wish to create.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using DigitalOcean to Install FTP Server Debian


1. User-Friendly Interface

DigitalOcean’s interface is simple and user-friendly, making it easy to set up and manage servers.

2. Affordable Pricing Plans

DigitalOcean offers affordable pricing plans, making it accessible to individuals and businesses alike.

3. Stable and Secure

Debian is known for its stability and security, making it a great choice for a server operating system.


1. Technical Knowledge Required

Installing and configuring an FTP server on DigitalOcean using Debian requires some technical knowledge, which may not be suitable for beginners.

2. Limited Support Options

DigitalOcean has limited support options, which can be a disadvantage for those who require extensive help or troubleshooting.

DigitalOcean Install FTP Server Debian: FAQs

1. What is a droplet in DigitalOcean?

A droplet is a virtual private server (VPS) offered by DigitalOcean. It is a scalable and customizable cloud computing platform.

2. Can I use other Linux distributions to install an FTP server on DigitalOcean?

Yes, you can use other Linux distributions, but Debian is recommended due to its stability and security.

3. What is vsftpd?

vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon) is a popular FTP server software known for its simplicity and security.

4. Can I use FTPS instead of FTP?

Yes, you can use FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS) instead of FTP for added security.

5. How can I access my FTP server from a remote computer?

You can access your FTP server from a remote computer using an FTP client software, such as FileZilla or WinSCP.

6. How can I troubleshoot FTP server connection issues?

Some common troubleshooting steps include checking your firewall settings, ensuring your username and password are correct, and checking your FTP server logs.

7. How can I secure my FTP server?

Some common security measures include disabling anonymous access, using strong passwords, and enabling FTPS.


Now that you’ve learned how to install an FTP server on DigitalOcean using Debian, you can transfer files safely and securely using the FTP protocol. Remember to follow best practices for security and performance, such as disabling anonymous access and using strong passwords. If you require further assistance, don’t hesitate to consult DigitalOcean’s documentation or seek help from the online community. Happy file transferring!

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not take responsibility for any damages or losses that may occur as a result of following the steps outlined in this guide. Please ensure that you have a backup of your data before making any changes to your system. Use this guide at your own risk and discretion.

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