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  • Need FTP Advice

    We are seeking out an effective and simple way to implement FTP for our clients - mainly to allow them the ability to upload files to us.

    Our clients are primarily architects and we need to operate under the assumption that they are not tech savvy. In fact, to change the "http://" in IE to "FTP://" is asking a lot. The system must be reliable and cost effective.

    Now.. we have one option that has been proposed to us already, and I kind of like it, except it is $1000 for customization and setup. It's essentially an HTTP front end web interface that the user logs into (secured with name and password), they fill out a few fields in the webpage (including the e-mail addy of the person that is to get the file), they use a feature similar to the 'attach file' feature you use on web pages to navigate to the file they want to send.. and they send it. The system then sends them an e-mail and the recipient an e-mail indicating the file completed uploading.

    SO I guess my question is - does $1000 seem reasonable (money really isn't an issue), or based on what I described, does anyone have another suggestion?
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  • #2
    Re: Need FTP Advice

    How tech savy are you?

    Something like this could be done in a matter of minutes (at most an hour or two) with .NET (and I assume just about any other platform.) And depending on how much time you have I am sure you could find a free solution to do this.

    But if you don't want to do the work and you trust the vendor that price may be a little high but not out of the question for a custom job depending on where you live.
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    • #3
      Re: Need FTP Advice

      not sure if this flies, but we use https://www.yousendit.com all the time w/ clients... it's encrypted and accepts up to 1GB transfers... oh and free is nice too ;)

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      • #4
        Re: Need FTP Advice

        Why would clicking on "ftp://sitename.com" and entering username/password be asked too much? That should be the easiest way to do it. Web-based file transfer solution often impose a file size limit of a few megabytes.

        There are FTP clients that integrate seamlessly into Windows Explorer (assuming your clients are using Windows) and make FTP Sites accessible as Windows Drive. I dont have any recommendations at hand but licence costs should be way lower than 1000$.
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        • #5
          Re: Need FTP Advice

          Thanks Gringo.. yeah.. tech savvy - yes, moderately.. although it is my goal to reduce my responsibility over the day-to-day maintenance and chore of running the network here. I worked 71 hours last week, while that isn't a record for me - it's just too much. My time is better spent working on your projects.

          So - in a sense, 'free' isn't 'free' if I have to do the legwork.

          YouSendIt is interesting I am not sure how well that would work for us. I bet we ought to look into it though..
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          • #6
            Re: Need FTP Advice

            Originally posted by dawolf
            Why would clicking on "ftp://sitename.com" and entering username/password be asked too much? That should be the easiest way to do it. Web-based file transfer solution often impose a file size limit of a few megabytes.

            There are FTP clients that integrate seamlessly into Windows Explorer (assuming your clients are using Windows) and make FTP Sites accessible as Windows Drive. I dont have any recommendations at hand but licence costs should be way lower than 1000$.
            That can actually be done for free with our existing servers. Thats why I posted this up.. I am really on the fence between shelling out the cash and using a windows server ftp set up that I will probably have to look after.

            There is a lot to be said for telling clients to use our FTP and leaving it at that - let them work out the 'how-to' part.. but it isn't very service-friendly on our part.
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            • #7
              Re: Need FTP Advice

              Originally posted by P8riot
              That can actually be done for free with our existing servers.
              I use this method frequently with our customers and haven't run into many problems. Even the least tech-savy of our users (public health workers) can work a browser and I just keep the directory structure on the FTP site very basic.

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              • #8
                Re: Need FTP Advice

                Originally posted by P8riot
                There is a lot to be said for telling clients to use our FTP and leaving it at that - let them work out the 'how-to' part.. but it isn't very service-friendly on our part.
                Last place I worked at was told just that.. Some folks were given a username, pw, and address and told to have fun. The firewall was setup in such a way that getting through it using IE as the FTP client didn't work (it did, kinda, you needed to login through the firewall, then to the FTP site - no a solution for users!) Of course, it was the government that dropped the ftp stuff on em so they didn't exactly have a choice of who to deal with ;)

                Sounds like you are after a customized yousendit.. Don't know that pointing clients to yousendit is the most professional method, especially if they are paying your company a bunch of money. There's tons of uploader scripts out there, just depends on how secure you need it, I suppose. FTP isn't very secure at all.. plain text passwords and all that.
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                • #9
                  Re: Need FTP Advice

                  I had precisely this problem but I wanted secure (ie. encrypted) file transfer. I could have gone with SFTP and provided WinSCP, but instead I went with DAV. My Linux host provides DAV via Apache, and I send instructions for setting up a Windows "Web Folder".

                  I'm serving from Fedora and have this in /etc/httpd/conf.d/dav-example.conf (names changed to protect the guilty ;)):

                  Code:
                  <Location /dav/example>
                          DAV On
                          # prevent interpretation of content as CGI
                          ForceType text/plain
                          # Require SSL connection for password protection.
                          #SSLRequireSSL
                          AuthType Basic
                          AuthName "Example WebFolder"
                          AuthUserFile /var/www/passwd/example
                          Require valid-user
                  </Location>
                  The shared directory will be /var/www/html/dav/example.

                  I have several such configurations in the conf.d directory, with "example" replaced by the name of each vendor or customer.

                  Users open My Network Places, select Add a Network Place, and fill in the URL of the server (eg. https://mycompany.com/dav/example) and their assigned username and password. They can then drag and drop files from their desktop to the DAV server.

                  Don't use NT Explorer, or the "Add a Network Place" option won't show up. If you're like me and hit Windows-E to open a window for browsing your disk, click the Folders button at the top to switch back to an ordinary "Open" view that reveals the option.
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