How to set up an FTP web server on macOS

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. Setting up an FTP server on your Mac allows you to transfer files between your Mac and other devices easily. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to set up an FTP web server on macOS.

Step 1. Install Homebrew (if not installed):

Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that simplifies the installation of software. Open Terminal and run the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Step 2. Install ProFTPD:

ProFTPD is a highly configurable FTP server software. Install it using Homebrew with the following command:

brew install proftpd

Step 3. Configure ProFTPD:

Create a configuration file for ProFTPD. You can use nano or any other text editor to create and edit the file:

nano /usr/local/etc/proftpd.conf

Add the following basic configuration to the file, replacing “your_username” with your Mac’s username:

ServerName                      "ProFTPD Default Installation"
ServerType                      standalone
DefaultServer                   on
Port                            21
Umask                           022
User                            your_username
Group                           staff
DefaultRoot ~

Save and exit the text editor.

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Step 4. Start ProFTPD:

You can start ProFTPD with the following command:

sudo proftpd

To ensure ProFTPD starts automatically at boot, create a plist file for it:

nano /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.proftpd.plist

Add the following content to the plist file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

Save and exit the text editor.

Step 5. Accessing Your FTP Server:

Your FTP server should now be accessible at


Use your Mac’s username and password for access.

Step 6. Secure Your FTP Server (Optional):

It’s highly recommended to secure your FTP server by enabling SSL/TLS. You can follow ProFTPD’s documentation on how to set up SSL/TLS.

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Step 7: Configure Firewall (Optional)

If you’re using a firewall, you’ll need to allow incoming connections to the FTP server. This will depend on the specific firewall software you’re using. For example, if you’re using the built-in macOS firewall, open System Preferences, go to Security & Privacy, click on the Firewall tab, and ensure that Pure-FTPd is allowed to accept incoming connections.

Step 8. Manage Your FTP Server:

To stop ProFTPD, use the following command:

sudo killall proftpd

To start ProFTPD again, use the command from step 4.

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In this guide, we’ve shown you how to set up an FTP web server on macOS using Pure-FTPd. You can now transfer files between your Mac and other devices easily using an FTP client. Remember to maintain good security practices by regularly reviewing and updating user access, permissions, and credentials.

In addition, keep your macOS system and installed software up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates to ensure the highest level of security and stability for your FTP server.

If you encounter any issues or have suggestions for improvement, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Your feedback is invaluable to us, and it helps us create better and more informative content for our users.



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