Background: My manager would like me to create an administration account for out FTP server. When logged in via ftp, it should instantly display all of the home directories of the users, and be able to modify any directory or file in any way possible.

What would be the best way to go about this? I planned on chrooting this ftp admin to /home, but I don't know how to properly go about the permissions. Maybe make a group called ftp_admins, and chgrp the /home folder? But then wouldn't it affect the users accessing their folders?

any help is appreciated.

  • 1
    Any reason why logging in via ssh and switching to root is no good? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 13 '10 at 13:26
  • He wants this ftp administrator account. He's a windows user. Good luck teaching him any Linux commands. – RHELAdmin May 13 '10 at 13:34
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    If he can't be arsed to learn how to do the job properly then he shouldn't be doing it. But that's just my opinion. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 13 '10 at 13:41

this is a very very pointy haired thing to want to do, you should inform your manager that the internet thinks so.

easiest way to accomplish this is by starting from scratch.

create a directory /ftphome/ or something. assign ownership of that directory to manager, chown boss.boss /ftphome/ make user directories under that, and assign ownership of username.boss to give group ownership to the boss group.

then set the umask in vsftpd to 007 to ensure all new files are created 770 (it's a mask...), granting anyone in the group 'boss' read/write/execute


Your plan of putting them in a common group is probably the best one. Most of the time a user doesn't need to check their group membership for files and directories under their home directory, so that won't interfere.

One thing that could be a problem is that new directories won't have the proper permissions to make files accessible to said admin user. You'd have to either detect creation of these directories and modify their permissions, or you'd have to have a script that modifies permissions be executed by cron periodically.

Another thing that could be an issue is that since these files are owned by the user in question, it will be possible for them to modify the permissions on their own, thereby making them inaccessible to the admin user.


Ended up scrapping vsftpd because it doesn't support virtual quotas with virtual users anyhow. Using pure-ftpd solved all my problems and it comes with a pure-uploadscript tool which will run a script on each uploaded file. My current script changes each file to be owned by the ftpadmin user.

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