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File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Today's most usual way to exchange small files through Internet is using an email service. This is a bad habit, since:
  • email protocols have being created to transfer small quantities of text-only messages, they are not optimised for large files;
  • transfering files via email slows down email servers and make your mailboxes always be full;
  • email servers usually refuse emails that are too large (e.g., MARCoNI allows emails up to 3MB).
To exchange files through the Internet in an effective way, the correct tool is FTP.
As for email, you need both an FTP server and and FTP client.
We provide the server (ftp.elettra.trieste.it) and a service (Ftpupload), you will use the client of your choice (for Windows we suggest FileZilla).

FTP via browser

If you ONLY need TO GET FILES from the ftp folders, you can also use your browser with the following address (URL):

ftp://username@ftp.elettra.trieste.it

where username can be "anonymous" or the name of the authenticated user

FTP connection types

Two connection types are usually provided by an FTP server: anonymous and user authenticated.
  • anonymous connections are useful to GET some file from an FTP server. Elettra provides a read-only access for anonymous connections in order to pass files from inside Elettra to the outside (say, you are working at Elettra and one of your partners needs to fetch a 30MB file: you will put that file in the correct directory and suggest you partner to connect via FTP to ftp.elettra.trieste.it);
  • user authenticated connections are useful to be able to put a file from outside Elettra into our network. We have studied a system that uses temporary FTP accounts for file upload. 

Possible scenarios 

A - You are inside Elettra and need to pass some files out

This is the usual case when you have a large file (say, 30MB) to pass to a partner outside Elettra. Please follow the following simple steps:
  • Find the share (via SAMBA) called "anonym" on the server "ftp". This can be done both from a Windows machine (the full path is \\ftp\anonym) and from a Macintosh (connecting via Chooser > ftp > anonym as Guest for MacOS up to 9.X, or by " GO > Connect Server..." for MacOS X and above);
  • copy your file(s) there: pay attention that this is a word-readable area, if your data is sensitive please encrypt it as hard as possible;
  • ask your partner to connect (via FTP) as "anonymous" to ftp.elettra.trieste.it using a FTP client program (i.e. FileZilla) or via browser (URL: ftp://anonymous@ftp.elettra.trieste.it) and get the data.
PAY ATTENTION: any files in ftp.anonym will be deleted after five days of their creation, for security and space optimisation reasons.

B - You are inside Elettra and need to get some files from the outside

You are working at Elettra and a partner of yours needs to pass you any huge file.
Please ask your partner to make this file available to you by putting it onto one FTP or HTTP server that he can access.
If this really is not possible (i.e., your partner does have NO FTP/HTTP servers under his control), a second approach is possible, consisting in having him upload that file onto our FTP server. The solution consists in creating a temporary FTP account for your partner, to allow him to upload files via FTP for you.
  1. Connect to Elettra Internal Services with your usual usename and password (you need to have an e-mail account on MARCoNI).
  2. Select the "FtpUpload" service
  3. Read the instructions. Input a username of your choice (say, "PartnerA", do not use spaces or strange characters, or your partner won't be able to connect). Click on "Create"
  4. Please wait for 1 minutes, in order to allow the directory creation for this temporary account.
  5. You'll get an email with the details of this account. In particular, a random password is generated. Pass this information to your external partner, and let him upload the files for you via FTP, using the username/password pair you gave him.
  6. When he's finished, connect to the share called "upload" on the server "ftp". This can be done both from a Windows machine (the full path is \\ftp\upload) and from a Macintosh (connecting via Chooser > ftp > upload as Guest for MacOS up to 9.X, or by " GO > Connect Server..." for MacOS X and above);
  7. The data you're waiting for will stay in a subdirectory having the same name of the temporary FTP account username (say, "PartnerA"). This is an Elettra-wide readable directory, if you need privacy please let your partner encrypt the files. Move the data in a destination of your choice.
PAY ATTENTION: any files in the upload ftp folder AND the temporary ftp account will be deleted after five days of their creation, for security and space optimisation reasons.

C - You are outside Elettra and need to pass some files in

You are a partner of somebody working here at Elettra, and you need to pass some huge files to him. To accomplish this need, you will need to get a temporary ftp account, then upload the data to our server.
  1. Ask your Elettra counterpart to create a temporary ftp account for you (steps from 1 to 5 of B scenario), and let him pass its username/password to you;
  2. connect (via FTP, with that username and password) to ftp.elettra.trieste.it using a FTP client program (i.e. FileZilla), not a browser!
  3. upload the data and then disconnect;
  4. communicate to your Elettra counterpart that you're finished. He will find the data in the appropriate "upload ftp" folder (details).
PAY ATTENTION: any files in the upload ftp folder AND your temporary ftp account will be deleted after five days of their creation, for security and space optimisation reasons. 

D - You are outside Elettra and need some files that are in

You are a partner of somebody working here at Elettra, and you need to get a file from him.
  1. Ask your Elettra counterpart to put the data you need into the anonymous ftp folder;
  2. connect (via FTP) as "anonymous" to ftp.elettra.trieste.it using a FTP client program (i.e. FileZilla) or via browser (URL: ftp://anonymous@ftp.elettra.trieste.it) and get the data.
PAY ATTENTION: any files in the anonymous ftp folder will be deleted after five days of their creation, for security and space optimisation reasons. 

FTP security

The FTP protocol is intrinsicly insecure, since it is based on clear (non-encrypted) data transmitted through possibly insecure connections (ISP, Internet nodes, etc.). This is the main reason for the disallowance of nominal FTP connections for Elettra accounts (if not so, passwords could be simply sniffed by somebody on the Internet!).
If the data to be uploaded to or downloaded from our FTP server is sensible, please use other protocols (SSH/SCP for those having an Elettra account) or encrypt the data with appropriate programs (e.g., GNU Privacy Guard).

Resources

Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 17:56