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FTP - 550 - Not A Plain File --- Huh?

Posted on 2006-05-15
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I'm trying to upload some things to an ftp site, and this is what it's telling me. The files go there, but something seems wrong. Does anyone know what this message means?

For other files it's telling me 550 - This file does not exist...which is why I'm uploading it! Not sure what going on here. Any clues?
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Question by:YoungBonzi
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Clever_Bob earned 750 total points
ID: 16687459
Yes I've had this before. A few ideas...

1) Have you logged in and reconnected again?

2) Have you tried ascii as well as binary transfers

3) Are you using a web browser to FTP? If so make sure its Internet Explorer or else go for a proper FTP client

4) Can you upload to a different directory that you create on the FTP server? That will at least help narrow down the problem
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by:YoungBonzi
ID: 16687480
Hi Clever Bob, I'm using SmartFTP. I'm not sure if I should be using acii or binary, how should I decide?
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by:r-k
r-k earned 750 total points
ID: 16687703
"ascii or binary, how should I decide?"

Generally speaking, ascii mode should be used for text files, i.e. files you could edit with a simple text editor like Notepad. This includes *.txt, *.htm and *.html files. Binary mode should be used for almost everything else, incl. all image, movie, database, music etc. files plus word documets etc.

If unsure, use binary mode.

What type of file are you trying to transfer that is giving the "not a plain file" message.
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Author Comment

by:YoungBonzi
ID: 16687736
I was moving a website from one host to another, so it was just about every type of file.

I don't know why I was getting those errors, all the files eventually uploaded and they are working fine now. I ldid learn a bit from this question though, so I guess I should split the points...is that allowed?
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Expert Comment

by:r-k
ID: 16687750
Glad it's working. If you have mixed files then binary is the better option. Ascii is important only when transferring text files between dissimilar systems.

Yes, splitting points is very much allowed, should be at the bottom of the page, a "split points" option.

Good luck.
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Expert Comment

by:r-k
ID: 16687785
Just to explain the need for ascii mode a bit more:

Binary mode is easy to understand, the files are transferred intact, i.e. without any change.

Ascii mode may transfer the file intact, or it may change them slightly.

So why would you want your files changed in any way? The reason is that Ascii files are commonly stored as variable length records separated by special characters. Think of lines of text on a page, with a <CR><LF> at the end of each line. (<CR> = Carriage Return, <LF> = Line Feed). The problem arises because some systems use both <CR><LF> between lines, and some use just <LF>. Thus if you transfer text files unchanged to a system that was expecting the other standard, you may end up with a garbled file. By specifying Ascii mode, you are telling the two ends of the FTP chain to watch for the special delimiters and modify them to suit the situation.

This is somewhat simplified but I think explains the reasoning.
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