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FTP server on home network

Posted on 2011-04-29
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hello,
We are trying to set up a very simple system where our corporate clients can send us an occasional file via ftp and we can then return different files to them.  We can make it work when we access our server from our computers, but it fails when we try to do it from the corporate world.  What do we need to do to facilitate these connections from business class connections.
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Question by:davidam
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13 Comments
 
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Stelian Stan
Stelian Stan earned 320 total points
ID: 35494532
I would choose FileZilla: http://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=server
It's easy to install and configure.
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Author Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35494610
We have FileZilla, but the problem, as near as I can figure has something to do with port forwarding on a home network server from a corporate client.
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:Axis52401
Axis52401 earned 320 total points
ID: 35494635
Most home routers like Netgear and Linksys has a port forwarding setting, some are called application and gaming but its the same thing. Just forward port 21 to the IP address of your home PC.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:dmessman
ID: 35494652
this may not be the fault of your ISP or your firewall.

I think what you're saying is that you can FTP to your server inside your LAN but not from outside your LAN.

This could be becuase you don't have the right ports forwarded (21 and 22) to your FTP server, or - as if you describe your network as a home network - which might be on a residential line - your ISP may block port 21 traffic.  Oftentimes, you'll see a residential circuit block port 25, 80, and 21.  

If you're on a residential ISP circuit like home DSL or cable modem - that would be my guess.
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Author Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35494701
That sounds pretty logical...is there a way around this...other than paying for a commercial connection...assuming that is a solution at all?
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Author Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35494708
by the way dmessman...that is what I am saying
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:dmessman
ID: 35494720
assuming the ISP is blocking the ports - you could use nonstandard ports - but that makes it a bit of a pain for unsavvy users to tell them to use a different port.

Other than using nonstandard ports or getting a commercial connection, there is no way around it.
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LVL 60

Accepted Solution

by:
Cliff Galiher earned 680 total points
ID: 35494778
While not a direct answer to the asked problem, it *is* potentially an answer to the underlying problem. FTP is generally an unsecure protocol (transmits passwords in clear text among other things) and is not NAT friendly because it opens a second dynamic port for transfers. While some routers support FTP by actually having application/packet detection, not all do. Even if you get it working, corporate custoemrs may have issues because it is blocked at *their* end. In short, FTP is dying a slow painful death.

Depending on the types of files being transferred, I'd look as setting up shared SkyDrive foldres, DropBox, or if you need more space, a paid service (dropbox, github, rapidshare) ...and the space is very competitive and rapidly changing, so finding a service in your budget is usually easy. It is inexpensive, you can usually pay for a year with the money you'll save in wages configuring your own box and router, it is more secure, and it'll save you bandwidth as multiple downoads won't be hitting your network, but the shared service.

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35495082
I have heard about the type of thing that cgaliher describes.  What we have set up is a very complex spreadsheet that changes regularly and that we need to be in control of at all times.  We have built vbs procedures to take incoming data and drop it into the spreadsheet. It then creates an output file which is put into an outgoing folder for pickup by ftp.  Do you think we could replicate this, with remote desktop, on one of the services that you describe?
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Author Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35495095
To dmessman, I spoke to our ISP provider and they say that the port is not blocked but that we would need to change the firewall setting in the DMZ...?  An comments on this?
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LVL 60

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35495300
Git is very scriptable. Most of your cde would be reusable. Just some minor changes to pull data from a shared git repository. Now that I know that this is data that can be easily manipulated by script, gut us a very logical choice. That's how I'd do it.

-Cliff
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LVL 9

Assisted Solution

by:dmessman
dmessman earned 680 total points
ID: 35496204
if port 21 isn't blocked (which you might want to re-check via telnetting to port 21 from the outside) - then it's a firewall issue.  If you can connect to FTP from inside the firewall, but not the outside - then it's a firewall issue.  There's the issue of active vs passive FTP transmission - which has something to do with what ports are used.  This isn't my forte, but passive FTP which is more common - uses other ports than 21 - at random to transmit data.  An easy way to test that would be to put the FTP server in a DMZ.  A DMZ is a part of your LAN where all incoming ports are forwarded to it.

For example, if your computer running FIlezilla was at 192.168.0.5 - then you'd put 192.168.0.5 in the DMZ and then test again from outside the firewall.
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Author Closing Comment

by:davidam
ID: 35497117
I really should start with more than 500 points on these 'general advice' type questions because there are so many good ideas and no specific solution.  All excellent comments and much appreciated to all. Thanks!
David
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