What can we use to replace our FTP server?  Newer and better?

Pkafkas used Ask the Experts™
What are Enterprise size businesses using to replace old FTP Server technology.

Where I work we are looking to update our technology and replace our FTP Server.  I have been charged with researching alternative solutions to using an in house FTP server.  This F.T.P. Server is used by our:

- Employees
- Customers

To share files from different locations.  We want to have it secured so its not open to everyone on the internet.  Citrix ShareFile is good; but, it is expensive.  IS there any type of technology that we can use and setup on premises?  That we cna install and have it work better and more securely than FTP?

Even if you need to pay a little bit that is fine.  We wil need several dozen accounts to connect and share files to this alternative solution.
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Top Expert 2016

ftp hasn't changed over the years. You either use anonymous connections allowed or not. You can also define user password combinations.
FTP/S which is ftp using ssl or sftp which is ftp over a secure shell connection it is still ftp.

You mentioned sharefile which has nothing to do with ftp this is a very secure file sharing technology but comes at a price, one can also share files from onedrive, box and other stored file providers.

You didn't say which ftp product you are using.. I stay away from Microsoft's IIS FTP and use other ftp products i.e. WS-FTP Server, or filezilla ftp server (supports sftp)
Lead Technical Architect
I'll take a stab at actually answering your question.
I've put two products in place for customers that provide the ability to replace FTP in a "private dropbox" kind of way.

The first is OwnCloud - this is Linux only: https://owncloud.org/
The second is Seafile - this is Linux and Windows - https://www.seafile.com/en/home/ 

With a bit of extra effort, Seafile can be made to run under IIS.

Both have clients for a multitude of OS's including mobile devices.

Owncloud can be extended with plugins (shared calendars etc).

Personally, I have a preference for Seafile - it's reliable, works well and as it works under Windows fits in for me.

Both have enterprise, paid-for, options but both have free versions as well. Not sure what, if any, limitations Owncloud put on their free version, but Seafile limit theirs to 10 users.

I find them a cost-effective option, as both will run virtualised as well.

Seafile also has a couple of benefits that weren't in the last version of Owncloud I used - it checkpoints files, keeping historical versions, so if one is corrupted or malware-encrypted, for example, the earlier versions should be protected. It also only synchs delta (changed) information rather than Owncloud resynching the entire file every time some part changes.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Simple/Free solution.

1) Setup an Ubuntu Bionic server, can be as cheap as $5/month for a dedicated/physical server.

2) Install MySecureShell, a zero config SFTP server... which just works... as you expect...

3) Your done.

If you run Windows, you can also just run an instance of VirtualBox (free) + Bionic (free) + MySecureServer (free).

I run 1000s of MySecureShell instances + they run 100% unattended, unlike ever other FTP/SFTP server I've run since... 1994... I've tried many + they all have... quirks that suck massive time to managed...

MySecureShell is a zero time management proposition. As SFTP servers should work.
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PkafkasNetwork Engineer


What do you guys thnk about:  2 options that I have researched on my own.

Freeware:            https://www.projectsend.org/

Commercial use: http://web.synametrics.com/SynaManKB.htm

They both seem easy to install and use and no limitations.

The mysecure shell option seems inexpensive; but, the users might feel uncmfortable using an FTP Client like WinSCP if they are not computer savey.

the Seafile option seems expensive if you have many users.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018
Unsure what you mean by specific client.

SFTP is SFTP. Any SFTP client may be used.

And I suggest FileZilla, because they correctly implement SFTP.

I personally only use the sftp command line tool with MySecureShell.

Note: When choosing an SFTP server, there is no right/wrong or good/bad answer.

The only point is how much time + budget you have to muck about with initial setup + ongoing maintenance.

With SFTP setup takes around 10 seconds to install the package + then zero ongoing maintenance.

With other server options... you may end up with huge, ongoing, budget line items for dealing with problems.

It's all about money + time.
PkafkasNetwork Engineer


To clarify our employees may upload documents through an internet browser.  The same is true for business partners as well.

The same employees may not be comfortable using an FTP client like WinSCP to upload documents. The same for business partners.  

I am tasked with finding an easy way for user to transfer documents that have not size limitations (such as in email) and can lock down security permissions and that will be easy for users to use.  The above mentioned websites:

Freeware:            https://www.projectsend.org/

Commercial use: http://web.synametrics.com/SynaManKB.htm

I think offer a nice user interface that most people can adapt to.  That was what I was thinking of, an interface that non-technical users can adapt to and to make it easy to learn to use.
PkafkasNetwork Engineer


We are to use other linux based servers that can handle the legacy FTP accounts in addition to transitioning the same users to use SSL (TLS) instead.  It's Nextcloud. https://nextcloud.com/ is the main site.

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