4 Best Free and Open Source Linux FTP Servers

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a time-honored method of transferring files to and from a remote network site. FTP is built on a client-server architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and server applications. The FTP client connects to the FTP server, and enables the user to send and retrieves files from that server.

FTP is one of many different file transfer protocols that are used. Other examples include the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), BitTorrent, the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), and Secure Copy (SCP).

In recent years, FTP’s popularity for general downloading files has declined. Linux distributions and software are now often downloaded by using direct downloads using a web browser, by BitTorrent, metalink, or by using a download utility. FTP is often tucked away as a download option even if it is available. While FTP can cause bandwidth problems it nevertheless remains a great way of moving large files.

The downside to using FTP is that it doesn’t necessarily take internet security risks into account. SFTP, the more advanced version of the same technology, enables you to manage files on your server just like FTP does. However, it uses a previously-established Secure Shell (SSH) connection to maintain the safety of your files and the site as a whole.

An FTP server is a software application which enables the transfer of files from one computer to another. Here’s our recommendations.

Best Free and Open Source FTP Servers

Let’s explore the 4 FTP servers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

FTP Servers
Pure-FTPdFast and secure production-quality and standard-conformant FTP server
ProFTPdHighly configurable FTP server software
bftpd Strives to be fast, secure and quick to install and configure
vsftpdFairly minimal FTPd

To connect to your site’s server and manage your files, you’ll need an FTP client. Typically, the term ‘FTP client’ is used whether you’re accessing the site via FTP or SFTP. There are a variety of FTP clients available for download. Here’s our recommended graphical FTP clients and command-line FTP clients. Free and open source goodness as you’d expect.

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
Share this article


  1. I asked senior networking engineering managers at Redhat and SUSE linux why vsftpd was the default and :preferred” FTP server application for their distributions. This was enabled through by partnership with SUSE GmbH, Germany.

    Both said that (a) the program has provem superior in networking security, and (b) with recordable better performance overall with flexible configuration options and capabilities than most all the otherFree/Open Source Software (FOSS) and even proprietary FTP applications available.
    This reasoninmg would put choice of vsftps at odds with your evaluations.

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.