Transfer files / remote file access over Internet?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Captain HRY' asks, " I would like to send files over the Internet to my son. Any ideas how I can go about doing this? "

My response:

There are a number of ways to send files to someone over the 'net. The easiest way to send a small file is by email attachment or through an Instant Messenger [chat] program.

I use both MSN Messenger and ICQ and happen to know that MSN will only allow 1 file transfer at a time. On the other hand, ICQ can send multiple files, providing that the files reside in the same folder on your hard drive. If you're looking to share large files / multiple files / files and folders, however, a much better solution is to use an automated FTP server program.

Side note: FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Quite simply, FTP is a method of communication used to transfer a file from one location to another via the Internet.

How an FTP server works

With an FTP server, you can specify the user names and passwords of the people allowed into your system. Each user account is then assigned privileges which define the files and folders that the user can access.

FTP servers usually run quietly in the background and will work as long as your computer is turned on and has an Internet connection. Anyone who wants to connect to your FTP server must use an FTP client (there are a ton of freeware FTP clients available -- just search Google). FTP servers are a very handy utility if you need to access your computer from a remote location.

Firewall and Router restrictions

If you use a firewall or router on your system, you will need to set up special permissions so that anyone can access your FTP server from the outside world. Most FTP server programs have documentation which addresses these issues.

Side note: A firewall is software designed to block hackers from gaining access to your computer. A router is a piece of hardware that allows you to share a single Internet connection (I.E.: cable modem, DSL) with other computers in your home or office.

Download a freeware FTP server

I searched Google and found a few freeware FTP server programs.

Cerberus FTP Server: [Freeware: Windows 98 / ME / NT / 2000 / XP]: " This multi-threaded FTP server can be accessed from the system tray. The server is able to listen for connections on multi-homed PCs, run as an NT service, resume failed transfers and provides a manager for controlling user access to files and file operations. Connection limit, timeout, and IP access can be controlled by the administrator as well as a variety of other settings. It also offers logging and statistics on connections. "

CesarFTP: [Freeware: Windows 98 / ME / NT / 2000 / XP]: " With this FTP server, users can connect to you through any standard FTP client. It supports a complete virtual file system that lets you preserve your disk structure. Additional Software Required: Winsock 2.0 or higher, IE 4 or higher. "

GuildFTPD: [Freeware: Windows 95 / 98 / ME / NT / 2000 XP]: " This FTP server features plug-in and network support. It has the ability to set each login to a different port and provide log statistics. You can review graphs of past connections and control the speed of your uploads and downloads. "

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