13 Replies Latest reply on Jun 6, 2019 9:13 AM by Neutro

    FTP client on ESXi 5

    pderwael Novice

      Hi gurus..


      I'm running a few VMs on ESXi 5 which I need to backup
      My backup facility is remote and only accessible by FTP (not even sftp)


      I've been googling for a ftp client on ESXi, and I found posts about ftpput & ftpget (although on ESXi 3 & 4)
      I can ssh to the ESXi host, but ftpput & ftpget do not seem to work (not found)


      I guess I'm close to the solution, but I must miss the last bits...

        • 1. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
          pderwael Novice

          Ok, I'm one step further

          Downloaded the busybox binary from  busybox.net/downloads/binaries/1.19.0/busybox-x86_64 and made links to ftpput & ftpget

          Next step is how to get through the ESXi firewall: the outgoing connection (FTP client) is allowed, but I still can't get through.


          ~ # ftpput -v -u <user> -p <pass> -P 21 <host.domain.net> /etc/hosts
          Connecting to <host.domain.net (IP:21)
          ftpput: cmd (null) (null)
          ftpput: cmd USER <user>
          ftpput: cmd PASS <pass>
          ftpput: cmd TYPE I (null)
          ftpput: cmd PASV (null)
          ftpput: can't connect to remote host (IP): Connection timed out
          ~ #

          • 3. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
            pderwael Novice

            Thank you for your post, but I do not need a FTP server, I jst need a  working solution for a FTP client ...

            • 4. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
              peetz Master
              User ModeratorsvExpert

              Does it work better when you disable the firewall completely? (Run "esxcli network firewall set --enabled false" in an ESXi shell to disable it).


              There are probably more open ports required when you run ftp in active mode. You could also try to configure your FTP server to use passive mode only.


              - Andreas

              • 5. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                pderwael Novice



                The answer is yes and no ...


                I can go through the firewall, but the FTP server  kicks me with a "Connection refused". I need to talk to my backup provider about this

                Also, complely disabling a firewall makes me always somewhat nervour, even for the duration of a backup



                • 6. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                  peetz Master
                  User ModeratorsvExpert

                  I would disable the firewall just temporarily to test if it makes a difference...

                  If it works with the firewall disabled you can be sure that you need to open additional ports on the firewall to make it work.

                  The message "Connection refused" by the FTP server can also indicate that the FTP server is not able to connect back to the ESXi host, because it is blocked by the firewall.

                  If you have the chance to try and use FTP passive mode I would definitely go for that, because it is more "firewall friendly" than active mode.


                  - Andreas

                  • 7. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                    pderwael Novice



                    I ran the test with the firewall completely disabled. Getting the "connection refused" tells me that I need to contact my FTP server provider.

                    Also, passive is not quite possible, as I'm stuck with Busybox ftpput/ftpget on ESXi



                    • 8. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                      markokobal Enthusiast



                      Have you ever manage to solve this? I would also like to upload some files from ESX 5.1. I've downloaded the latest BusyBox binary and tried ftpput, but I get "can't connect to remote host (xxx): Connection timed out". I've verified with my FTP server (pure-ftpd) that user succesfully log's in, but when the actual transfer shoudl begin, nothing happens and I get the "connection timed out" message. Has this something to do active/passive ftp mode? Is BusyBox using active or passive ftp mode?

                      • 9. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                        pderwael Novice



                        No, my issue is still not solved as I would like to see it.


                        However, I have found that it was easy to copy files to/from my Esxi with scp & sftp: simply enable SSH from the security profile and off you go.

                        I know, this is still no (S)FTP client, but at least I can manually backup my VMs


                        I've done this a while ago and I do not remember all the details.

                        If you need more info, just page me, I will do my best to help


                        Hope this helps !



                        • 10. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                          peetz Master
                          User ModeratorsvExpert


                          you can get an FTP client to work in ESXi 5.x when opening the firewall for the FTP client and using active (not passive) mode.

                          In the following blog post I outlined how to use the ncftpput tool to backup ESXi to a FTP server. The example can be easily modified for other purposes:



                          - Andreas

                          • 11. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                            jithhago Lurker

                            Thanks for the tip on disabling the firewall --- that worked for me!


                            Also, I would check out wget for a ftp client.  That works and also works with credentials:


                            wget ftp://user:password@host/path


                            Of course...  this is NOT secure.  The password is sent as plaintext over the network.  So, if security is an issue, don't use ftp.

                            • 12. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                              Froggiz Novice


                              i found a way using ncftp


                              1. activate ssh on your esxi
                              2. download ncftp linux files at adress ftp://ftp.ncftp.com/ncftp/binaries/ncftp-3.2.5-linux-x86_64-glibc2.3-export.tar.gz

                                * from windows:

                                copy past the url into your web browser

                                use winrar to extract files

                                upload bin files to your esxi using SFTP option on a ftp client (SFTP is included in ssh)

                                * from esxi:

                                temporary disable firewall

                                esxcli network firewall set --enable false

                                get ncftp files

                                wget {Archive.tgz}

                                create a folder where tar will be extract

                                mkdir {TargetFolder}

                                extract them

                                tar -C {TargetFolder} -xvzf {Archive.tgz}

                                once extracted you can move the bin folder to where you want using the command "mv"

                              3. in esxi ssh go to the bin folder, find ncftpput (the nftp command to upload file) and add execute rights

                                chmod +x ncftpput

                              4. disable temporary firewall (due to passive mode)

                                esxcli network firewall set --enable false

                              5. upload your file !

                                ./bin/ncftpput -u {user} -p {pass} -v -z -t 5 -F -P 21 {server} {serverPath} {localFilePath}

                                -v = use progress meter (not really usefull)

                                -z = resume mode

                                -t = timeout in secondes

                                -F = passive mode (-E for active mode)

                                -P = port

                                if you dont use passive mode, u can disable only ftppart of the firewall with the command:

                                esxcli network firewall ruleset set -r ftpClient -e false

                              6. re-enable firewall

                                esxcli network firewall set --enable true

                              • 13. Re: FTP client on ESXi 5
                                Neutro Novice

                                Thank you Froggiz for this useful information on ncftp! Can't belive that vmware didn't add an integrated ftp client to their web interface, i mean cmon guys it's almost 2020!


                                I've tried using ncftpput to upload a vm files to a backup ftp but i kept getting a "miscellaneous error" while doing so.


                                Took me some time to find out that the transfer crashed when the upload speed was getting above 100 MB/s.


                                The problem was due to the default TCP/IP buffer size used by ncftpput that was not large enough for transfering at that speed, probably creating buffer overflows which generated the "miscellanous error".


                                Thanksfully ncftpput let you change the TCP/IP buffer size with the parameter -B as explained in ncftpput(1) manual page. After setting the TCP/IP buffer size to 999999 the error was gone.


                                Anyway this is a great way to save VMs on an esxi to a ftp server.