Today let’s venture into the wild a bit and see how to set up an FTP site for yourself, which is just another way of saying that the configured computer will be able to serve files to other people who possess the valid credentials.
There are a couple of situations where learning how to set up an FTP site can be useful:
- If you want to share some files and allow other people to be able to read them or read/write them.
- If you want to access certain files remotely.
- If you are configuring a webserver that needs FTP access to create and modify files.
In short it allows you to access your files from a remote location while giving you greater power and control over who can access the files and with what permissions.
Let us now quickly get to the business side of things and start with some configuration. Please note that I am using IIS 7 on Windows 7, the steps would apply to earlier versions of Windows as well with the occasional obvious changes here and there.
Step 1: First off, open up Control Panel then Programs and then click on “Turn Windows features On or Off”
Step 2: We need to enable (install in other Windows versions) Internet Information Services and in the detail view check FTP Server. Click OK and Windows will do the rest. If you are using an older version of Windows you might need to insert your Windows disc.
Step 3: Once IIS and FTP server are enabled, we need to tweak a few settings, so go ahead and open up Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > IIS Manager.
Step 4: In the left pane, Right Click on Sites and choose New FTP Site. Choose a name for your site and the directory that will serve as the root FTP folder.
Step 5: Click Next and you can now configure the IP Address and SSL settings according to your needs. If you have a static IP, put it in here, otherwise leave it as it is. Again if you want to enable SSL, it can be done from here on in.
Step 6: This step involves setting up “Authentication and Authorization“. You can choose to allow Anonymous FTP (meaning that anyone would be able to access files) or you can choose to give access to selected users or to a user group. Next choose the permissions that will be available to these users and click Finish.
Connecting to the FTP site
At this point, you have successfully learned how to set up an FTP site. You should now be able to connect to your newly created FTP site using your favorite FTP client. To connect, users would need to point their FTP clients to a hostname or IP address. Depending upon how you configured the site above and whether you have a static IP or not, you can provide them with a static IP or hostname if you have one (that is the easiest). Folks with a dynamic IP address can look into dyndns, which would give you a hostname that would resolve to the current IP address of your FTP site.
If you enabled authentication and disallowed anonymous connection, users would also need a username and password to access files. By default, the Windows account credentials for any given user should do the job.
You can also provide the users with an easy front end and save them the trouble of using an FTP client. To do so, you can look into Oliver, which is a simple web-based FTP front end. Users can then access all the files in your FTP directory by simply pointing their web browsers onto Oliver’s location. Keep in mind that Oliver is written in PHP, so you would need PHP installed on your computer and working in conjunction with IIS. Alternatively, you can download and install XAMPP, which includes FileZilla that will let you serve files as well.
Do you use FTP? If so, what are your favorite applications to get the most out of FTP?
Image Credit: Eric Kilby