How to Securely Set Up an SFTP Server on Linux

How to Securely Set Up an SFTP Server on Linux

SFTP, or Secure File Transfer Protocol, uses SSH to create an encrypted connection between two computers so that files can be transferred from one to the other securely. While it may seem intimidating at first, setting up an SFTP server is actually quite simple, especially on Linux systems where software packages are available to help you do it quickly and easily. All you need is a computer with access to both the internet and your network, and the ability to follow the steps in this guide. Let’s get started!


Install OpenSSH

First, you’ll need to install OpenSSH on your Linux server. You can do this through your server’s package manager. For example, on Ubuntu, you would run:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Once that’s installed, you’ll need to generate a key pair for your server. This can be done with the ssh-keygen command. Just run it with no arguments and it will prompt you for a location to save the keys. Just press enter to use the default location.

You will then be prompted for a passphrase. This is an optional security measure that allows you to encrypt the private key with a password. If you choose to set one, make sure to remember it!

Create Keys

SFTP is a secure way to transfer files between computers. In order to set up an SFTP server on Linux, you first need to generate a set of cryptographic keys. These keys will be used to authenticate your server and clients. First, create the directory for the keypair: mkdir -p ~/.ssh/ Next, generate a 2048-bit RSA keypair with: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 The keypair will be located in ~/.ssh/.

Remember to protect this directory as it contains sensitive information. You can also enter passphrases here; however if you lose them or forget them you cannot recover access to your data without some form of recovery solution like iCloud or LastPass. One option is to use password authentication instead of key authentication by running the following command: ssh-copy-id  It’s recommended that when generating a new keypair you run ssh-copy-id so that each computer has its own private keyset.


Configure the Firewall

If you want to set up an SFTP server on Linux, the first thing you need to do is configure the firewall. This will ensure that only authorized users can access the server. To do this, you’ll need to open port 22 in the firewall. You can do this with the iptables command. First, open the firewall configuration file sudo vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Next, append the following line to it:

A INPUT -m state –state NEW -p tcp –dport 22 -j ACCEPT

Save and close your text editor. Now start the service by typing: sudo service iptables restart. Once that’s done, type: ifconfig

This will show a list of all of the interfaces on your system. Find the one labeled eth0 or wlan0 or whatever interface corresponds to your internet connection. Write down its IP address (this may be a string of numbers separated by periods). Then type ifconfig eth0 netmask

This should change the IP address of eth0 so that it matches what you wrote down before (that way when you try to connect through SSH from another computer, SSH recognizes which computer is hosting the FTP server). Finally, create a user account for accessing the SFTP server using these commands: sudo useradd ftpuser

sudo passwd ftpuser


Test your SFTP connection

Now that your SFTP server is up and running, you’ll want to test the connection to make sure it’s working properly. To do this, you’ll need an SFTP client. We recommend FileZilla, which is free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Once you’ve installed FileZilla, open it and enter the following information into the Quickconnect bar – Host: The hostname or IP address of your SFTP server

  • Port: 22 (the standard port for SSH)
  • User: Your username on the remote machine
  •  Password: Your password

You should see a folder window pop up and you can browse through the folders to get a feel for what files are there. Remember, anything inside your home directory will show up as home in these files so navigate through those if you’re curious! If not, select Exit to close the window.

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