I am trying to find out the best way to set up a shared drive for a company which has 50+ users in 3 office locations in different cities.

They basically need a drive with a common folder to store company documents (eg. /home/company-docs/) plus a personal folder for each user (eg. /home/username/mydocs/). They will mainly access the drive from Windows 7 machines and few Ubuntu machines.

They cannot use an external application such as Dropbox, Google Drive and so on (for regulatory and compliance reasons).

I am currently using Ubuntu server 14.04 with ProFTPD, and the machines access the server drive using WinSCP or Filezilla. For permissions I am using ACL.

The tricky part is the folder structure so everyone can see the common folder (/home/company-docs) and the personal folder (/home/username/mydocs) in their home directory.

Using ProFTPD I can chroot jail the users to their home directory and there mydocs/ folder is created (using skel).

But how can I give them access to the company folder which is located outside their home folder (path is /home/company-docs)???

My first option is to mount /home/company-docs/ in the user home:

mount --bind /home/company-docs/ /home/user_name/company-docs

And then make this configuration permanent by editing /etc/fstab:

/var/www/dev  /home/user_name/www_dev    none    bind    0       0

But the above solution works for just 1 particular user, how can I make this work for every user in the system and make it permanent for every user? and also how to set it up automatically when a new user is created?

Please let me know if you have any idea on how to accomplish this or any other better way you may think on doing it.

3 Answers 3


Don't use FTP: not only is it insecure ( passwords are sent in plain text ), but it is also a pain for users to use. Install samba and use regular windows file sharing. To give users permission to /home/company-docs, use chmod to allow world read and optionally write access:

sudo chmod a+rw /home/company-docs

I can't say I know much about ProFTPD, but would it be possible to let each user have two separate server entries: their private as is and a separate that is shared? I.e., all of them "logging on" to the same shared entry, with its own chroot jail?

  • No really, I am looking for one single server for both the private and the shared folders, with 2 servers it will be tricky for users to continuously login into different servers to save data and also it increase twice the maintenance, backup,etc.. of 2 separate servers. But thanks for your answer
    – berriop
    Dec 2, 2015 at 22:45

Keep it simple

Use samba to share the directories, and use groups and permissions to control access.

Since this appears to a regulated environment, check what the regulations, internal auditors, and your management have to say about who should have what access. If those sources say nothing then I recommend

  • All users have read access to all shared directories.

  • Trusted users be added to a docs group, which has write access to the company docs directory. Maybe everyone is a member of this group, but it allows future control choices.

  • The company docs directory should be setup to allow for future changes. I suggest a company directory at the same level as the user directories for easy navigation, then the docs directory below that. This allows future directories inside the company directory.

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