root FTP user, how?

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#1 Sat, 07/02/2011 - 08:18

root FTP user, how?


I've been googling lots of forum threads still can't find a simple answer to my question.

How do I create a root a user that can read/write/change ALL files through FTP, including files in the folder /etc/?

Greetings Fredrik-s

Sat, 07/02/2011 - 09:30


The only user that could do that is the root user. However, that's considered a huge security risk to allow root to login via FTP, since FTP is a plaintext protocol. The bad guys could sniff your password, and then login as your root user.

Because of that, all the FTP services come with root login disabled.

However, you could always login as root via SFTP, using a tool such as WinSCP. That would be a bit more secure, and allow you to edit all the files on your system.


Sat, 07/02/2011 - 09:56 (Reply to #2)

Thanks for answer Eric,

I just need to edit one thing and then no more. So it is just for a temporary change. How do I enable the root to login through FTP?

Sat, 07/02/2011 - 10:34

Why not editing that one thing via SSH login? :) Or through the Webmin file manager/editor module, for that matter. That's much faster and safer done than fiddling with ProFTPD's settings.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 01:31 (Reply to #4)

I have also been searching for this answer for months. Google searches repeatedly bring this page up in top results for granting root FTP access on Virtualmin/Webmin boxes. If you know how to accomplish, please share your knowledge. In the time you spent beating around the bush with the other user, you could have provided more meaningful information.

I need to know how to enable FTP for the root user. I run several development servers behind a firewall. They are hosted on a LAN and accessed via the same LAN. They are completely inaccessible from the internet. Please do not respond by trying to save me from myself. Inadvertent self destruction, painful hours researching, and hours of reworking things that you broke are AMAZING learning tools. Do NOT deprive me of my opportunity to break something.

Again, if you know how to grant the root user with FTP access, please share your knowledge. Many thanks.

Sat, 07/20/2013 - 06:14 (Reply to #5)

Sorry if too late, because i'm new guy in virtualmin. i have also having problem with ftp here my solution : goto virtualmin>system setting>server template>default setting>apache website >Permissions on website subdirectory 0750 change to 0755 and refresh modules on webmin it work for me now i can upload etc via ftp.

for super user maybe you go to virtualmin>limit and validation>FTP Directory Restrictions

but honestly i do know about security issue, but for now this is solution for me.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 06:41

Being unfriendly is indeed the recommended way to get help here.

During all those hours of experimenting and breaking stuff, you didn't arrive at the idea to look through the ProFTPD module in Webmin? You'll find the necessary options there to enable FTP root access. And if you ask nicely, I might even tell you which those are.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:47

Sorry, I also have to ask. Why not use sftp (which is different from ftps) instead ftp? All "ftp" apps can handle it, configuration is basically identical (just a different port). I am just asking out of curiosity (and not to convince you not to use ftp).

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 04:37

@helpmin: Mmh, I think you're both mixing things up there, and are not 100% correct. :)

For one, what you probably mean to be "identical" to FTP is FTPS. That's FTP over SSL. SFTP on the other hand is file transfer over SSH, which is considerably different.

Also, FTPS is not completely identical to FTP. On the client end maybe, but on server side you need to set up certificates and stuff. So it is somewhat more complicated.

Aside from that: Well if you have a server in your LAN which is not accessible from the outside, I guess it's okay to use FTP, also for root. Not a lot can go wrong then. :) Although I personally use Samba for file management, especially in the LAN. It's much more comfortable than FTP.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 04:53

I only talked about ftp clients like winscp. Instead host and port 21 in Winscp you just use host port 22 and you have a secure connection (without configuring TLS etc). But my wording could have been better, I agree :-)

And to answer my own question, there is one reason. FTP is much fast than SCP.


I like sshfs

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:49

WinSCP can do all of that, that's right. But not "all FTP apps", like you said, support SFTP. :) On the contrary. Usually, an FTP app does FTP(S), and that's it. WinSCP on the other hand is primarily an SFTP app, which happens to also support plain old FTP.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:37
  1. Go to Webmin
  2. Open module ProFTPD Server
  3. Open Denied FTP Users
  4. Remove root
  5. Opne Authentication
  6. Enable Allow login by root
  7. Save configuration
  8. Reboot FTP server
Tue, 10/29/2013 - 15:01 (Reply to #12)

Ok! I've just follow your clear indications and find a very good issue of my problem.

And it's really nothing to tell you THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

Now i gonna read more about this and so much more else virtualmin, webmin and ubuntu server 12....

Thank you very much Angel Holyfield !!!

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 16:11

We really do highly discourage this :-)

Using the user 'root' via FTP is highly insecure, is dangerous, and unnecessary, as one can simply use tools like WinSCP over SSH to securely administer a server.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 16:45 (Reply to #14)

Of course it's insecure on CERTAIN cases!. Not ALWAYS!

I'm not arguing about the security, only showing how to enable/dsiable certain functionality over Webmin/Virtualmin, thats all.

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 10:54

Hi, I have a problem with ftp. I'm using wordpress, today if we want to update plugin, activate plugin in wordpress, we have to put FTP information, while in Virtual min is disabled. What is the solution?

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:04
Welshman's picture

Try the Limits and Validation area, Validate Virtual Servers and the the Fix Permissions tab, choose the domain in question and fix. Sounds like you installed WP as root and your domain owner is being rejected.

Also regarding the earlier question always use sftp as root, winscp is fine. If your using Ubuntu you will need to edit a file for that to work.

Chaos Reigns Within, Reflect, Repent and Reboot, Order Shall Return.

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