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Strange FTP Timeout Problems

Posted on 2003-11-02
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Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Hi friends,

I'm experiencing a perplexing FTP problem.

I have a scheduled FTP running on a Windows 2000 Server. It uploads a 30 megabyte MS Access database file to a remote webserver on the Internet.

If I use Windows FTP program, which I belive is ACTIVE FTP only, the upload reaches around 1.3MB then times out.

If I use a program such as PrimaSoft AutoFTP it times out at various times during the upload. Whether I use ACTIVE or PASSIVE methods.

If I use FTP Explorer or CuteFTP and do a manual upload the whole file is transferred without a problem.

Obviously I need to have a nightly scheduled upload rather than manual, and can't see why using Windows FTP or PrimaSoft AutoFTP isn't working.

My FastHosts webhosting company says that the FTP of the file should be fine.

I have no idea!

Thanks,

Lee.
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Question by:LeeGolding
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Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666044
ok, just please show what you did in detail with windows ftp client (the command line based one?) and AutoFTP? how did you put them as scheduled tasks? please show the command line to do that for more detail information. did you tr do same manually? failed too?

later,
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666109
When the uploads are scheduled I use windows task scheduler and they run at the correct time daily.  The frustrating thing is that I can't get them to work manually either. I'm trying both command line FTP and AutoFTP manually to no avail.

The windows FTP client is the command line one. I simply log into the webspace, change the type to binary and used the 'PUT' command to start the local file upload manually. It times out within abour 2-3 minutes :(

Using AutoFTP I get the same problem. Whether I use passive or active.

Lee.
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Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666153
so it looks the problem has not relation with the task scheduler.

MSKB Q289240 says a SYMPTOMS, not sure if it is yours. are you sure your w2k is full patched?
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666185
Windows 2000 is fully patched.

The task scheduler is fine.

Just spoke to my ISP and they say the FTP is fine. I'm still not convinced.

Lee.
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Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666239
ok, a few more questions:

1. did you try do same with other clients (w2k server or pro), same result?
2. did you try do same with other fp servers, same result?
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666258
Is there any FTP client that I can use the logs EVERYTHING including if the FTP is timing out, if the FTP is resumed to continue the transfer and has the option of ACTIVE and PASSIVE FTP.

That way I will know EXACTLY what is going on during the transfer. Once I have this, I can try removing my firewall on my Netgear 814DG router by putting my PC on the DMZ. But I dont think its the firewall as it doesn't make any difference if I use Passive or Active.

Then again, the FTP clients I've used may claim to support both modes but may not.

Lee.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666301
I dont think "you dont think its the firewall as it doesn't make any difference if I use Passive or Active", you should have a test for it. dont believe all of what vendor said. hehe
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666425
I've put my ADSL router on the DMZ so no firewall there.

I've closed ZoneAlarm professional down so no firewall there.

I still get the timeout using ACTIVE or PASSIVE on PrimaSofts AutoFTP scheduled FTP upload!

Pulling my hair out!

Lee.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666518
hehe, dont be so, we can solve it finnally. :))

just let you know, as what microsoft said officially: "The FTP clients that ship with Windows do not support passive mode. Therefore, they always need to negotiate a data port when issuing a command that returns data."
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666531
Ok, just run some tests.

The first three manual transfers timed out at 113kb.

The next two scheduled transfers timed out at 113kb.

The next manual transfer uploaded fine :(

The next scheduled or manual upload timed out at 113kb.

It doesn't matter if I switch from ACTIVE to PASSIVE mode.

It really does look like a problem with my ftp server online. Should I phone technical support again?
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9666539
Whats the difference between active and passive FTP in simple terms?

Thanks for all the help so far by the way :)

Lee.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9666541
if your ftp client (either windows or not) can work well with other ftp server on the internet...
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Bing CISM / CISSP earned 75 total points
ID: 9666550
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Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9666909
Have you tried a "send" instead of a "put?"  Do you make sure you are in the directory you're sending to before doing the put/send?  If the file name is the same all the time, have you tried PUTting it to a different filename, then after the PUT do a DELETE of the old one and then  RENAME the new one to the old name?
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9670504
Yes I've tried that.

Lee.
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Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9672337
What other FTP clients have you tried besides AutoFTP, Cute and FTP Explorer?  You say it works with FTP Explorer and Cute.  

Try Bullet-proof FTP.  It seems pretty solid, and has a lot of features.  It might even be able to do scheduled xfers.
I'm not sure if it logs everything you want to see, but it might.
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9675417
Ahhhh!

I opened the ports from 1056 to 10000 on my ADSL router.

Then used Windows FTP from the command prompt and I can upload the file without a problem. All 25+ megabytes of it!

I phoned Fast Hosts and they claim that ACTIVE FTP will NOT work with their servers and only PASSIVE FTP does. How can this be when Windows FTP from the command prompt is ACTIVE transfer ONLY! Impossible is it not?

Heres my understanding of Active and Passive Transfers:

ACTIVE FTP is when the remote FTP server initiates the data connection to the client computer, when the client is uploading a data file. Whereas, with PASSIVE FTP, the client makes the data connection to a port on the remote FTP server, when the client is uploading a data file.

Is this correct as my brain hurts!? :(

I personally think that their FTP server is NOT setup for PASSIVE FTP requests. Consequently, its firewall is blocking my client PCs attempts to setup a data transfer connection to a port on the remote FTP server, and timing out the transfer at around 113kb.

What do you guys and gals think?

Lee.
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Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 9676454
hehe, congratulations!
btw, why you did not early mention that you blocked some ports on the router? :)
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Assisted Solution

by:ShineOn
ShineOn earned 75 total points
ID: 9676881
Pretty much regardless of what you are doing, the "target" port is the one in the RFC spec, and the "source" port is a "high" port, meaning the client will ask for a port 20 & 21 link, but the connection back in the other direction is almost always a "high port."  A "high port" ranges from 1024 to 65536.  Below 1024 is the port range reserved for specific usage.

If you were blocking high ports in, regardless of requests out, you were doomed to failure, which is the implication of bbao's comment.

Packet filtering is a very VERY important factor that must NEVER be ignored when doing any type of IP communications.
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9678760
bbao, I put the ADSL router on the DMZ so NO ports should have been blocked. Perhaps the router's firewall is crap?

Lee.
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9678778
Anyway, I still haven't solved performing the FTP in PASSIVE mode which is what I would like as I then don't have to open any high ports (1024-65535) on my router. As the upload connection would then open a high port on the remote FTP server.

Any ideas?

Thanks so far :)

Lee.
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Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9678907
What kind of router do you have, and how is it set up for blocking ports?  It could be that you don't have it configured right.

If you initiate a transaction, you should automatically be enabling response packets through.  In other words, "stateful" filter exceptions should be used, "best case."  This allows only packets that are in response to a connection initiated behind the firewall, in through the firewall.  Indiscriminately blocking high ports will not help your situation, IMO.  If you can't do stateful exceptions then you have to allow high-port responses to standard-port requests.
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Author Comment

by:LeeGolding
ID: 9738356
Passive FTP is working now. Looks like Fast Hosts got there firewalls sorted!

Thanks for all the help. Points awarded.
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