FileZilla FTP Client and FileZilla FTP Server

FileZilla is a open source (GPL License) FTP program. It supports FTP and SFTP. It’s a Windows only program (Windows 2000 and Windows XP). There’s a FileZilla client and a FileZilla server. I’ll be installing both on my Windows XP SP2 box. The client will mainly be used for accessing my website. The server will be used to back up files from my other PCs. The server won’t be facing the Internet.

The client is version 2.2.29 and the server is version 0.920.

FileZilla Client Installation

I downloaded the install executable from the website and ran it. The first dialog boxes asks me to pick a language. The next asks me to agree to the GNU GPL Version 2, June 1991 license. Then I’m asked to pick my install type and I pick standard. Full and Custom are also available. The following installation options are available. The ones installed as part of a “Standard” install are in bold.

  • FileZilla (required)
  • Documentation
    • English
    • French
  • Additional language files
  • Source Code
  • Start Menu Shortcut
  • Desktop Icon
  • Debug Files

According to the installer it will need 12.5MB of space which proves to be accurate.

Then I’m asked to pick the destination folder. I keep the default (C:Program FilesFileZilla). I also keep the default for the Start Menu folder which is “FileZilla”. There’s also a check box to not create the shortcuts. Then the following screen is displayed.

I fire it up (no reboot was needed) and see the main screen. I enter in my sites address along with my ID and password along the top, click the Quickconnect button and get the connection. Port 21 was used by default, I didn’t have to fill it in. Moving files is as easy as drag and drop between the windows. My PC is on the left (Local Site) and my ftp site is on the right.
FileZilla Main Screen

(Click the above picture to see it full size)

My needs are simple so I didn’t need to do a lot of digging around. But there’s extensive help available that covers using and configuring the program.

FileZilla Server

I download the install executable and run it. I’m asked to accept the GNU GPL on the first screen. The next screen presents the install options. They are:

  1. FileZilla Server (Service)
  2. Administration interface
  3. Source Code
  4. Start Menu Shortcuts
  5. Desktop Icon

The “Standard” type installs everything except the source code. “Service Only” installs the Server Service and the Start Menu Shortcuts. “Interface Only” installs everything except the Server service and the Source Code. Full and Custom select everything for install. All types of installs allow selecting/deselecting any item. I pick the Standard Install which it says will take 7.5MB which proves to be accurate. I like the low disk usage, but since it’s a file server it’s rather meaningless as it’s the data files that will matter.

Then I’m asked for the destination and I keep the default C:Program FilesFileZilla Server.

The I’m asked to pick the start up type:

  • Install as service, started with Windows (default)
  • Install as service, start manually
  • Do not install as service, start server automatically (not recommended)

I accept the default recommendation.
The same server asks me to pick the port. I keep the default of 14147. The same screen let’s me pick whether or not to start the server after setup. I chose to start the server.

The next screen asks me how the server interface should be started. The options are:

  • Start if user logs on, apply to all users (default)
  • Start if user logs on, apply only to current user
  • Start manually

I accept the default recommendation. I also chose to start the interface after setup completes.

The install then runs and I click close when it’s done.

Having selected the option to start the interface after setup I expected something to pop up. Nothing does. I have a “FileZilla Server Interface” icon on my desktop and a new FileZilla Server system tray icon icon in my system tray.
I click the Question mark icon and see the following screen:
FileZilla Sever Admin Login
I accept the defaults. The Server address is the loopback address (the PC I’m on). The password defaults to blank and the port is the same that was entered during the install. The following screen opens.
FileZilla Server Main Screen
I pick “Edit -> Settings” from the menu and make the following changes:

  • I change the Admin password (from blank)
  • I note that the admin console can only be accessed from the local box ( or by specific IP addresses listed and keep it that way.
  • I enable logging and set it to use a new log file each day, deleting old files after 14 days.

I pick “Edit -> Users” and add a user.

I don’t see any mention of anonymous users in the settings. I try an anonymous connection and it fails. (Good)
In the setup I never saw a mention of a home directory. I also didn’t see any directory created on my PC. So I try connecting with the ID I just created (using the FileZilla client) and sure enough, I get a “550 Could not get home dir!” message and the connection fails.

When setting up the user I had seen a tab for “Shared Folders”. I had interpreted this to mean I could create aliases to have multiple users access the same folder. I thought that FileZilla might create the users home directory automatically. I guess not. So I go to Windows explorer and create a home directory for my FTP data and sub-directory under that for my user. Sure enough, as soon as I save I notice a button that says “Set As Home Directory” was just enabled. If I had noticed it earlier it would have been obvious. There’s already an “H” by the name of the directory I just set up so I’m done. The default permissions are read/list and +subdirs. I give my ID all other rights (add/delete/append). I’ll be needing these to do my backups.

I try the connection again and it works (using the FileZilla client on the same PC as the FileZilla server).

Now it’s the time for the real test. I head into my Mac and try a connection. No joy. Then I remember the windows firewall. Back to my laptop. I open up FTP port 21 in the Windows Firewall, but just for my local subnet. I try the connect again and I’m in.

I’m not really concerned with security. The Windows Firewall limits access to my local subnet and my home router doesn’t all the FTP port in from the Internet. If someone gets by all those they have to do it at a time when my laptop is powered up and running. And they all run DHCP so IP addresses change on a whim.

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