How To Setup Filezilla FTP Server Windows 2016 on Amazon AWS

To setup an FTP server in AWS, the easiest and quickest way is to use our Filezilla FTP Server AWS marketplace image. The image comes pre configured using Filezilla FTP Server running on Windows 2016

FTP Server AWS

This guide explains the steps required to get Filezilla FTP Server running on Amazon AWS using our virtual machine image from the AWS marketplace.

 

Once your AWS VM has been deployed there are some post configuration steps to complete to start using the Filezilla FTP Server.

 

Login

 

Login using the username “Administrator“.  To get the password, you will be able to retrieve this using the private/public keys you generated during the instance deployment.  Within the AWS console seletc “Actions / Get Windows Password

 aws-get-password

 

 

Launch Filezilla Server Instance

 

Once you’ve logged into the server, Launch the Filezilla server instance app, found on the desktop.  On the launch screen press connect as shown below (password is blank):

Filezilla server instance

 

Passive Mode

 

You should now be connected. You may see connection errors and NAT errors, this is normal as we need to complete some configuration.  From the menu select > Edit > Settings > Passive Mode Settings

 

You’ll need to set a passive mode port range. Usually (50000-51000). These ports are used for data transfers to the server.

 

Set Public IP Address

 

For this next part you’ll need to make sure the VM has a public IP address to allow external clients to connect as shown in yellow. 

 

From the AWS console, select the VM instance and under Description, you will see the public ip address and public DNS hostname:

aws-instance-public-ip-address

 

Once you have a public IP address associated with your AWS VM, add the ip address to the passive mode settings as shown below highlighted in yellow and also the passive port range:

 

FTP-Passive-mode

 

Create Certificate (FTP over TLS)

 

The next step is to create a new private key and a self signed certificate, needed by FileZilla server to accept TLS connections. 

 

Within the FileZilla server options, click on SSL/TLS settings.  Check the Enable FTP over TLS support (FTPS).

 

Next click on Generate New Certificate > Fill in your company information.

FTP-SSL-Certificate

 

IMPORTANT – In the common name (Server address) field make sure to add the public IP address or public DNS hostname of your AWS instance VM. 

 

Save the key locally on the server and then press Generate certificate.  No need to add a password.

 

Setup Users

 

There are 2 options:

 

  1. Create local users and assign access 
  2. Integrate Active Directory and allow users to use thier domain logins to authenticate

 

Option 1 (Local Users)

 

To setup local users and give access to directories locally on your server navigate to Edit > Users

 

Here you can add users and generate their passwords.

 

Then give the users access to your local folders you would like them to have access to.  The VM has a pre-configured folder on the C:\FTPDirectory that can be used or you can setup as many folders as you like.  Groups can also be setup and permissions applied at a group level.

 

shared-ftp-folders-VM-instance

 

Option 2 (Active Directory Integrated)

 

Open settings > LDAP and select enable LDAP support. Beta.

 

Add your private ip address of your local domain controller. Add port 389 and write the name of your domain name.

 

Select Enable TLS/SSL

 

AWS-Active-Directory-FTP-Filezilla

 

Next you need to add the users who need access to your FTP directories. 

 

Select Edit > Users and here you’ll need to add the users full UPN that they use to logon to AD, for example if their name is jsmith@yourdomain.com or yourdomain\jsmith we need to make sure we add this so it matches their login UPN jsmith@yourdomain.com. We don’t need to add their password here as it authenticates against Active Directory, so make sure the password checkbox is unchecked.

 

Next check the boxes LOCAL and LDAP as in the screenshot below.

 

In the screenshot below i’ve added a test user from our AD called ftpuser and our AD domain is called yourdomain.com

 

Enable-Active-Directory-Filezilla-FTP-integration

 

Next is to assign these users to your FTP directories they need access to. Click on Shared Folders within the Users menu and add the local folders and assign permissions they need:

 

filezilla-folder-permissions

 

Now would be a good time to test if you can connect using an FTP client.  If you can’t connect, try the next step and to configure any AWS Firewall rules.

 

Configure AWS Firewall Rules

 

If you have AWS firewall rules / security groups or any firewall appliances in AWS you will need to open access to the following ports:

 

  • Port: 21 (Used for FTP)
  • Port: 990 (Used for FTPS)
  • Passive Port Range: 50000 – 51000 (Used for data transfer)

 

During the instance deployment from the AWS marketplace the security groups will automatically be setup with the required firewall ports above. If however you need to manually set these up, you can do this via the AWS console, open up Security Groups under Networking & Security. Click on Create Security Group:

create-aws-security-groups

 

Add the required firewall ports:

add-aws-firewall-rules

 

Next you will need to assign this new security group to your Filezilla VM.

 

From instances in the AWS console, select your VM and click Actions / Networking / Change Security Groups and assign the security group to your VM.

assign-aws-security-group

 

 

Client FTP Software

 

To allow clients to connect, users can use any FTP client.  You can use FileZillas FTP Client

 

Support

 

For issues regarding the FileZilla software use the FileZilla community forum

 

Any other questions about the setup of the VM in Amazon AWS, leave your comments below

 

Want some help (hire us)?

 

If you would like us to implement the Filezilla server into your environment and fully configure it and get it up and running, get in contact with us and we will get you up and running asap

 

Andrew Fitzgerald

Cloud Solution Architect. Helping customers transform their business to the cloud. 20 years experience working in complex infrastructure environments and a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert on everything Cloud

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