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Troubleshooting Cisco IOS FTP Error Code

Oftentimes when I'm at a customer site and something doesn’t work as expected, I ask my clients, “What do you do now?” They respond, "Reboot or reset." When that doesn’t work, they start pulling on the infamous network straws to see what they can try next.

This is when I ask if I can take a few minutes to investigate and understand the problem rather than randomly guessing. In most cases, we typically find an answer to the problem, fix it, and move on.

In this video,  I  demonstrate some of this network troubleshooting. I show how Cisco IOS can misreport FTP configuration issues. Specifically in this situation, the FTP server we tried to copy from did not have the proper permission to download a file to the switch. When this failed the first time, my customer and I both suspected that the FTP account was misconfigured. My client manually logged into the FTP server and successfully performed a directory or listing. At that point we were a bit confused. Why wasn’t it working?

I thought I would try to reproduce the issue using Quick ‘n Easy FTP Server Lite as my FTP server since it is a free portable app that I can run from a flash drive. Fortunately for me, I forgot to assign any permissions to my test account and got the exact same error.

I performed a trace and noticed the FTP error code 550 or permission error. Funny thing, the Cisco switch only reported that the file or directory was missing. As soon as I gave the account the proper permission, the copy to the switch worked.

While this video examines a specific issue related to Cisco, many other FTP clients have similar reporting issues.