When Would I Use FTP?
One of the key elements of web development is the use of FTP. File Transfer Protocol is typically used to upload and download files to and from a folder on a server, usually as part of the web development process although FTP has also been a popular means of managing the sharing of data.
There are various benefits in doing this, from understanding how to provide FTP access to other users to providing an online storage repository for a narrow group of people to access privately.
Let’s take a look at how to setup an FTP site, using both a Linux server and a Windows server.
How to Set Up an FTP Site – Linux Server
In order to set up an FTP site on you Linux server, you will need to take advantage of one of the many utilities already available via Synaptic Package Manager.
For instance you might search for and install vsftpd, a popular FTP solution for Ubuntu computers acting as servers. With this done, open /etc in the File Browser (accessed via Place > Home Folder) and find vsftpd.conf – double-click this to open the file in a text editor and find the following:
Neither of of these should be commented out (this is done with a # symbol at the start of the line) and they should be set as:
You should also add
Once this is done you will need to reset the the VSFTPD server – go to the Terminal and enter sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart.
After the FTP server has been restarted you will be able to connect to with either an FTP client or the command line, whether you're using a Windows or Linux computer.
Set Up an FTP on a Windows Server
Setting up FTP on a Windows server is quite a different process. To begin you need to configure IIS as there is no FTP included by default. Prepare yourself by inserting the operating system CD into your optical drive.
To do this, go to Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Add/Remove Windows Components; from here go to Components > Application Server, highlight Internet Information Services (IIS) and click Details.
Next, fill the checkboxes of Common Files, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Service, and Internet Information Services Manager then click Next to install these new components.
FTP is then set up and can be accessed via command line or an FTP client.
If you're setting up an in-house FTP, then you can select Allow only anonymous connections, which will allow your users to connect to the FTP site without authentication.
This is done via Start > Programs > Internet Information Services Manager, where you should find and expand the server name in question, right-click Default FTP Site and choose Properties > Security Accounts. Then check Allow anonymous connections and Allow only anonymous connections.
Third Party and External Hosting
If you’re using a third party web host (as opposed to self-hosting) then there will be various ways to set up your FTP site depending on the server and control panel software in use.
As a general rule of thumb, whether using Windows or Linux hosting, you will need to create FTP accounts for each user, specify a location for them to access and then add this information into each user’s FTP client.
A suitable FTP client might be something like the open source FileZilla software, although FTP can be performed natively within Windows via the command line, just as it can in Linux.
- Author's own experience
Screenshots provided by writer