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How to configure FreeFTPD for Unified Communications


*** NOTE ***: FreeFTPD is not the official FTP tool due to several limitations, however it is a fairly simple to configure software that works great when testing CallManager storage configuration for Billing Servers, Disaster Recovery backups, or manual file get operations from CLI. Please refer to the following documents in case of running into troubles: CSCsm21349 / CSCsi30530 / CSCsr76880

In this example I will use CallManager as the client:

  1. Install FreeFTPD and accept the message that prompts you if you want to generate the security keys near the end. The software wil also ask if you want to run the software as a Windows service, you can either accept or deny as it won't have any impact on this procedure.
  2. Make sure FreeFTPD is running by checking the icon tray, its the one with the hand holding a folder:tray.jpg
  3. At the main Window, you will probably see the services stopped. That's ok for nowmain-stop.jpg
  4. On the left side, click on Users
  5. Create a new user and choose "Password stored as SHA1 hash" at the Authorization field
  6. Fill in the user name (Login) and password, and choose the folder where you would like your user to have its home directory. That directory, which in my case is C:\Documents and Settings\willy\Desktop\ftp, will be represented as a slash ("/"), since it is the root directory for user willy in my configuration. When pointing to " / " from an FTP client, you are telling the system to go look into the FTP, and the FTP server will know based on the user specified also in the client, that the folder looked for is C:\Documents and Settings\willy\Desktop\ftp. Also check the  boxes if you want the user to have just SFTP, FTP or both services available. Hit the Apply button.
  7. Click on Logging and then on Log event checkbox. The path to the logs will be enabled in case you need to review connection attempts or directory listings
  8. Click on the FTP option at the left and enable the service by clicking Start button. *** NOTE ***: if by any chance you receive an error message stating the IP Address is already in use, make sure that:
    1. No other service is running and listening on the same IP and port
    2. There are no duplicate instances of FreeFTPD. If so, open Task Manager and kill all instances, then start it just once (It will probably appear on the icon tray without any other indication its running)
  9. Do the same if you would like to run the SFTP services. The default settings on these windows will usually work fine


  10. Hit the Apply & Save button
  11. Go to CallManager Administration interface for DRS operations, click on Backup > Backup Device > Add New
  12. Fill in the fields as in the screen shot backup-dev.jpg , the Server name is the IP Address of the Windows workstatino where FreeFTPD was installed and configured, finally click on Save.
  13. If you get the error: Update failed : Unable to access SFTP server or SFTP server too slow to respond.Please make sure the login credentials and path are correct., it might be due to an unexistent user (configured at the FTP Server itself), or because of connectivity problems. At that point, review the logs configured in step 7.
  14. The message Update successful will show if the device was added successfully.

In the case of Disaster Recovery backups, the server will only use SFTP for file integrity verification accross the network, that way we can be sure the resulting files will be usable.success.jpg


Lovely and seamless.


Do you know what the official recommendations are?  I am having trouble tracking it down.

Martin Gottfried


I use the standard FTP service which is a part of the IIS in the MS Win servers as well.

I have to say that both solutions are absolutely sufficient and stable for eg. billing servers.

Anyway, if you want, take look to for more info regarding our billing solution.



Murali Dharan

Im running FreeFTPd service as windows system service for CUCM backup but if logoff the server the application also quit and system service is running but the CUCM backup getting failed. Is that mandadory to run the application? without logging of the server?

hi anyone can help me out

I m running FreeFTPd service as windows system service for CUCM backup but if logoff the server the application also quit and system service is running but the CUCM backup getting failed. Is that mandadory to run the application? without logging of the server?


for the FreeFTPd you can run as a system account which would keep it going after you log out, but the problem with this software is that after a while the service stops working and you need to restart the service.  This works well as a manual backup software, but not for an everyday backup software for customers.  I suggest to my customers the VanDyke VShell product as that is the cheapest solutions ($249.00) I have found and works great.  We have several clients on both, but if they can budget the money I always go with VShell. 


Or just use a proper OS, which inevitably comes with it baked in!

Cameron Whitehead

Hi Hammad,

I know this is a bit late so not sure if you still need an answer but I ran into the same issue.  The way I resolved it was to do the following steps.

1. Log into the server running freeftpd.

2. Stop the freeftpd service.

3. Start the freeftpd program and stop and start the sftp from within the freeftp program and press "apply & save" button.

4. completely close the application (don't just press the "x" on the window but also right click on the icon in the task bar and exit the application).

5. Start the freeftpd service again, log out and you should be good to go!

Cameron Whitehead

Hey Muraligprt,

I know this has been a long time now and you my no longer need this answer but please look at the response I added to this thread in response to hammad_shah who asked the same question.

Arpit Arora

Hello Cameron,


I am trying to follow the steps you shared but while trying to stop the freeftpd service, I checked that service is in stopping status and I am not able to stop it.

Just wanted to confirm if I need to change the Logon account to 'Local System' because my machine is in domain and logon account is a domain user.


Thanks for your help.



Arpit Arora

Terry Cheema

Cameron +5 for the find mate. This little trick has been helpful.


Cameron Whitehead

Hi Arpit,

Sorry for the delay.  I do have mine running as 'Local System'


Great information.Thanks for sharing


Great! Truly appreciated. I had been banging my head on the desk to get this going.

Finally it is working following your tip. Thanks a lot.


Thanks Cameron! Worked like a charm! Thanks.

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