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How to set up online file sharing server

Last response: in Networking
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February 14, 2011 2:04:45 PM

basically, i want to set up a thing where people can upload stuff to a server/hard dirve i have at my house?
how do i do it?
i have a domain (badcapacitorsforum.com) is that helpful???
February 14, 2011 4:03:26 PM

assign a static internal IP to you server.

do a redirection in your router to your server.

and if you don't have a Static Public IP, use DynamicDNS for keeping track of your IP assigned to you by your ISP.

then direct you domain to either the Static Public IP or your DDNS name.
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February 14, 2011 4:52:48 PM

The problem description is much too vague. There are numerous ways to upload files to a server. But what makes sense depends on the purpose, the audience (friends & family, strangers, both?), bandwidth needs, whether there are other obstacles (e.g., ISP potentially blocking services), etc. Are these ppl to be trusted? I might allow my brother to upload files to my server by using a simple VPN, maybe Hamachi, and having direct access to Windows shares. OTOH, I might use an FTP server for people I trust much less (strangers).
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February 14, 2011 6:28:00 PM

well, i think i would have to set up an ftp server (is that what its called?)
what interface would i use for people to uplod their files through a secure interface that they get their own 2gb or whatever, but they cant access anybody else's.i meant there are other companies that have this stuff?
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February 14, 2011 6:53:06 PM

If you used an FTP server, then your users would likewise need to use an FTP client. IE and most other browsers already incorporate an FTP client, although other standalone FTP clients typically offer more features and are usually preferred if you're going to be using FTP on a regular basis.

Like anything else, it just depends on the particular FTP server software what features you get. All support individual user accounts and anonymous access if you need it. I’m sure some can limit storage too. A simple search for “ftp server” on Google will provide many examples.

One limitation of FTP, however, is that it’s NOT secure! Anything over FTP is sent “in the clear”, both login and data. That’s why I questioned your intentions. If you want/need to secure these, then you’ll need something like SFTP (secure FTP). But that introduces its own issues. Your users will probably NOT have an SFTP client by default (I don’t think IE supports it, at least I’m not aware of it). And you’ll probably need to install your own CA certificate ($$$) on the server.

What’s this for? Just for a few friends and family? FTP is probably not a good solution if you’re trying to create your own business solution.

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February 14, 2011 11:01:45 PM

well, i would do it for friends and family mostly. is ftp too unsecure?
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February 15, 2011 12:19:25 AM

What qualifies as "too unsecure" is subjective. Depends on what you're uploading. Are these just pictures of the grandkids, or confidential documents? Sure, if it's just harmless photos, maybe it doesn't matter. But that's your call.

You could consider a simpler solutions than FTP, like maybe a shared Dropbox account, or perhaps sharing folders in your own Dropbox that you make accessible to your family and friends. It's completely secure and only requires simple drag and drop. It even creates backups for recovery purposes! And is accessible anytime, anywhere. Of course, you're limited to 2GB for the entire Dropbox on the free account, but you could add more storage w/ referrals and/or monthly fees. But you can’t limit storage on a per folder basis. But it’s probably easier than managing your own FTP server.

Remember too, anytime you have a service open to the internet, that creates a potential entry point for hackers. They’ll poke around looking for vulnerabilities. By using something like Dropbox, you never leave those ports open, and so it’s much more secure by its very nature.
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February 15, 2011 12:42:13 AM

but i would like to run my own server. can dropbox do that?
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February 15, 2011 2:06:05 PM

Dropbox is a service. The installer creates a set of directories where data is stored locally. Everyone who joins the same Dropbox account has local copies, and Dropbox takes responsibility for keeping everyone in-sync.

I only suggested it as a possibility, just to force you to think outside the box a little. There are many ways to skin this cat of sharing files. And what makes sense depends on the purposes for which you need to share these files, the equipment you have available, skill level, security concerns, etc. Dropbox is just one example of another approach, one that can make sharing files a lot easier. In the early days of the 'net, most ppl probably did use FTP. But a lot has changed since then, and now many different solutions exist that are more efficient, more secure, and relieve you of the burden of managing your own solution.

Let me give you an example of what can *possibly* go wrong. Suppose one of your users is on the road and using the free wifi at a local café. As a convenience, most free wifi is UNSECURED, meaning all transactions (unless protected by SSL) are “in the clear”. He decides to access your FTP server and as luck would have it, some hacker is sitting nearby sniffing the open traffic (believe me, it’s a trivial exercise). Boom, in an instant he has the FTP login. A smart user would have used a VPN to secure the connection before attempting the FTP connection, but since you can’t control your users, you’re at their mercy. But had you used a solution like Dropbox, none of this would have been an issue since Dropbox has already taken care of this issue for you – it uses SSL secured communications.

IOW, it’s all well and good to “roll your own” solution, but it also places a heavy burden on you to know all the issues, all the things that *might* go wrong and compromise not just your FTP server, but maybe the rest of your network. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t do it yourself, only to be *careful*, esp. if your experience level is limited. That’s why *sometimes* it’s better to leave the solution in the hands of someone who has already considered all the issues/threats.

We haven’t even considered other issues, like ISP and free wifi providers blocking ports. FTP is a more complex protocol that it might at first appear. It can sometimes be difficult to navigate through firewalls w/ this protocol. You might want to study the issue of active vs. passive FTP to see what I mean.

But in the end, do whatever you want. If you want to setup an FTP server, create accounts, manage those accounts, manage the firewall, take responsibility for securing that information and backups (if applicable), etc., then go for it!



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February 15, 2011 4:46:36 PM

"Dropbox is a service. The installer creates a set of directories where data is stored locally. Everyone who joins the same Dropbox account has local copies, and Dropbox takes responsibility for keeping everyone in-sync."

thank you for the info, :) 
does this mean that i can install dropbox on my server and use dropbox as the interface?
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February 15, 2011 5:03:17 PM

The Dropbox "service" is not something you install on your own server. Dropbox manages the service on their own machines/servers. As a user, you install a Dropbox application, which in turn creates/uses a local folder where your Dropbox files are stored. So let's say you have 5 ppl, all w/ the Dropbox application installed and using the same Dropbox account. Any changes to the Dropbox folders/files among those users are kept in-sync by the Dropbox service.

But what you can’t do (and what I believe you’re suggesting) is have your *own* Dropbox service on your own servers. As far as I know, Dropbox doesn’t make THAT software available publicly (might be nice if they did, but as far as I know, they don’t).
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February 15, 2011 6:49:55 PM

well, what is their email then? i want that software! :) 
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February 16, 2011 11:57:47 PM

oh great i was hoping you wouldnt say that :( 
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February 17, 2011 12:41:56 PM

Basically it comes down to this: The server side is the easy part.

The client side is where you need to make your decisions. Do you want it to be seamless? Do your users mind installing and using special software? Do you want the users to be able to choose the software they use? How many users do you need to support?

Those aren't questions you need to answer for us to help you, they are questions you need to answer yourself. There are several 'cloud' computing sites on the internet, but they use software they designed and implemented themselves; and it isn't for sale.

If you want to duplicate their efforts, I suggest learning how to write code.
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February 17, 2011 1:47:09 PM

shovenose said:
basically, i want to set up a thing where people can upload stuff to a server/hard dirve i have at my house?
how do i do it?
i have a domain (badcapacitorsforum.com) is that helpful???



Are you setting up for your home business? Check out the software solution at http://www.justattach.com

Is that something you're looking for?

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February 18, 2011 12:38:59 AM

hmm...not really :) 

in response to someone19's questions:
1. i would prefer an online interface, so they dont need to install anything
2. aim for roughly about 10 users starting out, then more later
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February 18, 2011 4:51:14 PM

shovenose said:
hmm...not really :) 

in response to someone19's questions:
1. i would prefer an online interface, so they dont need to install anything
2. aim for roughly about 10 users starting out, then more later

Sounds like you need to google, there's probably a web based solution out there. If you don't find anything suitable, you probably have to learn some HTML/JAVA and start your own project to accomplish your requirements.
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February 18, 2011 11:12:28 PM

i already know some html :p 

im not sure what i will do, but maybe Google will help...:)  thanks for the help
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February 18, 2011 11:13:19 PM

argh...im not sure whether someone19 or eibgrad should get best answer :) 
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May 2, 2012 8:06:22 AM

Maybe you should use a software like this web file server, this way you will not need a FTP client to access files, a web browser will be sufficient.
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September 11, 2012 3:01:48 PM

Have a google at SparkleShare, its like Dropbox, but uses your own server.
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February 27, 2013 11:32:27 AM

Hi all!

Maybe i have some ideas for filesharing websitenames...scoopload, archdive, gaindrive, scoopstock, filejive, savestack, scopeload...

grts
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February 27, 2013 12:29:28 PM

shovenose said:
well, i would do it for friends and family mostly. is ftp too unsecure?


Well if you are worried about security, you could always use SFTP (secure FTP). Filezilla supports this.

http://filezilla-project.org/
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!