DIY Filezilla Server Setup

DIY Filezilla Server Setup

FTP is still a great way to quickly transfer files over the internet. With a Filezilla server setup you can easily configure an old computer to serve up files on the fly. This tutorial will show you how to install Filezilla as a server, configure an FTP directory, setup a user, and connect remotely with the Filezilla client.

Downloading the Filezilla Server

Download a copy of the Filezilla server here.

Installing Filezilla server

The software installs like you would expect. Go ahead and accept all of the defaults.

Configuring the user and FTP directory

Now we need to add a user and tell Filezilla where we want to serve files from. At the top menu select edit and then click users.

Click shared folders and then click add underneath the users section on the right. Name your user whatever you want. Next, click add underneath the Shared Folders section. Here you can grant access to a directory in the file system. Consider checking all the boxes under the files section too. This will grant your user full access to the directory.

At this point the Filezilla server setup is finished. Now we need to configure the firewall and router to allow access to the server from the outside.

Configuring the Windows firewall

If you try to connect to your server it will simply time out. This is because the firewall is blocking the incoming connection. Let’s crack into the Windows firewall and add an exception for the server. On Windows 10, type firewall into the taskbar search box and select “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.”

The advanced firewall settings pop up.

Right click Inbound Rules on the left and click New Rule.

In the new inbound rule wizard click next to allow a program through the firewall.

On the next screen, select browse and then locate the Filezilla server executable in the program files. This file is located in C:\Program files\Filezilla Server\. Select the Filezilla Server application and click Next.

Location of the Filezilla server program
Location of the Filezilla server program

Make sure to allow the connection and then accept the default connections on the next screen. Name your rule and write a short description so you can identify it later.

Configuring your router

Your router must be configured to forward the proper ports if you want to connect from the outside. Each router has a different process for doing this. Whatever router you have, this always involves forwarding a specific port (21 in this case) to the IP address of your server. Here’s a snapshot of what this looks like on a Linksys router:


FTP still remains a viable option to transfer your data. Keep in mind that FTP is not secure and doesn’t provide any sort of encryption. For that you will need to use SFTP or SSH. A popular utility to securely transfer files on a Linux system is rsync. These protocols encrypt your data and secure your connection from hackers. This is important especially when you’re connecting to your server from public locations like coffee shops. However, if you don’t care about security then a Filezilla server setup is a quick and effective way to get the job done.

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