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When you need to FTP, but don't want to.


unFTP is a FTP(S) server written in Rust and built on top of libunftp and the Tokio asynchronous run-time. It is unlike your normal FTP server in that it provides:

  • Configurable Authentication (e.g. Anonymous, PAM or a JSON file).
  • Configurable storage back-ends (e.g. GCS or filesystem)
  • An HTTP server with health endpoints for use for example in Kubernetes for readiness and liveness probes.
  • Integration with Prometheus for monitoring.
  • A proxy protocol mode for use behind proxies like HA Proxy and Nginx.
  • Structured logging and the ability to ship logs to a Redis instance.

With unFTP, you can present RFC compliant FTP(S) to the outside world while freeing yourself to use modern APIs and techniques on the inside of your perimeter.



Precompiled binaries for unFTP are available for Linux and macOS. The Linux binary is statically linked.

To install with Curl:


curl -L \
  | sudo tee /usr/local/bin/unftp > /dev/null && sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/unftp


curl -L \
  | sudo tee /usr/local/bin/unftp > /dev/null && sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/unftp

From Source

You'll need Rust 1.45 (including cargo) or higher to build unFTP. Then:

cargo install unftp

and find unftp in ~/.cargo/bin/unftp. You may want to add ~/.cargo/bin to your PATH if you haven't done so. The above merely creates the binary there, it won't start it as a service at the moment.


unFTP offers optional features in its Cargo.toml:

  • cloud_storage: enables the Google Cloud Storage (GCS) storage backend
  • jsonfile_auth: enables the JSON file authentication module
  • pam_auth: enables the PAM authentication module
  • rest_auth: enables the REST authentication module


Both command line arguments and environment variables are available in unFTP. To show a list of available program arguments:

unftp --help

To run with default settings:


Example running an instance with a filesystem back-end and custom port:

unftp \
  --root-dir=/home/unftp/data \
  --bind-address= \
  --passive-ports=50000-51000 \

With FTPS enabled:

# Generate keypair
openssl req \
   -x509 \
   -newkey rsa:2048 \
   -nodes \
   -keyout unftp.key \
   -out unftp.crt \
   -days 3650 \
   -subj '/CN=www.myunftp.domain/O=My Company Name LTD./C=NL'

# Run, pointing to cert and key and require TLS on the control channel
unftp \
  --root-dir=/home/unftp/data \
  --ftps-certs-file=/home/unftp/unftp.crt \
  --ftps-key-file=/home/unftp/unftp.key \

Enabling the Prometheus exporter on (http://../metrics), binding to port 8080:

unftp \
  --bind-address= \
  --bind-address-http= \

Run with the GCS (Google Cloud Storage) back-end:

unftp \
  --sbe-type=gcs \
  --sbe-gcs-bucket=mybucket \

Run behind a proxy in proxy protocol mode:

unftp \

Run sending logs to a Redis list:

unftp \
    --log-redis-host=2121 \
    --log-redis-key=logs-key \

Authenticate with credentials stored in a JSON file:

Create a credentials file (e.g. credentials.json):

    "username": "alice",
    "password": "12345678"
    "username": "bob",
    "password": "secret"
unftp \
    --auth-type=json \

Docker image

The project contains templated Dockerfiles . To get a list of available commands, run:

make help

We offer 3 different options for building an unFTP docker image:

  • scratch: builds the binary in rust:slim and deploys in a FROM scratch image. The unFTP binary is statically linked using musl libc.
  • alpine (default): builds in rust:slim and deploy in alpine. This image is built with musl instead of a full-blown libc. The unFTP binary is statically linked using musl libc.
  • alpine-debug: same images as alpine but using the debug build of unftp and adds tools like lftp and CurlFtpFS while also running as root.

To build the alpine docker image:

make docker-image-alpine

Alternatively you can download pre-made images from docker hub:

docker pull bolcom/unftp:v0.12.1-alpine

Example running it:

docker run \
  -e ROOT_DIR=/ \
  -e UNFTP_LOG_LEVEL=info \
  -e UNFTP_FTPS_CERTS_FILE='/unftp.crt' \
  -e UNFTP_FTPS_KEY_FILE='/unftp.key' \
  -e UNFTP_PASSIVE_PORTS=50000-50005 \
  -e UNFTP_SBE_TYPE=gcs \
  -e UNFTP_SBE_GCS_BUCKET=the-bucket-name \
  -e UNFTP_SBE_GCS_KEY_FILE=/key.json \
  -p 2121:2121 \
  -p 50000:50000 \
  -p 50001:50001 \
  -p 50002:50002 \
  -p 50003:50003 \
  -p 50004:50004 \
  -p 50005:50005 \
  -p 8080:8080 \
  -v /Users/xxx/unftp/unftp.key:/unftp.key  \
  -v /Users/xxx/unftp/unftp.crt:/unftp.crt \
  -v /Users/xxx/unftp/the-key.json:/key.json \
  -ti \


You're free to use, modify and distribute this software under the terms of the Apache-2.0 license.

See also

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