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10.7: Enable the FTP server System 10.7
Apple seemingly dropped the FTP Server support in Mac OX Lion. Only the GUI has been removed and the FTP Server can be activated.

You can still enable it with the command line. To start it type the Terminal command:

sudo -s launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

To stop it:

sudo -s launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

[crarko adds: So if you need FTP, it's still available. It should easy enough to make an AppleScript to toggle this on and off. I'd probably turn it off while not using it. And of course if you turn on Remote Login (ssh), that will make SFTP available.]
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10.7: Enable the FTP server | 8 comments | Create New Account
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10.7: Enable the FTP server
Authored by: stottm on Aug 05, '11 08:07:49AM

Best to go with SFTP by enabling Remote Login (SSH).

Transmit supports SFTP, you can do it from the command line as well, if you are on another platform such as Windows and you want to SFTP to your Mac, you can use WinSCP or other SFTP free apps.

FTP, Telnet, RSH, etc. All transmit passwords in the clear, and they should be completely removed from service as they are not secure by a long shot.

The only reason for FTP is an anonymous FTP server where you login with uid: anonymous and your email address as the password.

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10.7: Enable the FTP server
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 05, '11 10:41:41AM

Absolutely right. People still use anonymous FTP because it's simpler than setting up an entire (anonymous!) HTTP server if you're just in the business of publishing files.

I would never dream of installing an FTP server which asks for authentication though.

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10.7: Enable the FTP server
Authored by: lurch99 on Aug 05, '11 08:26:01AM

OS X Server's FTP has been pretty lame for quite some time, and I can't think of any good reason to turn it back "on"

A much better choice is PureFTP, which is free, and has a nice Mac FTP Manager GUI:

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10.7: Enable the FTP server
Authored by: kiltbear on Aug 05, '11 09:28:42AM

For the sake of security, I recommend making the move to sftp/scp, which are actually part of ssh. All traffic, including password exchange is encrypted. Most GUI tools support it now. Just enable "remote login" and that turns on ssh, which in turn enables scp/sftp. FTP should really be abandoned.

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10.7: Enable the FTP server
Authored by: lurch99 on Aug 05, '11 11:54:56AM

Ditch Apple's lame FTP server implementation and install PureFTPd, a free, much more robust solution that allows virtual folders and accounts (and can use Open Directory accounts, too):

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Better way to do this with launchctl
Authored by: leamanc on Aug 06, '11 12:28:16AM

While this hint will work as stated, it's pretty much incorrect usage of launchctl for the purpose of the hint.

launchctl load...loads the FTP service into launchd's database of services. When you do an unload, you are telling launchd to not manage it anymore.

So a better way to do this--probably the proper way--is to first issue the command to load the service:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

Then, if you'd like to stop FTP, issue this command:

sudo launchctl stop

And if you decide you'd like to bring it back up, use this command:

sudo launchctl start

If you'd like for launchd to forget about FTP, that is when you would run this:

sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

The hint as-is will work, but seems a little counter-productive to make launchd remember and forget about FTP all the time.

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Better way to do this with launchctl
Authored by: poenn on Aug 06, '11 02:48:25AM

@leamanc: Absolutely correct. I entered the comments wanting to post this, too. You beat me at it. :-)

Edited on Aug 06, '11 02:48:53AM by poenn

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Published by Apple on July 20
Authored by: masonbrown on Aug 06, '11 04:00:41AM
Apple has an official KB article that was published on July 20 describing this process but adding steps at the beginning to define a service ACL for specific users / groups before enabling the service itself.

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