Using FTP
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Quick Overview


FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a process used to transfer files between computers. It is the primary method used to transfer files on the internet. An FTP program is indespensible if you want to create your own web pages or copy files from other sites. File transfers from your local computer to a server is called an upload. Transfers from a server to your local system is called a download.

You would normally use an upload to move files to your web site or to an ftp site. You normally use a download to get a file from a web site or an ftp site on a server.

There are three types of ftp users that can access a server. On our system we allow two of these for our users. The third type has few restrictions and could be easily abused. The two we allow are guest and anonymous.

For most of our users the guest type is automatically assigned. Depending upon the type of account you have you will have access to your personal web space (dial-in), your domain web space (domain), or no access at all (email). As email accounts are secondary accounts for most users, the lack of ftp access is usually not a problem. When you access your account area as a guest it may seem as if you are in the root directory. In a way you are. Though in the full structure of the directories you may be several directories removed from the root, a process is tricking the ftp program to prevent any user from wandering outside of their own home directory. Though it may seem restrictive to you, it is also preventing others from accessing your site and ruining any work or files you may have saved. As a guest user you can view directories as well as download, upload, delete, and rename files in your home directories.

The anonymous ftp user type is most often used when downloading files from remote systems. For example, from a browser if you use the you will be automatically dropped into the default ftp access area. As an anonymous ftp user you are able to view directories and download files. You may also be able to upload files if a special directory has been setup. This directory may be called incoming, upload, or some similar phraseology. Usually when you first see the ftp directory it may simply look like a root directory (a directory that is not a subdirectory of any other) but it is. There is a process that prevents anonymous users from wandering outside of this common ftp directory area. This process works just like the one the guest type has to endure.

Special FTP Services
Virtual FTP

A feature that we can now setup for our Domain customers allows you to setup a unique area for FTP. This area will allow visitors to enter and see only the files that you want them to see. You no longer need to share the default FTP area with all the other users on our server. We are trying to find a method to do this for our dial-in users as well. We will make an announcement when we find a way. Domain customers can contact John request the installation of your own Virtual FTP site.

Standard FTP Directories

We can setup an FTP directory for dial-in users who require one. These directories are useful if you want to be able to exchange large files with people on any system. As our policy restricts e-mail to a 1 Megabyte file size, an FTP site is the best way to move large files. You are still restricted to the 2Mbyte limit for your account, but, if you need to leave files that are greater than this limit in your FTP site for a couple days, we won't penalize you. On the other hand, keeping large files in your FTP site for extended lengths of time could cause our billing system to add charges at the rate of $2.00 per Megabyte per month.

Hidden FTP Directories

We can also setup a special hidden FTP directory for dial-in users. These directories are not visible to any users who visit the standard FTP site. A visitor (anonymous FTP) must know the name of the directory in order to view its contents and select a file to download. There is an extra charge of $5.00 per month. The file size restrictions mentioned under Standard FTP Directories applies here as well.

Further Information

For details and to setup these FTP accounts, contact John Mitchell.