When computer networks were already created and the Internet began to emerge, there was a need to transfer files between computers. At that time, the channels were not yet as fast as in the modern world, so a tool was needed for the reliable remote exchange of documents. This tool was the FTP protocol, which was distinguished by its simplicity and speed of work.
We propose to study in detail the topic FTP-server: what it is, how it works, how to connect to it.
What an FTP server looks like
What is an ftp server? FTP server is one of the basic network file transfer protocols between PCs. Works over a local network and the Internet. This is the TOP technology for uploading and downloading information from remote servers.
The external picture of the server depends on the system for the login. The well-known program FileZilla, in which data is entered through the file manager Total Commander. Most hosting sites have their own management system, which consists of a set of file folders.
Since its inception, the ftp server has changed significantly, although the basic essence is the same. There are now additional control commands as well as a separate data connection. The system allows you to perform two main operations: downloading and uploading files for storage. So, for example, when creating a web resource, all the information regarding the site is contained on the server and when you need to make some edits, change the settings, the developer goes to the ftp server, downloads the required file and, after the adjustments, uploads it back.
FTP Server Features
What is ftp and what its main task is clear, but what about the technical aspects? The protocol works in a systematic way, in case of an error, the transfer process is stopped, the user is notified. If there were no errors, then the file was delivered with all the necessary elements. The protocol, in comparison with web servers, has a number of distinctive characteristics:
- all connections are made through different channels;
- access to ftp server only after authentication;
- the presence of binary and text modes;
- multiple connection;
- can determine the type of file being transferred.
It is the File Transfer Protocol that is considered the top one for remote data transfer.
How FTP-protocol works
The server is necessary for fast operation and reliable transfer of information in file form via the Internet. Local networks can also be used. Due to the multiple connection, several channels can be used at the same time. So how does the ftp protocol work? We will try to describe this process in more detail.
Multiple connectivity implies the operation of multiple channels, thus increasing the speed and efficiency of the workflow. Management work takes place through one channel – commands and feedback, and with the help of others, files are transferred.
There are two modes of server operation:
- Active. The control connection sends an IP address. The port number on which the requested data will be received is also indicated. After receiving the information, the server makes a connection to the designated host. The session is activated and the transfer of documents starts.
- Passive. It is used when the client is protected by a firewall with a firewall. With this option, it is impossible to accept the incoming connection, the PASV command is used for the IP address and the port number of the server itself.
Now it is clear how ftp works in two modes. But the exchange of information itself also takes place in several modes:
- streaming – data moves in a stream without protocol processing;
- block – the protocol divides data into blocks;
- compression mode – information is compressed.
The client device is authenticated through the login and password, after checking for compliance, the server sends an invitation. But you can connect anonymously.
Installing an FTP Server
To create an ftp server for storing files, you need specialized software. After the 6th version of the Windows operating system, Microsoft launched the IIS tool for sharing. It is thanks to Internet Information Services that a Windows-based FTP server can be created. With this option, no third-party software is needed.
We suggest using the example of Windows 10 to figure out how the ftp server installation is going on. So, the order of actions:
- In Control Panel, look for Programs and Features and Turn Windows features on or off.
- In the pop-up window, the “IIS” folder will appear, then the “FTP server” folder.
- Check the “FTP Extensibility” and “FTP Service” checkboxes.
- In the “Web Site Tools” folder, activate “IIS Management Console”, “FTP Management Service”.
- Confirm all changes with the “OK” button. It will take some time for the server to start.
Setting up an FTP server
If you successfully managed to create a ftp server, now you should proceed to the configuration stage. Using the same Windows 10 example, consider the step-by-step steps:
- Find IIS Manager through the Administrative Tools section. Select “Add FTP Site” in the Sites folder. Next, set the name of the FTP protocol and the path to the data folder, confirm the actions.
- Server parameters. An important point is entering the IP address, you can bind to a specific address or choose extended access to client devices.
- Verify that port 21 is being used.
- If the server will operate in a permanent mode, check the “Start FTP site automatically” checkbox.
- In the “Authentication” section, you can configure access for registered or anonymous users.
- The next step is to configure the operating system firewall. In the “Advanced Settings” section there is an item “Rules for Inbound Connections”, select “FTP Server (Inbound FTP Traffic)”.
- To connect visitors to the server, find the item – “Local users” and create a group with a name and description. Add users here.
Setting up a FTP server does not take much time, it is done quickly and easily.
How to connect to FTP server
How to set up a FTP server is clear, but how to connect? This can be done most conveniently using special programs. Let’s take a very famous application as an example. Almost everyone is familiar with Total Commander, which has the necessary functionality to connect the server.
Let’s say you need to add a new server. Selecting the Ctrl-F combination, run the “Connect to FTP server” item and add the following data:
- the address;
- connection name;
- username and password;
- connection type.
The connection is made in two ways: SSL – anonymous connection and TLS – using the secure FTPS protocol. FTP server provides access to all files stored on the server.
Do not forget, if the password field is left blank, Total Commander will ask you for a password every time, which is not very convenient. But on the security side, it’s even better. With the correct settings, the connection will quickly be established and it will be possible to work with the information on the remote computer.
What else is FTP used for
You already understood the main purpose, FTP is a server for transferring files. In addition to loading and unloading files, other file system commands are executed. You can store information of different volumes, both business and personal. Ftp server example of use – uploading photos, videos, creating catalogs. Using FTP, you can organize high-quality website administration and upload files to shared hosting. Almost all the information that a lot of people use every day is on FTP storage. This is software, and demo versions of programs, and e-books, in other words, everything that can be formatted into a file. Thanks to FTP, you can forget about the existence of disks and USB drives. Users from anywhere in the world can have access to the information they need.
Disadvantages of FTP servers
Overall, FTP is a great server that is fast and guaranteed to deliver files to the user upon request. But there is an important drawback – weak protection against hacker attacks and hacks, so many do not risk storing confidential information. If someone connects to the local network or tries to intercept Internet traffic, then the data will be available for download. Another disadvantage concerns the security of the entrance. The File Transfer Protocol does not have protection against password guessing, which means that through trivial trials, someone can guess the password and gain access to the files. How to organize an ftp server so that there are no hacks? Make sure your computer is free of viruses. SSH is often used to encrypt username, password and data. By default, the exchange of data between the server and the client is in a completely open format. To avoid file theft, you can use FTPS. What it is? This is a protocol created to extend the basic version. With its help, a secure connection is established and all input commands and information are encrypted.
Let us summarize the information block in which you learned: what is File Transfer Protocol, what it is used for, how is the step-by-step creation of an FTP server, how to open an ftp server.
An FTP server is ideal for material sharing, cloud storage, and driver archives. It is quite easy to connect, there are methods for different OS, as well as the Total Commander program. We looked at the example of the Windows 10 operating system.
To understand the specifics of the server operation, you need to pay attention to the main features: connection through authentication, different channels for connection, several modes. The main, and perhaps the only, drawback of the FTP protocol is its security vulnerability. All information, including personal data for authentication, is transmitted unencrypted. The FTPS extension is used for the cipher.
Using an ftp server will greatly simplify your work, since today remote file management saves time, increases the efficiency of the workflow of companies and users.
You can use the services of the Unihost company by going to the site. Here’s how to log into ftp. If you rent an FTP storage at Unihost, you can connect at any time from different parts of the world. A reliable company guarantees stability and fast download speeds. Each client gets not only the ability to choose a geolocation, but also the ability to remotely access various functions with the necessary configurations. And one more important plus is the guarantee of unlimited traffic.