Very Easy. Best FTP Server for Debian

Posted on 2004-10-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a vanilla install of debian.
I do webpages. I use samba to edit my webpages on the server from my internally networked windows pc.

I have a client who would like to edit/add there own webpages.

I assume the best way is to do FTP. Although they are very unfamiliar with pcs of any nature. So for them to login to my FTP server, save a file, edit the file on there pc, and then upload it is too much. If they could work directly on the server it would be best. I would give only them access to there directory of course.

They are on windows. Would FTP be the best? Would this be a special FTP server? Or would it be a special FTP client for windows?

Please give me advice.
Question by:BiSHGoD
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Expert Comment

ID: 12331368
I preffer vsftpd (very secure ftp). It is lightweight,easy to configure and, indeed, very secure ftp daemon. I cannot remember any exploit for vsftpd (unlike proftpd or wsftpd). Or if you are paranoid about security, force your web users to use more secure protocols such as scp or sftp -in this scenario you should start only ssh daemon without any ftp server. There are great number of free scp/sftp clients for windows, such as winscp - http://winscp.sourceforge.net/.

Author Comment

ID: 12332859
That sounds ok but I'm not concerned about security.

What am I concerned about is what I listed. Some easy way to edit files remotely directly on the server.

Security can be handled later. What I need to do is get this thing into production. I see a lot of ftp clients they say can be edited on the server but none has worked so far.

FTP may not be the fix even, maybe some other program I'm unfamiliar with. Because of the low points value I don't expect people to research it, I do that myself, just post if you know of something that would do what I need.

Accepted Solution

AleksandarS earned 360 total points
ID: 12333333
WinSCP client is capable of not only copying files over scp/sftp, it has built-in text editor which can be used for editing remote files. WinSCP+SSH daemon is the combination I recommended - you have just one daemon started (instead of telnet and ftp) and all traffic is encrypted. Works great for my web users.
I am a little bit confused with this:
'I see a lot of ftp clients they say can be edited on the server but none has worked so far.'
I didnt check many of these, but Total Commander and CuteFTP do a job for me. Really, it's not some very sophisticated program feature - all ftp client should do is to download the remote file to the local machine (ie. in temp directory), open it in built-in editor (or in notepad, whatever), save it locally and after that transport the edited file back to the remote server. You can do all of this stuff manually, but then, what is the purpose of all pretty&colourfull FTP clients? :)
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Expert Comment

ID: 12337134
The FTP protocol is just for file transfers, and it won't support something like an online editing.
All FTP clients that claim for editing online, what they do is download a local copy, open it the editor and once done, it wil upload back to the server.

For what you are asking, your exact needs will all be securely and efficiently solved by installing microsoft frontpage extensions in the server. {It will require your clients to have microsoft frontpage installed in their system}

once you install microsoft frontpage extensions in the server, your clients will get a username and password,via which they open the website, and edit it online with the familiar interface or microsoft frontpage.

I am including some URLs on how to install frontpage.



Author Comment

ID: 12338738
No frontpage. I've been a programmer for a long time and I dispise frontpage. And everyone that I know who uses it. I would recommend MS Word before frontpage.

What AleksandarS suggested so far is working fine.

The documentation on VSFTPD seems sparse though. It is right now automatically pointing to /var/ftp but I don't want it to point there. Is also using port 22 but I would rather use a different port. And when I ran make install it had an error so I automatically copied the directories over as the install file said I could. But because of that it isn't in init.d so it will not auto start up, and I can't find any file to 'restart' the service. as in /etc/init.d/samba restart. or /var/backhand/bin/apachectl restart. All the files associated with vsftpd will not use the start, stop, or restart options. Although in online help it says they will, so the make install must do that as well.
Either way the client program works well so far. Does what I asked.

Expert Comment

ID: 12344823
Did you grab vsftpd with apt-get, or you downloaded vsftpd source and installed it manually? If you did the installation from source, you must make startup scripts by yourself. I'm not a debian user, but I have a 'strong feeling' that apt-get installation of vsftpd would do a trick and install startup scripts in /etc/init.d or maybe it will modify superservers config files (/etc/xinetd.conf or /etc/inetd.conf, depends on what superserver daemon you are using on server).
It is usually a better solution to use package installation instead of source-code installation unless you are a bit experienced and know exactly what to do.

Author Comment

ID: 12347509
I downloaded it and did it manually.
It seems to work fine now. The only thing that doesn't work is that it defaults to /var/ftp. I want it to go elsewhere.
The only place I can see how to set this is with anon_root, but I do not have anonymous access enabled. I tried local_root and that did nothing.

But either way you answered the question. Thank you.
If you can tell me how to change that, if youre a user of the daemon, then its just a bonus for me.

Expert Comment

ID: 12348135
Take a look at http://vsftpd.beasts.org/vsftpd_conf.html - this is the complete man page of vsftpd in html. You can find a lot of answers there (ie how to change the default listening port from 21 to anything you want using "listen_port" variable in vsftpd.conf).

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