Some users can ssh correctly, others don't. I have an admin user, which is in wheel. I used vsftpd for allowing FTP. I created a nologin user for FTP. Call this user "ftpuser". Now I want to allow sftp. It allows me to connect using admin user. I remove the nologin, by giving the user a shell via usermod -s /bin/bash ftpuser. It still doesn't allow me to connect from the ftpuser via sftp. The content of /home/ftpuser/.ssh is just the known_hosts file which contains "localhost" entry only.

User permissions are (in theory) ok:

ls -la /home
    working (admin)     : drwx------ 18 admin  admin 4096 Feb  6 15:33 admin
    non-working(ftpuser): drwx------  3 ftpuser ftp   4096 Mar 26 15:25 ftpuser

I haven't configured anything special on openssh. Does the ftpuser need anything extra than shell to enter via ssh?

  • 1
    What does /var/log/auth.log say about both users? Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 17:01
  • Maybe a side note, but I think it's better practice to use FTPS with TLS. Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 17:04
  • 1
    Or /var/log/secure on RHEL/CentOS.
    – cjc
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 17:06
  • @LucasKauffman Why do you think FTPS is better than SFTP/SCP? Considering the greater use of SSH/SFTP/SCP, better client support, more flexibility, and the advantage of all access being across a single port, I'd lean very heavily towards SFTP/SCP almost every time. About the only thing I think FTP is even remotely good for (encrypted or not) is for file distribution via anonymous FTP. Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


/var/log/auth.log will give you more details.

There are a few things that could be wrong. I'd start by checking the permissions on the /home/ftpuser/.ssh directory. OpenSSH may refuse to let you login if the permissions on that directory are incorrect (since malicious people could put public keys in there if you allow write access)

Try connecting with just ssh instead of sftp to see if it's a problem with sftp itself.

Also check your SSHd config file to see if there are restrictions on who is allowed to login. It may be limited to users in wheel.

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