I am fully aware this question was asked countless times, but no solution mentioned before worked for my case.

My config:

$ cat /etc/vsftpd-anon.conf 

See, I am not using any home directory things. There is this one directory I created especially for this case. I also added allow_writeable_chroot option and vsftpd recognizes it, but IGNORES IT.

target directory:

$ ls -l /var/ | grep anonftp
drwxrwxrwx  3 root root      4096 led 26 11:09 anonftp

How I try to use it:

$ sudo killall vsftpd 
$ sudo vsftpd /etc/vsftpd-anon.conf &
[1] 21064
$ ftp 9988
Connected to
220 (vsFTPd 3.0.2)
Name ( anonymous
331 Please specify the password.
500 OOPS: vsftpd: refusing to run with writable root inside chroot()
Login failed.

Nothing in vsftpd.log

  • How did you solve this? – chaosguru Dec 14 '17 at 13:17
  • @sudharma.puranik Please don't laugh, but I installed windows into virtual machine and used FileZilla. It was the best time-effective solution. – David162795 Dec 14 '17 at 20:41
  • oh I see that was quite a detour :) – chaosguru Dec 15 '17 at 10:41

Run echo "allow_writeable_chroot=YES" >> /etc/vsftpd.conf && service vsftpd restart


I had the same problem and nothing helped. not:

  1. allow_writeable_chroot=YES at vsftpd.conf
  2. chmod to the ftp root directory

    so I made a strace to the vsftpd process and saw the following lines:

18825 chdir("/usr/share/empty")         = 0
18825 chroot(".")                       = 0

after changing the permissions on /usr/share/empty with

chmod 0644 /usr/share/empty

the error was gone.

  • Hours and hours of searching, only the above helped me ... thank you! – Walid Ammar Oct 21 '18 at 22:23
  • May I ask you how did you make a strace to the vsftpd process? – Walid Ammar Oct 21 '18 at 22:24
  • 1
    strace -p <pid of the proftp process> -f – 0x0C4 Nov 6 '18 at 10:01
echo "allow_writeable_chroot=YES" >> /etc/vsftpd.conf && service vsftpd restart

Run the above command every time when editing conf.

  • 1
    It's a copy paste of Gilles's answer isn't it? – Sylvain Pineau Jul 21 '16 at 12:05

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