How to Install FileZilla FTP Server on Ubuntu Server 20.04

On Ubuntu 20.04, there are many FTP servers to choose from. Variety is often wonderful, but it makes choosing the appropriate tool for the job a little more difficult. However, FileZilla FTP Server stands out amongst all other FTP Server offering better and faster file transfers, with the added benefit of convenience and security.

FileZilla is a free, cross-platform FTP software that is commonly used to upload and download files from FTP servers. FileZilla is made up of both client and server software with added support from Windows, Linux, macOS, and many other operating systems, it offers secured cross-platform compatibility without compromising on speed and efficiency.

This guide will walk you through the steps to install the FileZilla FTP server on Ubuntu 20.04. Installation on other Linux-based clients will be the same.

What is an FTP server?

The main purpose of an FTP server is for users to be able to upload and download files.  FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a file transfer protocol that allows a server (sender) and a client (receiver) to send and receive files over the internet. A file transfer protocol (FTP) server uses the FTP protocol and only accepts FTP connections that have an FTP address for that purpose.

File transmission over the internet is made easier with FTP servers. They act as a link between a file’s sender and its intended recipient. Depending on the type of FTP server you use and the level of security required, you may be required to enter a username and password.

FileZilla is a third-party file transfer application that facilitates file transfers across the internet. It allows for secure file sharing, with the ability to pause downloads and is convenient. It can easily be installed on older devices, without any subsequent load on the operating system.

Benefits of using FileZilla FTP Server

FileZilla logo

FileZilla has several advantages over its competitors:

 

  • It is simple to use and has an interactive UI easing the transfer of files simply via drag and drop.
  • Allows for the secure transfer of sensitive data via FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS), and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
  • FileZilla now runs on Windows, Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X, and other platforms as of 2021. This greatly simplifies file transfers between different operating systems.
  • IPv6 support is provided.
  • FileZilla is available in a variety of languages, making it a much more user-friendly experience.
  • Drag and drop to download and upload, and larger file downloads can be paused and resumed instantly.
  • A tabbed administrator enables synchronized directory browsing and makes it easier to search files on a server remotely.
  • Filenames can be filtered easily and allow for configurable transfer speed limits. It also enables users to pause and resume downloads whenever necessary.
  • FileZilla provides its users with a powerful Site Manager and transfer queue managing all upload/download queries at a fast pace.
  • The Network configuration wizard allows you to create, and manage your FTP servers, with the bookmarks helping the user stay organized.
  • It has synchronized directory browsing and directory comparison.

FileZilla offers a multitude of benefits over its competitors, which translates to a better, and friendlier user experience. Since it is not native to the Ubuntu system, it must be installed separately. Now, Let’s look at how to utilize and install Filezilla FTP Server.

Pre-Requisites of FileZilla

FileZilla’s optimization and backward compatibility allow for it to be run on multiple computers, be it new or old. Having said that, there are a few software requirements that must be met before installing FileZilla.

Windows

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 ( 32 bit )
  • Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, ( 64 bit )

Mac

  • Mac OS X 10.9 or newer

Linux

  • Built for Debian 9.0 (Stretch). It is highly recommended to manually compile FileZilla if you are running a different flavor of Linux. Otherwise use Wine to install. Details below.

Installing FileZilla FTP Server

FileZilla Server is a Windows application. It does not support Linux systems such as Ubuntu. Therefore, Wine must be installed before FileZilla Server can be installed and used in Ubuntu.

 

Wine is a free and simple open source software that allows Linux users to run Windows based applications on Unix-like operating systems. Wine works like a compatibility layer that allows users to install almost any version of Windows software.

Install Wine on Ubuntu

Before installing Wine, run the command below to enable the 32-bit architecture.

				
					$ sudo apt update
$ sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
				
			

After installing the aforementioned package, use the commands below to add the Wine package repository and key.

				
					$ wget -qO - https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key | sudo apt-key add -
				
			

Add the repository file by running the commands below.

				
					$ sudo apt-add-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ focal main'
				
			

Now that we have successfully added the repository, run the commands below to install Wine.

				
					$ sudo apt update 
$ sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

				
			

Next, we will configure the environment for Wine by running the commands below:

				
					$ export WINEARCH=win32
$ export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine32
$ sudo winecfg

				
			

Wine should be installed and ready to use at this point. With the Wine environment, you can begin installing programs built for Windows systems. We will now use Wine to install FileZilla.

Installing FileZilla Server using Wine

Now that Wine is installed, we will first download the FileZilla server package from FileZilla’s official page.

Install FileZilla Server on Ubuntu

Navigate to the folder where we have downloaded FileZilla server, in our case in the downloads folder. We will then execute the FileZilla server using Wine:

				
					$ cd ~/Downloads
$ sudo wine FileZilla_Server-*.exe

				
			

This will launch the installation wizard. We can adjust the settings to our needs but for now, we will choose the default settings and continue.

Setting up Filezilla FTP Server on Ubuntu 20.04

Accept the default settings as shown below. The default port 14147 is the admin interface of FileZilla Server.

FileZilla Server Setup Configuration

After that, click on the Install button to complete the installation.

FileZilla Server Installation

FileZilla server will automatically startup right after the installation. Next, click on Connect to start accepting connections.

FileZilla FTP Server Connect

Click on Edit on the menu and select Users. The Users menu allows you to select specific folder ready to share to the particular users. 

 

Next click on Shared folders. Add a user account and at least one home folder for the user you just created.

 

Click Add and assign the folders you want the user to access. After selecting the folders click Ok to complete the assignment process.

FileZilla Server Assign Users

You may now connect with the account you set before. You will, however, receive a notice stating that the server does not support FTP over TLS and that your password will be transmitted in clear text over the internet.

FileZilla Insecure FTP Connection

You can enable FTPS by performing the following steps:

 

  • Go to Edit, then Settings, and finally FTP over TLS settings.
  • Check the “Enable FTP over TLS support (FTPS)” box.
  • Click on Browse and navigate to the location where you want to save the certificate and key.
  • Select the Generate Certificate option.
  • And then finally select OK.
FileZilla Server Generate Certificate

FileZilla should now have a certificate to encrypt your communications.

FileZilla Server TLS Settings

The next time you connect to the server, you’ll be prompted to access the server certificate.

FileZilla Server Certificate

To launch FileZilla server from you desktop, navigate to the FileZilla server icon, right click on the icon and select Allow Launching. This Allows FileZilla to be launched directly from the Desktop.

 

And that is all!

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You have completed the installation of Filezilla FTP Server. Thank you for following this article on how to install Filezilla FTP Server on Ubuntu 20.04. With an ever-increasing need for secure file transfers, FileZilla helps by combining an easy-to-use user interface with cross-platform compatibility allowing users a smooth experience. Now that we’ve successfully installed FileZilla, we can begin securely uploading files over the FTP server.

 

I hope this article has helped you grasp the fundamentals of FTP server installation. We recommend that you visit the official Filezilla website for more assistance or valuable information.

Avatar for Emad Bin Abid
Emad Bin Abid

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.

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