ESXi 3.5, SSH And FTP

VMware ESXi ships with the ability to run SSH, but the feature is disabled by default and not supported. Even FTP is disabled so you cannot upload images to the server for installation.

To enable SSH and FTP, you have to access the console. Obviously it is not intended by VMware to access the console as you would do in a regular Linux system. But, as always, there is a little magic to accomplish the aim.

At the console of the VMware ESXi host, press ALT+F1 to access the console window. Enter the word unsupported in the console and then press Enter. You will not see the text you type in.

If you typed in unsupported correctly, you can enter the password for the root login. You should then see the prompt ~ #.

To enable SSH and/or FTP, edit /etc/inetd.conf and remove the comments on #SSH and #FTP. Save the file and restart the server or inetd process.

Now you can access the host via SSH and/or FTP.

4 thoughts on “ESXi 3.5, SSH And FTP

  1. I tried to enable FTP services that way, but it doesn’t work… SSH works fine, but no FTP. Did you have to do anything else to get FTP to work?

  2. WinSCP uses the scp protocol which actually uses ssh and not ftp. It does the trick, but it has a lot of network overhead and is therefore slower than ftp.

  3. Ftp works fine on ESXi, but you don’t “just” need to uncomment a line in inetd.conf as for SSH.
    Indeed ftpd requires tcpd which is not included in ESXi, so, download it, copy it into /sbin, restart networking and it will be fine


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