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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space Internet
With AOL's move to being a content provider, and slowly but surely dropping the already-abysmal support of the AOL 'client' software for Macs in favor of a few simple stand-alone apps like the Connect dialer, AOL Radio, and AOL Pictures, I was concerned about how to access my member 'webspace' or 'filespace'.

Previously, the webspace/filespace could be accessed via FTP, but only if you were logged in via the AOL client for authentication into their system. Third-party FTP programs used a backwards-type of authentication, where one's AOL username was left generic (such as "anon"), and the password given was your full AOL email address. AOL then checked to see if you were logged in via their client software (on the same computer) and if so, would grant FTP read/write permissions to your file space.

AOL tech support said that was still the only means of authenticating to the member webspace for direct FTP, so I assumed that FTP had become another internet dinosaur protocol that they would no longer be supporting.

By accident while trying a new FTP client that supported SFTP, I clicked my old AOL FTP bookmark. Rather than the typical "directory not found" error message, I got a new one saying that the password didn't match the user name -- it had tried to authenticate, even though the AOL client wasn't launched. So in the SFTP connection fields, I just replaced the old "backward" username and password style with my regular AOL username and password. I accepted the Host Key fingerprint and had full, authenticated SFTP read/write access to my AOL file space, without even having the AOL client software running.
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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: JimAkin on Jun 12, '06 08:42:21AM

Great Hint, but as someone still using AOL's ugly client-based ftp method and who never knew about the the "old" ftp method (with backward authentication) described above, what's the correct server name to use with AOL for SFTP? (My best guess, ftp.aol.com, doesn't seem to want to work -- no "server not found" error, but no connection, either.) Also, are there any firewall settings and/or port specifications required to enable SFTP OS X 10.4?

Thanks.

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Jim



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: zadig on Jun 12, '06 10:11:37AM

Use members.aol.com for the server name. No firewall changes on your end should be needed.

You can also use hometown.aol.com. I'm not sure what the relationship is between hometown and members, but when you upload files to one, they appear on the other, so I guess they're interchangeable.

For a good SFTP client, try Fugu or Cyberduck.



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: JimAkin on Jun 12, '06 08:52:06PM

Bingo! Thanks very much.

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Jim



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: macmaxbh on Jun 12, '06 12:22:17PM

How new is "AOL Connect" and whatnot? My grandparents are AOL members but I'm not (switched to EarthLink) and they're still using the client software (which I realized hadn't been updated for years); perhaps I should switch them over to Connect + Safari + Mail.
(okay, a little off-topic)



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: JimAkin on Jun 13, '06 08:59:28AM

AOL IMAP support is coming up on its second anniversary.

Note that if AOL is your parents' ISP, and they use dial-up, they'll still be dependent on the AOL client to get online. Once they're connected, as long as Mail is configured appropriately, they'll be able to read (and optionally copy and store) their messages within Mail.

Also, some of the "power user" features of AOL mail (unsend, notify when read) don't work via IMAP accounts.

If it were my parents, I'd have them stick with the AOL client, clunky and antiquated as it is, until it breaks -- unless they have more than one mail account they want to be able to view in a single Mail inbox. Or they REALLY hate all the non-mail AOL glitz enough to unlearn years of habit, and can re-train themselves to launch, sign on and hide the AOL client, then fire up Mail.

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Jim

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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: macmaxbh on Jun 15, '06 07:05:14AM

But I thought they could use the new AOL Connect instead of the full client software to go online--or is AOL Connect used for something else?

You give good advice, though; I should probably keep them on the normal AOL clienjt. The thing I was considering, though, is that they live in a retirement community with a Mac club (which I presented at); if everyone using AOL could be moved over to Connect + Mail.app + Address Book, then presentations on Mail.app could be done without 1/4-1/2 of the members dropping out since they use AOL.

I left AOL in the days of the beta of AOL Communicator. Horribly slow thing, but I actually liked how AOL was trying to break up their client software. I see AOL dropped that.. :) (in a shootout of mail vs it, mail would win hands down. almost ANY other mail client would win, it was pretty horrible. It COULD read AOL mail outside of AOL, which was unparalleled except for netscape 6 mail. IMAP makes things much easier, I'm sure).



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: ziwcam on Jun 19, '06 10:01:22PM

Thank heavens you posted this... I looked (half-heartedly, I admit) for a way to access my AOL mail through IMAP or POP. If you hadn't posted that, I would have forgotten my desires and continued using webmail (I rarely log in using the AOL app)



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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: stutemp1 on Jun 13, '06 09:09:52AM
I had never used the "hometown.aol.com" URL. I had always used "members.aol.com" for the old FTP URL. Hometown was apparently added as an alias to the same member space when they added the online website creation/template software.

To create a website WITHOUT the annoying AOL Hometown banner, upload your webpage files using SFTP hint then use the following URL to access them...

http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/(yourAOLusername)/index.html

The inclusion of "_ht_a" in the URL and hyperlinks within your web pages bypasses the built-in Hometown banner load.

AOL Connect, Pictures, Radio etc. are stand alone OS X programs. AOL Connect integrates the dial-up authentication with OS X's "Internet Connect" dialer. The others allow access to AOL services that cannot be accessed via web browser. They can all be downloaded here:

http://downloads.channel.aol.com/macproducts

I'm not a "chatter" so I don't know if the chatrooms are available through AIM or if you still need the full AOL client program for them.

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Use SFTP for read/write access to AOL member space
Authored by: stutemp1 on Jun 13, '06 09:32:14AM
If you use AOL with an AirPort base station that uses the AirPort modem to dial in (e.g. no DSL or high speed link) than you MUST still use the full AOL client to dial and authenticate to AOL.

Create a new "location" in the AOL client and choose "AirPort" as the type. Then when you launch the AOL client to connect it will link to the AirPort and dial up through the AirPort modem instead of trying to use the PowerBook built-in modem.

There is NOT a way to get the new AOL Connect dialer to pass it's information to the AirPort. AOL Connect will only dial the internal modem.

Entering your AOL login information directly into the AirPort modem configuration does not correctly pass the needed IP and DNS information, so even if it allows the modems to connect, any attempt at browsing etc. results in timeout errors. (Somebody PLEASE prove me wrong! I think I've tried every combination of settings on this and would like to find a way to get it to work.)

So those in rural areas still stuck with dial-up, you'll still need to keep the full AOL client software for wireless access until you can get high-speed. Of course, once connected via the AOL client, you can still minimize/hide it and use Safari, Apple Mail etc. (Apple Mail works great with AOL mail just use the AOL service assistant to set it up)

http://downloads.channel.aol.com/macproducts

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