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500 OOPS error from vsftpd

·226 words·2 mins·

If you find yourself with the ever-so-peculiar 500 OOPS error from vsftpd when you attempt to login over SSH, there could be a few different things at play. Generally, this is the type of error you will get:

500 OOPS: cannot change directory:/home/someuser
500 OOPS: child died

You can search for a solution in this order:

Home Directory

Does the user’s home directory even exist? Check /etc/passwd for the current home directory for the user and see what’s set:

# grep someuser /etc/passwd

In this case, does /var/www/someuser exist? If it doesn’t, fix that and then move onto the next solution if you’re still having problems.

File/Directory Permissions

Be sure that the user that you are logging in as actually has permissions to be in the directory. This affects users that have home directories of /var/www/html because the execute bit normally isn’t set for the world on /var/www or /var/www/html. Make sure that the appropriate permissions and ownerships are set, and this should help eliminate the issue.


If SELINUX is rearing its ugly head on the server, this can be a problem. Check your current SELINUX status and disable it if necessary:

# setenforce
# setenforce 0

Try to login over FTP again and you should have a success. If you want to turn off SELINUX entirely, adjust /etc/sysconfig/selinux (RHEL4) or /etc/selinux/config (RHEL5).