FTP is the File Transfer Protocol. Rclone FTP support is provided using the github.com/jlaffaye/ftp package.

Limitations of Rclone's FTP backend

Paths are specified as remote:path. If the path does not begin with a / it is relative to the home directory of the user. An empty path remote: refers to the user's home directory.


To create an FTP configuration named remote, run

rclone config

Rclone config guides you through an interactive setup process. A minimal rclone FTP remote definition only requires host, username and password. For an anonymous FTP server, use anonymous as username and your email address as password.

No remotes found - make a new one
n) New remote
r) Rename remote
c) Copy remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
n/r/c/s/q> n
name> remote
Type of storage to configure.
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
XX / FTP Connection
   \ "ftp"
Storage> ftp
** See help for ftp backend at: https://rclone.org/ftp/ **

FTP host to connect to
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Connect to ftp.example.com
   \ "ftp.example.com"
host> ftp.example.com
FTP username, leave blank for current username, $USER
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
FTP port, leave blank to use default (21)
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
FTP password
y) Yes type in my own password
g) Generate random password
y/g> y
Enter the password:
Confirm the password:
Use FTP over TLS (Implicit)
Enter a boolean value (true or false). Press Enter for the default ("false").
Use FTP over TLS (Explicit)
Enter a boolean value (true or false). Press Enter for the default ("false").
Remote config
type = ftp
host = ftp.example.com
pass = *** ENCRYPTED ***
y) Yes this is OK
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote
y/e/d> y

To see all directories in the home directory of remote

rclone lsd remote:

Make a new directory

rclone mkdir remote:path/to/directory

List the contents of a directory

rclone ls remote:path/to/directory

Sync /home/local/directory to the remote directory, deleting any excess files in the directory.

rclone sync -i /home/local/directory remote:directory

Example without a config file

rclone lsf :ftp: --ftp-host=speedtest.tele2.net --ftp-user=anonymous --ftp-pass=`rclone obscure dummy`

Implicit TLS

Rlone FTP supports implicit FTP over TLS servers (FTPS). This has to be enabled in the FTP backend config for the remote, or with --ftp-tls. The default FTPS port is 990, not 21 and can be set with --ftp-port.

Restricted filename characters

In addition to the default restricted characters set the following characters are also replaced:

File names cannot end with the following characters. Repacement is limited to the last character in a file name:

Character Value Replacement
SP 0x20

Not all FTP servers can have all characters in file names, for example:

FTP Server Forbidden characters
proftpd *
pureftpd \ [ ]

This backend's interactive configuration wizard provides a selection of sensible encoding settings for major FTP servers: ProFTPd, PureFTPd, VsFTPd. Just hit a selection number when prompted.

Standard options

Here are the standard options specific to ftp (FTP Connection).


FTP host to connect to.

E.g. "ftp.example.com".

  • Config: host
  • Type: string
  • Default: ""


FTP username, leave blank for current username, $USER.

  • Config: user
  • Type: string
  • Default: ""


FTP port, leave blank to use default (21).

  • Config: port
  • Type: string
  • Default: ""


FTP password.

NB Input to this must be obscured - see rclone obscure.

  • Config: pass
  • Type: string
  • Default: ""


Use Implicit FTPS (FTP over TLS).

When using implicit FTP over TLS the client connects using TLS right from the start which breaks compatibility with non-TLS-aware servers. This is usually served over port 990 rather than port 21. Cannot be used in combination with explicit FTP.

  • Config: tls
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Use Explicit FTPS (FTP over TLS).

When using explicit FTP over TLS the client explicitly requests security from the server in order to upgrade a plain text connection to an encrypted one. Cannot be used in combination with implicit FTP.

  • Config: explicit_tls
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false

Advanced options

Here are the advanced options specific to ftp (FTP Connection).


Maximum number of FTP simultaneous connections, 0 for unlimited.

  • Config: concurrency
  • Type: int
  • Default: 0


Do not verify the TLS certificate of the server.

  • Config: no_check_certificate
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Disable using EPSV even if server advertises support.

  • Config: disable_epsv
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Disable using MLSD even if server advertises support.

  • Config: disable_mlsd
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Use MDTM to set modification time (VsFtpd quirk)

  • Config: writing_mdtm
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Max time before closing idle connections.

If no connections have been returned to the connection pool in the time given, rclone will empty the connection pool.

Set to 0 to keep connections indefinitely.

  • Config: idle_timeout
  • Type: Duration
  • Default: 1m0s


Maximum time to wait for a response to close.

  • Config: close_timeout
  • Type: Duration
  • Default: 1m0s


Size of TLS session cache for all control and data connections.

TLS cache allows to resume TLS sessions and reuse PSK between connections. Increase if default size is not enough resulting in TLS resumption errors. Enabled by default. Use 0 to disable.

  • Config: tls_cache_size
  • Type: int
  • Default: 32


Disable TLS 1.3 (workaround for FTP servers with buggy TLS)

  • Config: disable_tls13
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Maximum time to wait for data connection closing status.

  • Config: shut_timeout
  • Type: Duration
  • Default: 1m0s


This sets the encoding for the backend.

See the encoding section in the overview for more info.

  • Config: encoding
  • Type: MultiEncoder
  • Default: Slash,Del,Ctl,RightSpace,Dot
  • Examples:
    • "Asterisk,Ctl,Dot,Slash"
      • ProFTPd can't handle '*' in file names
    • "BackSlash,Ctl,Del,Dot,RightSpace,Slash,SquareBracket"
      • PureFTPd can't handle '[]' or '*' in file names
    • "Ctl,LeftPeriod,Slash"
      • VsFTPd can't handle file names starting with dot


FTP servers acting as rclone remotes must support passive mode. The mode cannot be configured as passive is the only supported one. Rclone's FTP implementation is not compatible with active mode as the library it uses doesn't support it. This will likely never be supported due to security concerns.

Rclone's FTP backend does not support any checksums but can compare file sizes.

rclone about is not supported by the FTP backend. Backends without this capability cannot determine free space for an rclone mount or use policy mfs (most free space) as a member of an rclone union remote.

See List of backends that do not support rclone about See rclone about

The implementation of : --dump headers, --dump bodies, --dump auth for debugging isn't the same as for rclone HTTP based backends - it has less fine grained control.

--timeout isn't supported (but --contimeout is).

--bind isn't supported.

Rclone's FTP backend could support server-side move but does not at present.

The ftp_proxy environment variable is not currently supported.

Modified time

File modification time (timestamps) is supported to 1 second resolution for major FTP servers: ProFTPd, PureFTPd, VsFTPd, and FileZilla FTP server. The VsFTPd server has non-standard implementation of time related protocol commands and needs a special configuration setting: writing_mdtm = true.

Support for precise file time with other FTP servers varies depending on what protocol extensions they advertise. If all the MLSD, MDTM and MFTM extensions are present, rclone will use them together to provide precise time. Otherwise the times you see on the FTP server through rclone are those of the last file upload.

You can use the following command to check whether rclone can use precise time with your FTP server: rclone backend features your_ftp_remote: (the trailing colon is important). Look for the number in the line tagged by Precision designating the remote time precision expressed as nanoseconds. A value of 1000000000 means that file time precision of 1 second is available. A value of 3153600000000000000 (or another large number) means "unsupported".