Docker Pure-ftpd Server
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Docker Pure-ftpd Server

Forked from stilliard/docker-pure-ftpd - (docker hub)

Pull down latest version with docker:

docker pull

If you want to make changes, my advice is to either change the run command when running it or extend this image to make any changes rather than forking the project.
This is because rebuilding the entire docker image via a fork can be very slow as it rebuilds the entire pure-ftpd package from source.

To change the command run on start you could use the command: option if using docker-compose, or with docker run directly you could use:

docker run --rm -d --name ftpd_server -p 21:21 -p 30000-30009:30000-30009 bash / -c 30 -C 10 -l puredb:/etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb -E -j -R -P localhost -p 30000:30059

To extend it you can create a new project with a DOCKERFILE like so:


# e.g. you could change the defult command run:
CMD / -c 30 -C 10 -l puredb:/etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb -E -j -R -P $PUBLICHOST -p 30000:30059

Then you can build your own image, docker build --rm -t my-pure-ftp ., where my-pure-ftp is the name you want to build as

Starting it

docker run -d --name ftpd_server -p 21:21 -p 30000-30009:30000-30009 -e "PUBLICHOST=localhost"

Or for your own image, replace with the name you built it with, e.g. my-pure-ftp

You can also pass ADDED_FLAGS as an env variable to add additional options such as --tls to the pure-ftpd command.
e.g. -e "ADDED_FLAGS=--tls=2"

Operating it

docker exec -it ftpd_server /bin/bash

Setting runtime FTP user

To create a user on the ftp container, use the following environment variables: FTP_USER_NAME, FTP_USER_PASS and FTP_USER_HOME.

FTP_USER_HOME is the root directory of the new user.

Example usage:

docker run -e FTP_USER_NAME=bob -e FTP_USER_PASS=12345 -e FTP_USER_HOME=/home/bob

If you wish to set the UID & GID of the FTP user, use the FTP_USER_UID & FTP_USER_GID environment variables.

Using different passive ports

To use passive ports in a different range (eg: 10000-10009), use the following setup:

docker run -e FTP_PASSIVE_PORTS=10000:10009 --expose=10000-10009 -p 21:21 -p 10000-10009:10000-10009

You may need the --expose= option, because default passive ports exposed are 30000 to 30009.

Example usage once inside

Create an ftp user: e.g. bob with chroot access only to /home/ftpusers/bob

pure-pw useradd bob -f /etc/pure-ftpd/passwd/pureftpd.passwd -m -u ftpuser -d /home/ftpusers/bob

No restart should be needed.

If you have any trouble with volume permissions due to the uid or gid of the created user you can change the -u flag for the uid you would like to use and/or specify -g with the group id as well. For more information see issue #35.

More info on usage here:

Test your connection

From the host machine:

ftp -p localhost 21

Docker compose

Docker compose can help you simplify the orchestration of your containers.
We have a simple example of the docker compose.
& here's a more detailed example using wordpress with ftp using this image.

Max clients

By default we set 5 max clients at once, but you can increase this by using the following environment variable FTP_MAX_CLIENTS, e.g. to FTP_MAX_CLIENTS=50 and then also increasing the number of public ports opened from FTP_PASSIVE_PORTS=30000:30009 FTP_PASSIVE_PORTS=30000:30099. You'll also want to open those ports when running docker run. In addition you can specify the maximum connections per ip by setting the environment variable FTP_MAX_CONNECTIONS. By default the value is 5.

All Pure-ftpd flags available:


To get verbose logs add the following to your docker run command:

-e "ADDED_FLAGS=-d -d"

Then the logs will be redirected to the stdout of the container and captured by the docker log collector. You can watch them with docker logs -f ftpd_server

Or, if you exec into the container you could watch over the log with tail -f /var/log/messages

Want a transfer log file? add the following to your docker run command:

-e "ADDED_FLAGS=-O w3c:/var/log/pure-ftpd/transfer.log"

Our default pure-ftpd options explained

/usr/sbin/pure-ftpd # path to pure-ftpd executable
-c 5 # --maxclientsnumber (no more than 5 people at once)
-C 5 # --maxclientsperip (no more than 5 requests from the same ip)
-l puredb:/etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb # --login (login file for virtual users)
-E # --noanonymous (only real users)
-j # --createhomedir (auto create home directory if it doesnt already exist)
-R # --nochmod (prevent usage of the CHMOD command)
-P $PUBLICHOST # IP/Host setting for PASV support, passed in your the PUBLICHOST env var
-p 30000:30009 # PASV port range (10 ports for 5 max clients)
-tls 1 # Enables optional TLS support

For more information please see man pure-ftpd, or visit:

Why so many ports opened?

This is for PASV support, please see: #5 PASV not fun :)

Docker Volumes

There are a few spots onto which you can mount a docker volume to configure the server and persist uploaded data. It's recommended to use them in production.

  • /home/ftpusers/ The ftp's data volume (by convention).
  • /etc/pure-ftpd/passwd A directory containing the single pureftpd.passwd file which contains the user database (i.e., all virtual users, their passwords and their home directories). This is read on startup of the container and updated by the pure-pw useradd -f /etc/pure- ftpd/passwd/pureftpd.passwd ... command.
  • /etc/ssl/private/ A directory containing a single pure-ftpd.pem file with the server's SSL certificates for TLS support. Optional TLS is automatically enabled when the container finds this file on startup.

Keep user database in a volume

You may want to keep your user database through the successive image builds. It is possible with Docker volumes.

Create a named volume:

docker volume create --name my-db-volume

Specify it when running the container:

docker run -d --name ftpd_server -p 21:21 -p 30000-30009:30000-30009 -e "PUBLICHOST=localhost" -v my-db-volume:/etc/pure-ftpd/passwd

When an user is added, you need to use the password file which is in the volume:

pure-pw useradd bob -f /etc/pure-ftpd/passwd/pureftpd.passwd -m -u ftpuser -d /home/ftpusers/bob

(Thanks to the -m option, you don't need to call pure-pw mkdb with this syntax).

Changing a password

e.g. to change the password for user "bob":

pure-pw passwd bob -f /etc/pure-ftpd/passwd/pureftpd.passwd -m

Development (via git clone)

# Clone the repo
git clone
cd pure-ftpd
# Build the image
make build
# Run container in background:
make run
# enter a bash shell inside the container:
make enter
# test that it's all working with
make test


If you want to enable tls (for ftps connections), you need to have a valid certificate. You can get one from one of the certificate authorities that you'll find when googling this topic. The certificate (containing private key and certificate) needs to be at:


Use docker volumes to get the certificate there at runtime. The container will automatically enable optional TLS when it detect the file at this location.

You can also self-sign a certificate, which is certainly the easiest way to start out. Self signed certificates come with certain drawbacks, but it might be better to have a self signed one than none at all.

Here's how to create a self-signed certificate from within the container:

mkdir -p /etc/ssl/private
openssl dhparam -out /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd-dhparams.pem 2048
openssl req -x509 -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -sha256 -keyout \
    /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem \
    -out /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem
chmod 600 /etc/ssl/private/*.pem

Automatic TLS certificate generation

If ADDED_FLAGS contains --tls (e.g. --tls=1 or --tls=2) and file /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem does not exists it is possible to generate self-signed certificate if TLS_CN, TLS_ORG and TLS_C are set.

Keep in mind that if no volume is set for /etc/ssl/private/ directory generated certificates won't be persisted and new ones will be generated on each start.

You can also pass -e "TLS_USE_DSAPRAM=true" for faster generated certificates though this option is not recommended for production.

Please check out the TLS docs here.

TLS with cert and key file for Let's Encrypt

Let's Encrypt provides two separate files for certificate and keyfile. The Pure-FTPd TLS encryption documentation suggests to simply concat them into one file. So you can simply provide the Let's Encrypt cert /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd-cert.pem and key /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd-key.pem via Docker Volumes and let them get auto-concatenated into /etc/ssl/private/pure-ftpd.pem. Or concat them manually with

cat /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your_server>/cert.pem /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your_server>/privkey.pem > pure-ftpd.pem


Thanks for the help on stackoverflow with this!

Also thanks to all the awesome contributors that have made this project amazing!

You can also help support the development of this project with coffee power: Buy Me A Coffee


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