How to install Pure-FTPd on Virtualmin GPL?

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#1 Mon, 02/02/2009 - 19:42

How to install Pure-FTPd on Virtualmin GPL?

Hello! I've been using cPanel systems for years and lately I've been testing the water with Virtualmin to see if it has all the features I need with the hope to switch to it eventually (to save cost and take advantage of new things it has to offer). One of the features I really liked and can't miss is the ability to use Pure-FTPd. I believe it's not officially supported here, but I was wondering if anyone has done it and don't mind sharing some hints and tricks on how to go about it? (I can't believe Virtualmin doesn't use it! or does it?) I have latest Virtualmin GPL installed on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and I know if I try to install Pure-FTPd the apt-get way, it'd uninstall ProFTPd and Virtualmin. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 03:34


Within the Virtualmin it's immpossible ATM. I'm wondering if it's possible to force virtulmin to work with pure-ftpd at all. Probably without some additional work from the vendor side, it's not. I really want to be wrong on this one;-)


Tue, 02/03/2009 - 08:31 (Reply to #2)


I don't know much at all about Pure-FTPd, does it offer anything interesting that ProFTPd does not?

I think the Virtualmin guys support ProFTPd since it's what RHEL/CentOS provide with their distro, and it's also readily available for Ubuntu and Debian.

And it seems to work reasonably well as an FTP server ;-)

That said -- at least in the way I use FTP, Virtualmin doesn't need to interact with my ProFTP config. ProFTP runs, and Virtualmin adds FTP users. I'm not using IP-based hosting for FTP or anything.

(untested thought upcoming!)

If you're able to setup PureFTP the way you want on your own, you may very well be able to simply disable ProFTP in System Settings -> Features and Plugins, and just deal with any FTP configuration by hand.

You should be able to disable ProFTP from starting up at boot time, and install PureFTP without uninstalling Virtualmin or ProFTP.

Again, I haven't tried the above, so your milage may vary, but I suspect that could work just fine!

And if it doesn't, just yell, that may be fixable :-)

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 12:35 (Reply to #3)
Joe's picture

<div class='quote'>I think the Virtualmin guys support ProFTPd since it's what RHEL/CentOS provide with their distro, and it's also readily available for Ubuntu and Debian.</div>

Actually, this is a rare case where we replace the &quot;default&quot; package with one of our own (which is vsftpd on RHEL/CentOS). I don't like doing so, but users were quite emphatic about wanting ProFTPd. It's pretty standard in the hosting industry, having been around for a billion years.

I'll point out that Virtualmin doesn't really do much with the FTP server once it's configured, so as long as Pure FTPd works with normal users like ProFTPd (or vsftpd), it shouldn't be too much effort to make it work. But I don't know, as I've never used it.


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Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:49 (Reply to #4)

Of course we are talking about set up where Pure-FTPd daemon and user accounts are managed via virtualmin.

You asked what Pure has, what Pro hasn't. For me it's a pure-uploadscript(8). Maybe there is something like that in Pro and I'm not aware of it? If so, please let me know! I use pure-uploadscript(8) for scanning files which were just uploaded on the server seeking for viruses and malware. This feature is crucial to me.

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:53 (Reply to #5)

Well, I'm not suggesting you manually deal with adding and managing users -- so long as PureFTP supports handling logins via something like PAM (which might authenticate against /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow), it would likely work just fine.

The only thing you'd be doing manually is configuring PureFTP's config file, which is something you'd only need to do once.

But, I'll poke around a little to see if ProFTP has something like what you mentioned.

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 12:00 (Reply to #6)

In poking around a little, there's someone here who made a ClamAV module for ProFTPd:

I can't speak to the quality of the module, how it will effect your server, Virtualmin, or whether it works as advertised. However, it sounds as if it may do what you're looking for, I think :-)

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 12:56

First, thank you guys for your quick replies!

One of the features I really like in Pure-FTPd is the &quot;virtual chroot&quot; feature where it allows symbolic links to be followed even when users are chrooted. This allows the FTP users to share files easily.

I believe this feature cannot be accomplished by non-priviledged users in ProFTPd. You'd either have to be root and mount every directory you want to share (the fstab file will get big and messy very quickly), or not chroot the users (this exposes extra files/directories to them unnecessarily).

Wed, 02/04/2009 - 09:52 (Reply to #8)
Joe's picture

<div class='quote'>One of the features I really like in Pure-FTPd is the &quot;virtual chroot&quot; feature where it allows symbolic links to be followed even when users are chrooted. This allows the FTP users to share files easily.</div>

Sounds dangerous, to me. But, FTP, in general, seems dangerous to me. I'm weird that way. ;-)

It's not something that we've had any significant number of requests for (I think you're only the third or fourth person to ever mention it, and in all other cases, ProFTPd could be configured to do what folks were after), so we're probably not going to tackle it any time soon. But, building in full support for it would not be all that hard, if you've ever done any Perl scripting. You could start with the vsftpd plugin module for Virtualmin and go from there--it would probably only take a couple of days to convert it to handling Pure FTPd. (And, of course, we're around to help if you have any questions during development...there is an oft-neglected Developers forum here, where I would love to do more talking, but not a lot of conversation going on over there).


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Wed, 02/04/2009 - 11:48

Also, performance wise, I always felt that Pure-FTPd and vsftpd were much more responsive than ProFTPd. I've used ProFTPd for some time too, until cPanel developers added Pure-FTPd option so I tested it, really liked it, switched and never looked back..

I agree that FTP is insecure, but it is probably safer than giving someone a SSH account... and a chrooted FTP is just as safe as, if not safer than, a regular FTP account just like jailed/chrooted SSH vs regular SSH.

I've done C++/C#/Java/PHP for years and currently working full time with C++/C#. I'm not experienced with Perl, but I can probably pick it up without too much trouble. Do you have any developer documentations I can look at? (The vsftpd plug-in code didn't seem very trivial to me)

Mon, 04/05/2010 - 15:53
Francewhoa's picture

The Webmin module 'Pure-FTPd' is able to do that. Read more at

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