ftpmail: Automated Email Notifications of Uploads

The ftpmail program is a Perl script designed to read ProFTPD's TransferLog log entries, watching for uploads, and to send an automatic email notification when uploads occur. To use ftpmail, you configure your proftpd daemon to write its TransferLog to a FIFO; the ftpmail program is a FIFO reading program which then processes those log messages.

The most current version of ftpmail is distributed with the ProFTPD source code.


Please contact TJ Saunders <tj at castaglia.org> with any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding this program.


First, you have the following Perl modules installed: You can easily determine if your Perl has these modules present, using:
  # perl -MMail::Sendmail -e0
  # perl -MTime::HiRes -e0
If you see an error similar to:
  Can't locate Mail/Sendmail.pm in @INC (@INC contains: ...)
it means that you do not have that Perl module installed. Go to search.cpan.org to download the latest versions of these modules, and install them as per their instructions.

Next, you need to create the FIFO that ftpmail will read from. See the mkfifo(1) man page for instructions on how to create a FIFO. Note that you must use mkfifo to create a FIFO; using an ordinary file that happens to have a ".fifo" extension will not work for this.

After that, you need to start ftpmail running, before starting proftpd. For example, you might do:

   # ./ftpmail \
       --fifo=/var/proftpd/log/transfer.fifo \
       --from='tj@castaglia.org' \
       --recipient='tj@castaglia.org' \
       --smtp-server=mail.domain.com \
       --attach-file \
       --log=/var/proftpd/log/transfer.log &
The key is to make ftpmail run in the background, so that it is constantly running. If the ftpmail process dies, then proftpd will not be able to write the TransferLog.

The next step is to configure your proftpd daemon to write to the FIFO you created. Thus in your proftpd.conf, you would use the same path as given to ftpmail's --fifo option, e.g.:

  TransferLog /var/proftpd/log/transfer.fifo

Then start proftpd, log in, upload a file, and see what happens. One user modified their init for proftpd such that the ftpmail program was automatically started before the proftpd daemon was started.

The following shows the full list of ftpmail options; this can also be obtained by running:

  # ftpmail --help

  usage: ftpmail [--help] [--fifo $path] [--from $addr] [--log $path]
    [--recipient $addr] [--subject $string] [--smtp-server $addr]
    [--attach-file] [--ignore-users $regex | --watch-users $regex]

  The purpose of this script is to monitor the TransferLog written by proftpd
  for uploaded files.  Whenever a file is uploaded by a user, an email
  will be sent to the specified recipients.  In the email there will be
  the timestamp, the name of the user who uploaded the file, the path to
  the uploaded file, the size of the uploaded file, and the time it took
  to upload.

  Command-line options:

    --attach-file         If used, this will cause a copy of the uploaded file
                          to be included, as an attachment, in the generated

    --auth $path          Configures the path to a file containing SMTP
                          authentication information.

                          The configured file should look like this:

                              user = $user
                              password = $password

    --fifo $path          Indicates the path to the FIFO to which proftpd is
                          writing its TransferLog.  That is, this is the path
                          that you used for the TransferLog directive in your
                          proftpd.conf.  This parameter is REQUIRED.

    --from $addr          Specifies the email address to use in the From header.
                          This parameter is REQUIRED.

    --help                Displays this message.

    --ignore-users $regex Specifies a Perl regular expression.  If the
                          uploading user name matches this regular expression,
                          then an email notification is NOT sent; otherwise,
                          an email is sent.

    --log $path           Since this script reads the TransferLog using FIFOs,
                          the actual TransferLog file is not written by default.
                          Use this option to write the normal TransferLog file,
                          in addition to watching for uploads.

    --recipient $addr     Specifies an email address to which to send an email
                          notification of the upload.  This option can be
                          used multiple times to specify multiple recipients.
                          AT LEAST ONE recipient is REQUIRED.

    --smtp-server $addr   Specifies the SMTP server to which to send the email.
                          This parameter is REQUIRED.

    --subject $string     Specify a custom Subject header for the email sent.
                          The default Subject is:

                            User '$user' uploaded file '$file' via FTP

    --watch-users $regex  Specifies a Perl regular expression.  If the
                          uploading user name matches this regular expression,
                          then an email notification is sent; otherwise,
                          no email is sent.


Question: I would like to use ftpmail to send emails, but only for files uploaded to specific domains. How do I do this?
Answer: To do this, you will need to configure different TransferLog files in your different <VirtualHost> sections in your proftpd.conf.

The TransferLog file format does not include a field indicating the IP address (or DNS name) of the server on which the file transfer is occurring. This means that ftpmail does not know which server is handling the transfer. So, in order to have ftpmail send emails only for certain domains/servers, you will have to do something like:

 <VirtualHost a.b.c.d>
    TransferLog /path/to/vhost1.xferlog

  <VirtualHost e.f.g.h>
    TransferLog /path/to/vhost2.xferlog
Then start instances of ftpmail running, but only for the TransferLog files of the domains/virtual servers to be monitored.

© Copyright 2008-2012 TJ Saunders
All Rights Reserved