So far I have been unable to keep an FTP user jailed to their website directory. Is there a solution that both fixes this bug and keeps the user jailed to their directory?

My vsFTPd settings that I changed:

Set: anonymous_enable=NO
Uncomment: local_enable=YES
Uncomment: write_enable=YES
Uncomment: local_umask=022
Set: connect_from_port_20=NO
Uncomment: idle_session_timeout=600
Uncomment: data_connection_timeout=120
Comment out: #ftpd_banner=Welcome to blah FTP service. [should be on line 104]
Added: banner_file=/etc/issue.net
Uncomment: chroot_local_user=YES
Uncomment: chroot_local_user=YES
Uncomment: chroot_list_enable=YES
Uncomment : chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd.chroot_list

At the end of the file I added:

# Show hidden files and the "." and ".." folders.
# Useful to not write over hidden files:

# Hide the info about the owner (user and group) of the files.

# Connection limit for each IP address:

# Maximum number of clients:

# FTP Passive Settings
#If your listen_port is 9000 set this range to 7500 and 8500
pasv_min_port=[port range min]
pasv_max_port=[port range max]

The user in question, mybloguser, is jailed to her/his website directory under /srv/www/myblog and this user is not part of the nano /etc/vsftpd.chroot_list file. The user’s home directory is also /srv/www/myblog which used to work in the past.

I tried the allow_writeable_chroot=YES solution which did not work, and actually broke vsFTPd completely.

I have tried:

How can we both fix this error and keep the user jailed to their home directory?


11 Answers 11



  1. Go to: /etc/vsftpd.conf
  2. and add this:


    Just add it if it does not exist yet.

  3. Restart the vsftpd service:

    service vsftpd restart

And it should work.

  • 5
    The questioner actually states that he already tried this and it did not work, so this is not an answer to his question.
    – Requist
    Dec 15, 2014 at 18:01
  • 6
    Where can I read about the security implications of this choice?
    – flickerfly
    Jun 19, 2015 at 21:09
  • worked for me (this was also mentioned in the comment of the accepted answer)
    – Sverre
    Feb 11, 2016 at 12:13
  • worked right away. Thanks. Oct 1, 2021 at 1:06
  • Worked like a champ!
    – Martin
    Jun 13, 2022 at 23:28

The real solution of this problem: the home folder of the user should not be writable only readable.

So, if user site is in the folder is cat/example.com/http/, folder cat must have chmod 555 and all will be OK.

  • 15
    That makes no sense. The user's directory should not be writeable??? Jul 5, 2013 at 22:53
  • 8
    How exactly is the user supposed to UPLOAD files if they can't write?!
    – Cerin
    Aug 5, 2013 at 20:03
  • It works well for an anonymous ftp without upload rights, thanks!
    – palacsint
    Mar 29, 2014 at 11:45
  • 7
    This works perfectly! Just create an home for the user with chmod 555 and then, inside that, create a home for the website (or websites), with chmod 755 or the one you need: everything will work and the user will have write permissions. Nov 10, 2014 at 9:59

After further review of this post, in the comments a package was posted that fixed my issue. You can search for it by either my name or "Marks" Documentation: http://www.benscobie.com/fixing-500-oops-vsftpd-refusing-to-run-with-writable-root-inside-chroot/. Here are my details of how I fixed this further.


# ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# SETUP FTP USERS --------------------------------------------------------------
# ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

# create the ftp users and lock them to the website directories
useradd -d /srv/www/[website/appname] -m [ftp user name]

# set the ftp account passwords
passwd [ftp user name]

# add the ftp users to the www-data user/group
adduser [ftp user name] www-data

# BUG FIX: 500 OOPS: vsftpd: refusing to run with writable root inside chroot()
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thefrontiergroup/vsftpd
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vsftpd

# Edit the vsftpd.conf and append this setting to the end of the file to keep users' jailed!
nano /etc/vsftpd.conf

# add all of the text between the starting [[ and ending ]]
# [[

# Keep non-chroot listed users jailed

# ]]

# restart the service for changes to take effect
sudo service vsftpd restart

#test ftp via secondary terminal window:
ftp [ftp user name]@[server ipaddress] [ftp port]
  • 13
    Please Note: Chris's solution will add a third-party package server to your repository list! Why install a secure, chrooted FTP server when you blindly accept foreign software packages to be installed on your system. (Chris: I don't think that you will take advantage, but using this solution IMHO is bad sysadmining)
    – reto
    May 21, 2013 at 11:38
  • 1
    do you have a better approach to solving this dilemma @reto? It has been a small mess to solve. THank you for your help. Jun 6, 2013 at 7:00
  • if there's an updated package from the distribution I would try to use that. Most distributions provide backports for older releases. If thats not possible I'd get the source from the original developer and build it myself. If there's a patch floating around I might apply it (usually they are small and can manually be checked).
    – reto
    Jun 6, 2013 at 8:48
  • 2
    This Thread has 12'000 views, lets assume that 5% use your solution and added your repo. You could easily add a new version of a core package with a backdoor integrated. Within a week you could have access to 600 systems out there. I don't think that you would do that, but adding third-party repo is just not very safe.
    – reto
    Jun 6, 2013 at 8:51
  • 1
    I didn't need to update from repo. For me adding the line "allow_writeable_chroot=YES" fixed the bug
    – abumalick
    Dec 28, 2013 at 6:11

According to the previous answer "The REAL solution of this problem: the home folder of the user should not be writable only read.". The general thinking is right, but with a wrong realization.

Below I'll try to give a simple example:

For a start, we need to build a topology of the user directory:

 /home (ro)
   |-someuser (rw,700)
         |-ftp_upload (ro,555)  - ch_rooting here, required read-only by vsftpd :(
           |-temp (rw,755)
           |-in_box (rw,755)
           |-out_box (rw,755)

vsftpd.conf cut:

# Enable chrooting

# chroot all users except listened inside chroot_list

# Exception list. Ideally, it should be blank ;)

# Map ftp root directory to specific directory

This configuration works great with a single-user configuration. For multi-user, the "user_config_dir" directive should be used additionally.

**UPDATE 20/09


Here is tricky workaround, not best idea to use, but.... If u need writable ftp root folder, just insert permission change commands in pre-start and post-start commands.

  1. Pre-start - change permissions to read-only, which the server requires (:

  2. Start server

  3. Post-start - change permission to read-write, or which you need.

  • I tried many variations but could not make it work for a WP server. Is this working for you on a WP configuration? Sep 9, 2013 at 18:42
  • look to update section, mauby this variant can help u, it's not completely safe to do so, but if no other possibilities...
    – Reishin
    Sep 20, 2013 at 16:10

It's pretty much what toastboy70 mentioned. Make ftp-root dir chown'd to ftp.ftp and non-writable (/etc/vsftpd.conf): anon_root=/srv/ftp

Then make a writable child dir: /srv/ftp/upload


The simple fix is to do as the error message suggests: make the root non-writable and then if you need to enable uploads, make a subdirectory which does have write permission. No config changes necessary.


I needed to add the following to the /etc/vsftpd.conf file as well:


AND no need for the custom repo!!

And uncomment the line:


After 3 hours of googling I got on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS VSFTPd 3 working. The home folder will be visible /home/vimal once accessed with a client. I have logged in with vimal with root privilege. I have ftpShare folder created, but has not much meaning.

sudo chown vimal:vimal /home/vimal/ftpShare/

some useful commands:

sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf
sudo service vsftpd restart
sudo apt-get purge vsftpd
netstat -a | grep ftp
tcp        0        0        *:ftp         *:*        LISTEN
ftp://12.345.23.xxx/  for browser login

Above means ftp daemon is working

I have following configuration:


Once FTP working you may further tune it to specific needs, some of above have default values, but i don't remember exactly.

Errors seen in FTP Client:

1. 500 OOPS: prctl PR_SET_SECCOMP failed



[add it on the very first line vsftpd.conf, after initial commented section ends]

2. 500 OOPS: vsftpd: refusing to run with writable root inside chroot()


I added it at the last line.


I solved the problem of vsFTPd refusing to run with a writable root inside chroot() on my Ubuntu server as follows:

I just added the below line in the vsftpd.conf file:




Making these changes works perfectly for me. Thanks everyone for the support.


I lost 4 hours solving same problem. Nowhere was written that despite the home folder (/home/$USER) you should also close write access to jail folder:

sudo chmod a-w /var/run/vsftpd/empty

well, this folder MAY be noticed in


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