I've been googling for my answers for a good few hours and I can't seem to get a direct answer to my questions. I have found many tutorials but many are vague.


I've recently setup VSFTPD on my server. I'm running CentOS 6.4 (if that makes any difference). I have created the user 'test' using useradd and it can login successfully (with SSH and FTP) However this is what I'm looking to do:

Create users (with useradd) to use with VSFTPD and disable SSH for them. With these user(s) restrict them to their web directory (e.g. /var/www/domain/example.com) so they can login with FTP and upload, edit, delete and create directories with in the example.

For reference this is my configuration file:









chroot_local_user=YES chroot_list_enable=YES


pam_service_name=vsftpd userlist_enable=YES tcp_wrappers=YES

Many thanks. Apologises if my explanation isn't descriptive enough. I'm not sure how to word it.

  • To disable users in SSHD, use the whitelist function : AllowUsers followed by a list of allowed usernames.
    – NickW
    Nov 4, 2013 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


I'm presuming you're mostly asking how to prevent a user being able to use SSH as - as far as I can tell - your vsftpd config should be good to go based on the chroot_local_user option being set to yes.

You can simply change the user's shell to something like /bin/false (make sure to add it to /etc/shells to prevent possible problems with the ftp server) and your user will be able to authenticate to SSH but they'll just get dumped back out.

Alternatively you could use AllowUsers/DenyUsers in /etc/ssh/sshd_config - but this could require updating the ssh config every time you change who's allowed to login, whereas you can set the user's shell to /bin/false with your useradd command by using

useradd -s /bin/false <everything else>

Then if you later want to grant them SSH access you can just use usermod to change their shell to bash (for example).

  • Thank you. This solves half of my problem. I now need to know how to restrict users to a directory and not be able to go out of it. Do you know how I can restrict a user to a directory and not have them be able to go above it ?
    – Matthew
    Nov 4, 2013 at 17:58
  • Over ftp? Isn't chroot_local_user for that?
    – Phil
    Nov 4, 2013 at 22:03
  • Are you sure they're using ftp to login and not sftp? And did you restart vsftpd after making config changes?
    – Phil
    Nov 4, 2013 at 22:06

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