I'm running Ubuntu 12.04.1 LAMP server and I'm trying to get a user read write FTP access to /var/www.

First I've installed vsftpd and set write_enable=YES and chroot_local_user=YES in vsftpd.conf then I've added the following paragraph to /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

Subsystem sftp internal-sftp

Match group sftponly
ChrootDirectory %h
ForceCommand internal-sftp
AllowTcpForwarding no

As well as commenting out:

#Subsystem sftp /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server

After this I've restarted SSH and VSFTPD then set file permissions as follows on /var/www:

chown -R root /var/www
chgrp -R www-data /var/www

The first two set the user and group owner

chmod -R 775 /var/www

Then these define permissions (user and group have read, write and execute)

Then I create user and add them to the sftponly and www-data groups

adduser test
usermod -aG www-data test
usermod -aG www-data test

And set their home directory to /var/www

usermod -d /var/www test

Once this is done I can't connect with SFTP unless I do the following:

chmod g-w /var/www

Which means that www-data (and also my user) can't write to the www folder, but can write to all subsequent folders which isn't enough.

I can't change the user owner of the www folder either as that also prevents a successful connection with SFTP.

I just want to know why I can't connect with SFTP is the group has write access but can if it doesn't?

1 Answer 1


I have looked over the net, and have found some interesting thing: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2012/03/chroot-sftp-setup/

it says that your users homedir should be: / or you should have some symlinks in /var/www dir something like:

cd /var/www ; ln -s var . ; ln -s www .

because, user is chrooted, and searching for its homedir: /var/www in /var/www

hope it will help you.

  • If I set Chroot to /var then the home directory to /www I can connect, but the user can also browse the rest of /var which isn't desirable. I'll see if I can get it working with symbolic links. Jan 29, 2013 at 11:35

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