Transferring large amounts of small files by FTP: slow, excessive bandwidth

Posted on 2008-11-20
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I recently had to upload approximately 1,500 JPEG image files to my website. The total upload size was around 17Mb.

I used Windows built-in FTP transfer and the Internet connection is ADSL2+.

Firstly it took well over 12 hours to upload to complete which seems odd given that I frequently upload single large files in the same way and it is usually very quick. Is it because there were lots of small files that it took signifcantly longer?

The other strange thing about this was my Internet connection usage. I expected to see around 17Mb uploaded but my ISP reports that I DOWNLOADED (received) about 2000Mb and uploaded (sent) about 200Mb during this time. I typically use about 100Mb DL/20Mb UL a day so the majority of the other figures are all down to this FTP upload.

Is FTP a very inefficient method of transferring this type of data? Would it be better if I used another FTP client like Filezilla rather than the one in Windows? Are the above data transfer figures what is to be expected for this type of data transfer?
Question by:knobbylowboy
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    1500 Files produce a whole lot of overhead, considering you used the ftp functionality of IE would explain some of the traffic, but not 2 Gigabytes. That seems to be kind of a connection problem, best guess is that the server you're uploading the data to dismisses it and so you're resending it a hundred times.

    Best Tip would be to try FileZilla as a client (use the portable version, keeps your'e systems reg. clean), works pretty well for me.

    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Do your server host support extracting zip files at server side?
     IF yes then you can just upload a single zip file and do the unzip after upload. It will save you a lot of time.

    Author Comment

    I downloaded and used Filezilla and did a smaller transfer of about 250 files, 5MB, and it was done in a matter of only a few minutes. Looks like Microsoft Windows Explorer FTP transfer is very slow and inefficient. I would be interested to hear if other people have found this too. (Or perhaps I am the only one foolish enough to use it for such a transfer.)

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