How can I set up ftpd to run when my computer restarts and how can I turn it on for port 5021? Mac OS X 10.7 Lion doesn't have a checkbox to turn the ftp server on anymore.

  • 2
    Out of curiosity, is there a direct need for FTP? It is rather insecure; you could use scp or sftp if you enable remote access with sshd instead. Just a suggestion... Jul 20, 2011 at 17:23
  • Unfortunately I need to use ftp for cpanel backup, that is the only protocol they support. Jul 20, 2011 at 17:29
  • @Chris - Cpanel support SCP (which is enabled along with SFTP and SSH when you turn on the "Remote Login" service in OSX). This is an infinitely better choice than plain unencrypted FTP, especially if the data you're backing up is sensitive (I believe cpanel backs up passwords)....
    – voretaq7
    Jul 20, 2011 at 17:34
  • The cpanel remote backup only supports ftp though. Jul 20, 2011 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


As you noted, Lion doesn't have a checkbox to turn the FTP server on anymore.

However, the back-end (ftpd itself) is still there, and you can still enable it manually from the command line by telling launchd to enable and load the existing launchd entry for it or simply running ftpd manually (cf. this thread on MacRumors). Consult the launchd, launchctl, launchd.plist, and ftpd man pages for details, but the basic command to start the ftpd server on the default port is:

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

As was suggested on the MacRumors thread, you may want to take this opportunity to migrate to SFTP or another more secure, better-supported protocol.

  • +1 for answering the question. I shuffle files across my home LAN and don't need SFTP for that. Anything going across the Internet obviously uses SFTP.
    – TJ Luoma
    Sep 28, 2011 at 4:22

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