Dev Notes

Various Cheat Sheets and Resources by David Egan/Carawebs.

Set Up restricted SFTP Access Using OpenSSH


Linux, Sysadmin
David Egan

#Set Up restricted SFTP Access You can use OpenSSH to allow users to have restricted SFTP access to your filesystem.

This guide is for OpenSSH_6.6.1p1 Ubuntu-2ubuntu2 running on Ubuntu Server 14.04.1 LTS.

Set Up a New User

# Create a new user
useradd guest-user

# Set a password
passwd guest-user

# Set the home directory for the new user to the target site directory
usermod -d /var/www/yoursite.com/public_html/subsite guest-user

Block SSH Access

Prevent the user from accessing the server’s shell - so they can’t access by SSH:

sudo usermod -s /bin/false guest-user

Configure SSH

First make a backup of sshd_config. Then edit the SSH config file:

sudo cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config_bak
sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

First set the sftp subsystem:

#Subsystem sftp /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp

Then append this stanza to the end of the file:

Match user guest-user
ChrootDirectory /var/www/yoursite.com/public_html/subsite
X11Forwarding no
AllowTcpForwarding no
ForceCommand internal-sftp

Note that I had trouble making this work by matching Groups - which would obviously be a more efficient way of setting this up.

Ctrl + o to save, Ctrl + x to exit.

Restart SSH - use THIS:

sudo service ssh restart

DON’T use this:

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

If you try to connect via SSH for the new user, you’ll see this:

david@david-desktop:~$ ssh -p 1234 guest-user@123.45.67.890
guest-user@123.45.67.890's password:
Could not chdir to home directory /var/www/yoursite.com/public_html/subsite: No such file or directory
This service allows sftp connections only.
Connection to 123.45.67.890 closed.

Remember to set the correct port for SSH access when accessing via SFTP.

External Resources


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