I have approximately 30 users on a box. Those users are in overlapping groups(about 6-10 groups). I need them to be able to land in a specific folder based on their group assignment when they FTP in.

I.e., group1 -> /tmp/site1 group2 -> /tmp/site2

Is this at all possible with VSFTP on a SuSE box? Using SFTP isn't an option unfortunately.


EDIT: And in the event of a user being in several groups, just dumping them to the highest-level folder necessary to view the various folders they have access to.

3 Answers 3


You can create a chroot list with vsftpd.conf

see help instructions here: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-networking-3/vsftpd-chroot-problem-387883/

I think you are looking for this snippet of information:

All the users belonging to ftp-users group goes into /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff by default when they login. They cannot navigate in other directories and are restricted to this particular directory.

You do this:

Create a directory by issuing the following command as root:

mkdir -p /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff

Then do this:-

chgrp ftp-users /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff chmod 3777 /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff

In the /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf write this chroot_list_enable=YES chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd.chroot_list

Put all you ftp-users group userś name in /etc/vsftpd.chroot_list Then in the /etc/passwd file make the home directory of all the users belonging to ftp-users group to /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff. Then do the following:

service vsftpd restart

Then login via any user belonging to ftp-users group you will lend into /home/ftp-docs/ftp_stuff. You cant go to the other higher level directories.

you can create multiple entries in the list for multiple groups. the order in which those groups are in the list file will dictate their highest directory I believe.

Hope that helps. Thomas


There are a few options.

  1. Set the user's home directoy to the needed directory (in /etc/passwd) and configure group membership, and configure vsftpd to chroot them into their home folder.

    echo chroot_local_user=YES >> /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

    If they actually need local access for some reason, then things get a little more complicated, which brings me to #2.

  2. Lock users to their home folder as in #1, but do not change their home folders in /etc/passwd. Instead add a mount point to the directories they need access to inside the home folder.

    mount --bind /tmp/site1 /home/ftp_user/site1

This one requires an extra click by the users, but allows for the home directory to be correctly set.

Additionally, I would run a daily cron job to double check membership and adjust the home folder/mount point in the event that group membership has changed.


a scenario like this would be perfectly suited to proftpd+mod_mysql, it would allow you to

  1. manage users easily via mysql, since i doubt handling 30 or even more shell users to be very comfortable
  2. set home directories, groups for users based on data in a table
  3. modify the query used by proftpd to retrieve information from the user database, so you can do conditional tasks like you suggtested (overlapping groups, which home to choose)
  4. monitor usage, bandwidth via mysql
  5. be able to scale to much more users than 30 with ease
  6. use your user data table for other administrative tasks requiring lookup or modification of user data
  7. have all of that data displayed in a nice gui or web-dashboard

All of that is only possible if you are switching to proftpd, but since you are obviously not using this in production yet it wouldn't be that big of a deal i guess

  • Switching to proftpd is not a viable option for our environment. We're operating in a federal environment with standards. Unfortunately, I am constrained to using vsftp. Thanks for the suggestion though. Edit: And adding something like mod_mysql to this environment is not a simple process. It would require dozens of approvals and weeks or MORE of planning.
    – Publiccert
    Mar 2, 2012 at 15:14

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