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Replace the built-in FTP server Apps
Apple's built-in FTP server, which is started by clicking a button in the Sharing prefs panel, is probably sufficient for most users. It gives easy access to your machine via FTP, but has some limitations. If you wish to allow others to FTP to your machine, you need to create an OS X account for each user. If you want those users restricted to their home directory, you need to create an 'ftpchroot' file that limits their access. Other more advanced tasks, such as space limitations, require further tweaking to the FTP server.

If you'd like an easy way to put a more robust FTP server solution in place, check out CrushFTP by Ben Spink. CrushFTP is a Java-based application that runs on OS X (and OS 9!).

It has a wealth of options, including:
  • User (add/delete/modify) management within CrushFTP
  • Set disk quotas and other privileges by directory
  • Set maximum idle and connect times and bandwidth limits
  • Limit max downloads per session
  • Easily specify which port CrushFTP will serve from
  • Control which days a user may connect
  • Limit or allow connections based on IP address
  • Generate detailed usage reports
I ran a very simple speed comparison this afternoon (transfer one 7.9mb file from my Mac to my Win2000 laptop), and I was surprised to find that CrushFTP beat the built-in FTP server (444K per second vs. 440K per second). A more extensive test would have to be done on multiple files to verify the results, but CrushFTP seems to be just as speedy as the bundled FTP server -- at least in a single-user scenario.

CrushFTP is a $20 shareware application, and it's a fully try-before-you-buy package. If you're looking for a more advanced FTP server package, check it out.

NOTE: I am not a registered CrushFTP user, as my FTP needs are simple. It just seems like a well-developed alternative to the bundled OS X FTP server, with easily defined options. As with anything that allows direct access to your machine, please make sure you're comfortable with the product and its background before installing or using it!
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  You rated: 5 / 5 (3 votes cast)

Replace the built-in FTP server | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Nice but not good enough
Authored by: zzen on Aug 12, '01 07:19:16PM

Like most things UNIX, the best servers come free. The best HTTP server is Apache, the best
FTP server is (probably, feature-wise, please let's not start talking security) ProFTPd. And there
are other FTP servers, too. They are written in C, not Java. They could be ported (and probably will be)
and they are FREE. Totally.

I won't be getting CrushFTPd certainly. I will wait for ProFTPd with it's wide userbase and lots of features,
tools, etc...


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But anyone can use Crush...
Authored by: robg on Aug 13, '01 07:44:45PM

If you're referring to the freeware "proftpd", I agree that it's a superior package in terms of features and (probably?) performance.

However, proftpd also requires the user to compile and install from source, and the INSTALL Read Me file is 25K long, giving some indication of the number of options available and the complexity of the installation. It does compile for OS X, but it's not something that everyone might want to do themselves.

CrushFTP can be installed with a drag and drop, and configured at run time via an easy to use GUI. When the user doesn't want the FTP server running, they just quit the application. Given that many Mac users are getting their first taste of UNIX and command lines thanks to OS X, CrushFTP provides an easy route for them to gain access to powerful features that they may be uncomfortable with accessing via the command line. Compiling proftpd is probably not a great way to begin getting familiar with UNIX :-).

The best of both worlds, of course, would be if someone with the skill and time could wrap a precompiled proftpd application and a nice Cocoa front-end together in one easy to use package. If such a thing comes in to existence, it would be very well received by the Mac community, I'm sure!


[ Reply to This | # ]