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How To Install and Run a TFTP Server on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 5

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of installing and running a TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) server on Ubuntu. TFTP is a simple, lock-step FTP that allows a client to get a file from or put a file onto a remote host. It’s primarily used for automated file transfer between machines such as firmware updates, system configurations, etc.

Quick Answer

To install and run a TFTP server on Ubuntu, you can use the xinetd package. First, install the necessary packages using the command "sudo apt-get install xinetd tftpd tftp". Then, create a configuration file for the TFTP server and specify the necessary settings. Create a directory for the TFTP server to store and retrieve files, and finally, restart the xinetd service.

Prerequisites

Before we begin, ensure that you have:

  • An Ubuntu system (version 18.04 or newer is recommended)
  • Sudo privileges on the system
  • Basic knowledge of Linux commands and text editors

Option 1: Installing TFTP Server using xinetd

Step 1: Install the necessary packages

First, we need to install the necessary packages. Open your terminal and type the following command:

sudo apt-get install xinetd tftpd tftp

Here, sudo is used to run the command with root privileges, apt-get is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, and install is the command to install new packages.

Step 2: Create a configuration file for the TFTP server

Next, we need to create a configuration file for our TFTP server. Use your preferred text editor to create a new file at /etc/xinetd.d/tftp and add the following content:

service tftp
{
 protocol = udp
 port = 69
 socket_type = dgram
 wait = yes
 user = nobody
 server = /usr/sbin/in.tftpd
 server_args = /tftpboot
 disable = no
}

In this configuration:

  • protocol specifies the protocol to use (in this case, UDP)
  • port specifies the port number to use (port 69 is the standard TFTP port)
  • socket_type specifies the type of socket to use (dgram for datagram sockets)
  • wait specifies whether the server is single-threaded (yes) or multi-threaded (no)
  • user specifies the user as whom the server will run
  • server specifies the server program to execute
  • server_args specifies the arguments to pass to the server program
  • disable specifies whether the service is disabled (no means it is enabled)

Step 3: Create a directory for the TFTP server

Now, we need to create a directory that our TFTP server will use to store and retrieve files. Run the following commands:

sudo mkdir /tftpboot
sudo chmod -R 777 /tftpboot
sudo chown -R nobody /tftpboot

Here, mkdir creates a new directory, chmod changes the permissions of the directory (777 means full permissions for all users), and chown changes the owner of the directory.

Step 4: Restart the xinetd service

Finally, we need to restart the xinetd service for our changes to take effect. Run the following command:

sudo service xinetd restart

Testing the TFTP Server

To test your TFTP server, you can create a test file in the /tftpboot directory and try to retrieve it from another system. Here’s how:

  1. On the TFTP server, create a test file:
echo "This is a test." > /tftpboot/test
  1. On another system, install the tftp client:
sudo apt-get install tftp
  1. Use the tftp client to retrieve the test file:
tftp <IP_ADDRESS_OF_TFTP_SERVER> -c get test
  1. Verify that the file was successfully retrieved:
cat test

You should see the content of the test file (“This is a test.”) displayed in the terminal.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed and run a TFTP server on Ubuntu using xinetd. Remember, TFTP is an inherently insecure protocol, so it should only be used in trusted networks. For secure file transfers, consider using SFTP or SCP instead.

For more information on TFTP and xinetd, you can refer to their man pages (man tftp and man xinetd) or visit their official documentation pages (TFTP, xinetd).

What is TFTP?

TFTP stands for Trivial File Transfer Protocol. It is a simple, lock-step FTP that allows a client to get a file from or put a file onto a remote host. It is primarily used for automated file transfer between machines such as firmware updates, system configurations, etc.

What is the recommended version of Ubuntu for installing and running a TFTP server?

Ubuntu version 18.04 or newer is recommended for installing and running a TFTP server.

How can I install a TFTP server on Ubuntu using xinetd?

To install a TFTP server on Ubuntu using xinetd, you can follow the steps mentioned in the guide above. It provides a detailed explanation of the installation process.

How can I create a directory for the TFTP server?

To create a directory for the TFTP server, you can use the following commands:

sudo mkdir /tftpboot
sudo chmod -R 777 /tftpboot
sudo chown -R nobody /tftpboot

These commands create a directory named /tftpboot, set the permissions to allow full access to all users, and change the owner of the directory to nobody.

How can I test the TFTP server?

To test the TFTP server, you can follow the steps mentioned in the guide above. It provides instructions on how to create a test file and retrieve it using a TFTP client from another system.

Is TFTP a secure protocol?

No, TFTP is not a secure protocol. It is inherently insecure and should only be used in trusted networks. For secure file transfers, it is recommended to use protocols like SFTP or SCP.

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