I am working on Debian 8 - ran a series of automated system updates and now I am unable to connect to my local server running proFTPD.

I have made no changes to the client attempting to connect to the server.

I was connecting to the server on port 21 with no issues. Since my update when I try to connect in my usual way I get the following error:

ECONNREFUSED - Connection refused by server

From my research the error states my connection is being refused by a firewall or something of the like. However, I am not running any firewall, iptables is set to allow "all" - this is a local server.

I have checked the proFTPD error logs, and there are no errors logged.

I have ran proFTPD config check and status check, both return positive (it is running)

When I try to run

telnet localhost 21

the result is

connection refused

when I run

telnet localhost 22

I get a connection.

When I try to sftp into my server i get an authentication failed (probably because I haven't set up the keys)

I have checked the proFTPD config file and it is listening on port 21.

I have spent the day on this, seems like it would be easy to fix, however I'm having no luck.


How can I get back to using port 21 and just connect using normal ftp?



Further testing

ps -ef | grep proftpd

results show proftpd accepting connections


lsof -i : 21

shows nothing listening... so it looks like proftpd isn't actually listening for some reason

when checking port 22 it simply shows ssh

I read that proftpd may be blocked from listening on port 21 if something else is running.

fuser -n tcp 21

shows no other process attached to that port.

service proftpd status

returns "active (running)"

any other thoughts?

  • Try netstat -tulpn|grep 21 to see if there is actually a listener. – Julie Pelletier May 24 '16 at 6:35
  • @JuliePelletier I ran that command, blank response. So I'm guessing it isn't listening. How would I get it back up and running? – nomaam May 24 '16 at 6:48
  • 1
    If it's blank, it is not listening. Did you check the proftpd logs? – Julie Pelletier May 24 '16 at 6:53
  • @JuliePelletier yes. there are no errors at all. just starting and stopping (when i restart the server) – nomaam May 24 '16 at 6:56
  • Did you install it through inetd or standalone? – Julie Pelletier May 24 '16 at 7:04


I must have installed something which enabled secure ftp, and this somehow disabled the un-encrypted connection on port 21

In the proFTPD.conf file, at the very end, there was a directive to enable modules in conf.d folder

in the conf.d folder, there is sftpd.conf, asking to run secure ftp on port 2222

before making any changes I run

lsof -i :2222

the result is proFTPD is listening for a connection on port 2222. When I check port 21, nothing is listening for a connection.

I commented out the include line in proFTPD.conf

include /etc/proftpd/conf.d/

Then I restart proFTPD and now I can connect normally again. I have no idea why enabling secure ftp would disable normal ftp.

Hope this helps someone else... the amount of time wasted on this problem is unreal.

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