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

Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that makes it easy to install various software packages. If you haven’t installed Homebrew yet, open Terminal and run the following command:

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

Once the installation is complete, update Homebrew:

brew update

Step 2: Install and Configure Pure-FTPd

Pure-FTPd is a popular FTP server that’s easy to set up and use. To install Pure-FTPd via Homebrew, run the following command:

brew install pure-ftpd

After the installation, create a new configuration directory:

sudo mkdir /usr/local/etc/pure-ftpd

Create a configuration file for Pure-FTPd:

sudo touch /usr/local/etc/pure-ftpd/pure-ftpd.conf

Open the configuration file with a text editor, such as nano:

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/pure-ftpd/pure-ftpd.conf

Add the following lines to the configuration file, customizing the settings as needed:

ChrootEveryone yes
BrokenClientsCompatibility no
MaxClientsNumber 50
Daemonize yes
MaxClientsPerIP 2
VerboseLog no
DisplayDotFiles yes
AnonymousOnly no
NoAnonymous yes
SyslogFacility ftp
DontResolve yes
MaxIdleTime 120
PureDB /usr/local/etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb
PAMAuthentication no
UnixAuthentication no

Save and close the file.

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Step 3: Create an FTP User and Set Permissions

Create a new FTP user and set a home directory for the user:

sudo useradd -m -G nogroup -s /sbin/nologin -d /path/to/ftp/home/directory ftpuser

Replace /path/to/ftp/home/directory with the desired path for the FTP user’s home directory.

Set the ownership and permissions for the FTP user’s home directory:

sudo chown -R ftpuser:nogroup /path/to/ftp/home/directory
sudo chmod -R 755 /path/to/ftp/home/directory

Step 4: Start the FTP Server

To start the Pure-FTPd server, run the following command:

sudo pure-ftpd /usr/local/etc/pure-ftpd/pure-ftpd.conf

The FTP server should now be running.

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Step 5: 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.


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.

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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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