In part two of this guide on how to run OSGrid on a VPS i mentioned the 4 different ways for communication between your desktop client and the server somewhere in the world. In that post I only described the first two but now it is time for the third one and that is FTP, File Transfer Protocol. The specification was written already in 1971 but it is still going strong even if it has been refined during the years. Read more about the background here:
As FTP is an open specification there is of course open source implementations of it. By now you also know that that is what I prefer as long as it is possible. One of the more famous open source implementations is called FileZilla but there are of course lots of other implementations in open source as well as more traditional commercial products.
You can compare FTP with the more well known HTTP protocol for web pages. When you look at a web page you use a client – a browser like Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer to connect to a web server like then open source based Apache or IIS (Internet Information Server from Microsoft). FTP works the same way but is a bit more confusing as both the client and server parts are called FTP. To make it a bit clearer I will call them FTP server and FTP client in this text . In Ubuntu there is included a FTP server as well as a FTP client. But as the Ubuntu server normally is installed without the graphical layer the FTP-client is a bit hard to get a grip on. If you on the other hand run Ubuntu also on your desktop you can of course also run the graphical Filezilla as a FTP client there.
So our way of doing this is just to use the FTP server part on your VPS server and use Filezilla on your desktop computer to communicate with the server. On Windows and Mac OSX you have to download and install Filezilla from:
Start Filezilla and take a look at the screenshot below:
This is from my Mac and it is also a partly Swedish version, so if there is some labels you don’t understand, don’t worry it is just the strange language of the ancient Vikings….
1. Press the icon in the top left to reach the setup window.
2. Create a new Site shortcut by clicking on New site, and then give the shortcut a name
3. Put the IP-adress or domain-name to your VPS server in the host field
4. Select the protocol for the communication. Here are three different versions and depending on your server installation you might have to try them to find out the best. Normally you can use just plain FTP but like in the screenshot here you might have to use SSH-version.
5. Put your admin user and password here (it might be root like in the screenshot). It is the same you use when you are connecting via the SSH terminal.
6. Click Ok to save the shortcut settings. Normally that also closes the window so you have to open it again and click Connect to connect to your VPS server.
Then the setup windows closes and something like this appears:
Lets have a quick look at the different parts in this screen. Just below the toolbar you have the action window and here you can see the commands the FTP-client sends to the FTP-server and the resulting replies.
Below are two file browsing windows. To the left is your desktop computer and to the right you will have the servers file system if the connection succeeds. You use these filesystem browsers to navigate to the right directories on your desktop and on the server. Lets say you want to upload a oar-file from your desktop to the server. First navigate in the left window to the directory where the oar-file is located on your desktop computer. Then use the right window to where you want the oar to end up on the server when the transfer is located.
Then just double-click in the left window on the file you want to transfer to the server. In the file transfer window at the bottom you can follow the progress of the file transfer.
In exactly the same way you can transfer a file from the server to your local desktop computer. Just find the file in the right window and double-click on it and it all transfer to the current directory in the left windows.
You can even start a few transfers at the same time and they will start up simultaneously or que up nice and well behaved depending on how many threads are available….