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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

Understanding FTP


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localfruit

 
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I downloaded Transmit to see what it was all about, and I can't seem to understand any of it. It's very intuitive, but my problem lies in the fact that I have no idea what my server is. When I went to my system preferences and looked, it said that to connect with FTP use this number, and so forth. But nothing. I even went to the web site and tried to download a file from their actual site using their information to put into Transmit, and still, when I click connect, it was always "unable to connect." Why is that? I've been able to connect to all my friends Mac's remotely and pass information, why is it when I plug the same information into an FTP client I can never get anything to work??

Thanks guys and gals
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Dysfunction

 
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FTP simply transfers files. What your server is is usually determined by what information you're looking to download. So you'd have to know what server you're looking to connect to. That is, if you're looking to download a ubuntu distribution you'd be wanting to connect to ftp.ubuntu.com or a mirror (third party duplicate server).

Now, why you're unable to connect to a webserver? Pretty simple. It's a different protocol. HTTP is not FTP, it operates on different ports and the protocols are completely different.

mike
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localfruit

 
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that's what's so confusing, is I was given an address like ftp.panic.com as an example, so why wouldn't that work? How do you change protocol's? or Ports? And lastly, who's username and password do I need, mine, or the person I'm connecting to? Thanks so much for helping me out Mike!

BTW I'm running the newest version of Leopard if you needed to know
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livatlantis

 
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I don't use Transmit (in favor of the free CyberDuck), but they should both be fairly similar in how they work. But before we get there, we'll have to look at what FTP really is, and why you'll want to use it.

Like Dysfunction says, FTP is a protocol. Made for transferring files, used extensively for connecting and uploading to web-servers. For a client -- in this case, Transmit on your computer -- to be able to connect to another machine via FTP, that another machine would need to be/run an FTP server.

You could, on a strict technicality, use FTP to transfer files to other computers on the network (assuming the host has been set up to allow FTP connections), this is not what it's meant for. (Unless we're talking about SSH, which is, again, a different protocol).

For example, my website is realityequation.net. FTP servers usually run on port 21. So if I use Transmit or Cyberduck and connect to "realityequation.net" (the server) on port 21 (which is set by default for FTP), and then enter my username and password -- this needs to be created, and is usually the same as the credentials to login to my hosting control panel), I have made a successful, authenticated FTP connection.

I can now upload/download/delete/rename/change-permissions-of/move files on the remote server.

So to use FTP, you need to know which FTP server you're connecting to and will need proper authentication, unless anonymous login is allowed.

If you want to try it out for yourself anyway, maybe one of these FTP servers will allow you to have a look, although, by virtue of your anonymous login, not allow you to change anything:
http://www.astro.rug.nl/Unixhelp/Pag...2.4.2.1.1.html

Hope this helps. If you have questions, do ask

Reality Equation of Infinite Variables
http://www.realityequation.net/
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localfruit

 
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Thanks so much livatlantis!!! That really made a lot of sense to me. So I been going about it the wrong way really: FTP is mostly for uploading to servers, not other comps. So is there a way for me to send very large files to my friend who's sitting on his couch 40 miles away straight to his computer? If I hang out with friends, we all have macs, we're all on the same network and can drop files on each others computers: pictures, songs, documents and such. But can you only do that when you're in close proximity? Or can that same thing work even though you're in a different city?

Thanks for all your help!! I really appreciate you taking the time.
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louishen

 
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You all have macs - then it is easy.

Any mac can become an FTP server with just a few clicks

http://lifehacker.com/software/mac-o...ing-317033.php

one note of caution: turning on FTP will allow you to share your entire User folder, and typically you will have to give your user account name and password to your friends - which I wouldn't advise as the login is not encrypted and could compromise the security of your mac.

But help is at hand.

http://jeanmatthieu.free.fr/pureftpd/

PureFTPd lets you set up any number of FTP accounts, with their own login and password, eg. Account: friends > Password: **********

You can give this account access to only one folder on your mac, making FTP more secure and protecting your own username and password
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localfruit

 
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and this works over long distances?? Hope that wasn't a stupid question...
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Dysfunction

 
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sure does. I used to regularly FTP files to/from servers all over the world for the most part. These days I don't use it since it's not as secure as scp/sftp, but plenty still do.

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livatlantis

 
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Ah, didn't know about PureFTPd. Looks fantastic.

So you can use PureFTPd as the daemon in each machine to allow the other machines to connect to it, and Transmit as the client in each machine to connect to them.

If your friends want a cheaper FTP clients, check out CyberDuck, which I mentioned above - it's free.

Also, to be able to connect from one computer to another by FTP, you'd generally require a static IP, an address uniquely identifying your computer on the Internet. In all probability, your IP address changes every time you login to your network (this is dynamic IP).

If you have static IP, great! -- Just connect using your static IP as the server on port 21, enter credentials you created in PureFTPd, and you're logged in.

If you have a dynamic IP, there are things you could do.

a) Find out your new IP address everytime you connect using http://www.whatismyip.com/ and then connect to that server. So if you wanted to connect to your friend's computer, you'd have to ask her to do this on her computer.

b) Use a service like No-IP (http://www.no-ip.com/services/manage...namic_dns.html) or DynDNS (tutorial here: http://www.macinstruct.com/node/152) to get a permanent address (a subdomain) that is always updated to forward to your active IP address. This makes it easier for everybody.

There might be one more problem if you're behind a router: whatever your external IP address is, it'll be that of the router and not of your computer. What do you do?

You can do some port forwarding on your router (tutorials for doing this to work with No-IP here: http://www.no-ip.com/support/guides/routers/), or put your Mac in DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the second of which I don't understand very much at all.

So setting up an FTP machine to be accessible from the public Internet can be very difficult indeed.

You can also connect directly to another Mac if you know the IP address (using above methods). In Finder, go to Go > Connect to Server. In the dialog that appears, just enter the IP and, if the other Mac has public sharing enabled, that's it!

(Yeah, it's not very easy, but when it's remote networks, unique IP addresses come into play).

Hope this helps.

Reality Equation of Infinite Variables
http://www.realityequation.net/
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