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FTP server is gone from Cisco IOS

It was a weird coincidence - yesterday I had to upgrade a 2800-series router and had no TFTP or FTP server available on my workstation, so I've tried to use the FTP server on the router. The ftp-server command was not available, which did not surprise me at all, as I knew the FTP server was only available in selected IOS feature sets. However, as I finally found an USB key, transferred the Advanced IP Services 12.4(11)T image to the router's flash and reloaded the router, the real surprise came: the FTP server was still not there.

Today I've got the bad news: I already knew there were "a few" bugs in the IOS FTP server that you could exploit. Instead of fixing them, Cisco simply decided to remove the FTP server altogether.

Why is this so bad? Look at the list of protocols that you can use to transfer files to and from the router that I've put together in my IP Corner article Using a Web Server to Manage Your Router Configurations. As you cannot transfer a file into the router's flash with the embedded HTTP server, the only protocol that you could use to get a new IOS image to the router from a Windows workstation with no additional software installed was FTP, and now that option is gone.


  1. The worst part is; they removed it in the middle of 12.4 Mainline as part of bug CSCsg16908. So much for not changing features in the middle of a major version.
  2. ... and the TAC front-line support will still direct you to upgrade the IOS on your router without asking "do you, by any chance, use FTP server on your box" :)
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