VPN vs. FTP Server

I know very little about networking. So please try not to be too harsh on me if this is a stupid question.

I want to be able to share files (pictures) with family members. I originally was thinking ftp server was the way to go. But I am concerned about comprimising the firewall in order to do this. Does it make more sense to use a VPN router and allow users to log on to the network ? Both concepts seem similar. Is the VPN router a more secure way of letting people access files on my network? Or is the FTP server secure if all security measures are taken?

I have not seen any comparisions between these two methods of accessing files on a remote computer. Are the two methods two totally different things and I am missing something?

One last thing. I am using a broadband cable modem. I don't know if that matters or not.

Thanks for any input anyone can offer on this subject.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by berndusa on 08/20/04 11:07 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
4 answers Last reply
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  1. setting up a VPN just to share photos is too much overkill. But having an open FTP server is also a bit risky.

    Personally I would put them up on something like <A HREF="http://www.webshots.com" target="_new">Webshots</A>

    <pre> \|/
    jlanka (. .)
  2. Sharing pictures was my immediate goal, but I would also like to share files with my fantasy football league in the future. I guess I should have mentioned that detail. I still would like to allow remote access somehow. I was recently given an HP E60 Netserver for free. I thought that it would make a decent ftp server. However, a few more dollars for an VPN type router wouldn't scare me off.

    How does one setup an ftp server without leaving theirself open to unwanted guests? Do business class routers have better firewalls to keep hackers out?

    Is it better to have overkill with the VPN router than take the risk of using an ftp server? Will a software firewall on the ftp server help reduce the risk of someone hacking into my network?

    Thanks again for any help or advice anyone could give me.
  3. This might be a stupid idea, but would putting an ftp server in a dmz zone of a router with a sofware firewall allow access to the server yet keep the ports invisible to hackers? Isn't that the same as using a cable modem with a personal software firewall? I currently use Zone Alarm with a cable modem and have no problems with anyone hacking into my system. I have used sheilds up (http://www.grc.com/default.htm) to scan the ports of my computer to ensure that all of my ports were in effect operating in a steatlh mode.

    Is this method of deploying an ftp server advisable? Or is putting the server behind the firewall, but taking all the proper precautions by setting everything correctly the better way to go?

    Or is the VPN router the safest way to go? Sounds like setting up remote access through a VPN router or configuring an ftp server behind a firewall will be require a little work in configuring everthing correctly.
  4. if you put the FTP server in a DMZ you should be fine.

    <pre> \|/
    jlanka (. .)
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