I have set all permissions on the /home directory ( sudo chmod 777 ) but I still cannot change to that directory ( or any other ) from ftp

[ec2-user@ip-172-30-1-197 /]$ ls -l home
total 4
drwxrwxrwx 4 ec2-user ec2-user 4096 Jun 18 15:52 ec2-user
[ec2-user@ip-172-30-1-197 /]$ cd home
[ec2-user@ip-172-30-1-197 home]$ ftp localhost
Connected to localhost (127.0.0.1).
220 (vsFTPd 2.2.2)
Name (localhost:ec2-user): ftp
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> cd /home
550 Failed to change directory.

Here is /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

# Allow anonymous FTP? (Beware - allowed by default if you comment this out).
anonymous_enable=YES
#
# Uncomment this to allow local users to log in.
local_enable=YES
#
# Uncomment this to enable any form of FTP write command.
write_enable=YES
#
# Default umask for local users is 077. You may wish to change this to 022,
# if your users expect that (022 is used by most other ftpd's)
local_umask=022
#
# Uncomment this to allow the anonymous FTP user to upload files. This only
# has an effect if the above global write enable is activated. Also, you will
# obviously need to create a directory writable by the FTP user.
anon_upload_enable=YES
#
# Uncomment this if you want the anonymous FTP user to be able to create
# new directories.
anon_mkdir_write_enable=YES
#
# Activate directory messages - messages given to remote users when they
# go into a certain directory.
dirmessage_enable=YES
#
# The target log file can be vsftpd_log_file or xferlog_file.
# This depends on setting xferlog_std_format parameter
xferlog_enable=YES
#
# Make sure PORT transfer connections originate from port 20 (ftp-data).
connect_from_port_20=YES
#
# If you want, you can arrange for uploaded anonymous files to be owned by
# a different user. Note! Using "root" for uploaded files is not
# recommended!
#chown_uploads=YES
#chown_username=whoever
#
# The name of log file when xferlog_enable=YES and xferlog_std_format=YES
# WARNING - changing this filename affects /etc/logrotate.d/vsftpd.log
#xferlog_file=/var/log/xferlog
#
# Switches between logging into vsftpd_log_file and xferlog_file files.
# NO writes to vsftpd_log_file, YES to xferlog_file
xferlog_std_format=YES
#
# You may change the default value for timing out an idle session.
#idle_session_timeout=600
#
# You may change the default value for timing out a data connection.
#data_connection_timeout=120
#
# It is recommended that you define on your system a unique user which the
# ftp server can use as a totally isolated and unprivileged user.
#nopriv_user=ftpsecure
#
# Enable this and the server will recognise asynchronous ABOR requests. Not
# recommended for security (the code is non-trivial). Not enabling it,
# however, may confuse older FTP clients.
#async_abor_enable=YES
#
# By default the server will pretend to allow ASCII mode but in fact ignore
# the request. Turn on the below options to have the server actually do ASCII
# mangling on files when in ASCII mode.
# Beware that on some FTP servers, ASCII support allows a denial of service
# attack (DoS) via the command "SIZE /big/file" in ASCII mode. vsftpd
# predicted this attack and has always been safe, reporting the size of the
# raw file.
# ASCII mangling is a horrible feature of the protocol.
#ascii_upload_enable=YES
#ascii_download_enable=YES
#
# You may fully customise the login banner string:
#ftpd_banner=Welcome to blah FTP service.
#
# You may specify a file of disallowed anonymous e-mail addresses. Apparently
# useful for combatting certain DoS attacks.
#deny_email_enable=YES
# (default follows)
#banned_email_file=/etc/vsftpd/banned_emails
#
# You may specify an explicit list of local users to chroot() to their home
# directory. If chroot_local_user is YES, then this list becomes a list of
# users to NOT chroot().
#chroot_local_user=YES
#chroot_list_enable=YES
# (default follows)
#chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd/chroot_list

By default the user's home directory is used as the root directory so you only have access to files/folders within the user's home directory.

To change the root directory to / you can add the following to the config file and restart the service:

local_root=/

  • Now it complains 'refusing to run with writable anonymous root ' – ravenspoint Jun 18 '15 at 18:29

Then add allow_writeable_chroot=YES , just make sure its not the last line in the config file, somehow caused errors for me.

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