GProFTPD Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Servers management
  • (4 more, see all...)

ProFTPd is a FTP server promoted as stable and secure, when configured properly on a website. It's also promoted as highly configurable, GPL-licensed FTP server software. The ProFTPd server can easily be used by both home-users and large corporations without too much effort. To get an idea about how popular and secure ProFTPd is, the software is used by very large sites such as SourceForge, Linksys, Slakware and so on. And to make it even more easier to configure, anyone can use GproFTPd, a graphical configuration tool for Linux desktop environments.

GproFTPd is an easy to use GTK+ administration tool created for the proftpd standalone server. It provides admins with access to virtual hosting, 8layers of security including chrooted users and encrypted transfers on both the data and/or control channels. It's ideal for both standalone ftp serving and webhotes.

GproFTPd can easily be installed using the packages created especially for your distribution. Packages are available for Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva, Gentoo and of course, the source code package. To install each one of them, fetch them to your disks and use your distribution's package manager to install it (rpm, dpkg etc). If you follow this method, first make sure your system has python and GTK+ installed. You can also use directly the package manager to search, fetch the dependencies automatically and install all required packages.

Once installed, you can find its shortcut under the 'Internet' section in KDE or Gnome menu, or you can run it by typing gproftpd in a terminal. Keep in mind however that proftpd binary uses the /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf configuration file, while GproFTPd uses /etc/proftpd.conf. The first time you start GproFTPd, you'll see in the upper right part of the window that FTP daemon's status is deactivated. You have to make some adjustments to the configuration before you can start the FTP daemon. The first one, if your system's hostname isn't listed in /etc/hosts file, you will get an error reporting no valid servers configured. To get through this error, simply add your current hostname (type hostname in a terminal) to /etc/hosts file with a line that looks like this: your.current.hostname.

The GproFTPd main window is divided into several tabs, each containing different configuration variables. From the Servers tab, you can add different FTP servers that will run either on virtual hosts, or on different ports. For each selected server, you can configure its IP, its name, either NAT routing is enabled, the admin email address, and a lot more directives in the lower half part of the main window. Also from this tab, you can set the default home and upload directory, the HTML statistics file path and the user and group the server is running as.

From the next tab, Users, you can manage existing users or add new ones. For each user, you can modify its username, password, group, home directory and which shell to use. Moreover, you can set whether the account is locked, as well as if the FTP server will require a password for that specific user, whether to show it in statistics. Also, you can add the directories the user is allowed to, set the maximum logins value and which hosts or IP addresses to allow logins from.

The Transfers tab displays the total transfer rate, the total incoming and outgoing rate and the list of currently active users. From this tab you also have the ability to kick or kickban one or more users. The next tab, Disc, only lists the currently mounted filesystems and several details regarding them, such as the total space, the space used and available. The Files tab will list the last transferred files, as well as whether if they were uploaded or downloaded, the path they were saved to, the hostname they came from or going to and the date when the transfer started. The Security tab will only tail the /var/log/secure file to display various errors or security related events. The last tab, Configuration, contains a basic text editor which opens the /etc/proftpd.conf file and allows you to manually edit any directives from the configuration file. When you're done editing it, simply press the Save button and the FTP daemon is rehashed to apply the new settings.

The main GproFTPd window shows a toolbar in the upper section which contains buttons linked to various actions. From the toolbar, you can activate, deactivate or shutdown the FTP daemon, apply the changes, open a short help window, open the about dialog and quit the application.

The Good

GproFTPd is a tool which allows you to configure your ProFTPd server quick and easy. It doesn't require extended knowledge as the default settings are working just fine.

The Bad

The error reporting isn't detailed enough. I had to run proftpd with extended debug options to find out why the daemon won't start. Also, using a different configuration file than proftpd daemon could be a little confusing.

The Truth

You should definitely give GproFTPd a try, especially if you think about running a FTP server but are afraid you won't be able to configure it properly.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good