Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - How to Secure Windows FTP Server and access zFTPFeatures
zFTPServer is engineered and designed for stability and performance. We have also made an effort to make the zFTPServer Administration GUI self-explanatory and easy to use. However since zFTPServer includes many state-of-the-art capabilities and advanced features this may require further explanation. Below you will find a list of FAQ:s we often get. Should you need further assistance you can always have a look at the community driven forum or; to get hands-on-help buy a support coupon.
There is a big variety of FTP Servers on the market, why use zFTPServer?
zFTPServer combines stability, performance and ease of use in a no-fuzz straightforward way. Want to manage an array of FTP-Servers from a single location? Need load balancing and virtual user directories? Need scripting facilities to manage both the server and its interaction with other software and business systems; while at the same time maintaining per user security and access rights?
zFTPServer is THE solution! And what's more? zFTPServer is connected to an active online forum resource and has been developed for many years in dialog with our users. Lately this means the inclusion of full IPv6 support as well as a built-in HTTPS-server for easy access. It is currently in use by small, large and global enterprises, online-payment providers as well as in many universities worldwide.
zFTPServer is a fast and powerful yet simple to use FTP server with lots of fascinating and practical features:
zFTPServer seems to meet my demands, how do I get started?
Download and install the program:
- Installation instructions
- When installation is complete use the zFTPServer Administration tool to configure your FTP-server.
- A good start is to configure basic settings of the server first and then move on to configuring the accounts. Remember to use groups to simplify management of several users which have a similar setup.
Why does zFTPServer use a separate Administration tool?
With a separate tool you gain the advantage of remote Administration, i.e. you can administrate your FTP server from any computer using TCP/IP. Also, resources needed to run the graphical interface need not be run at all times; minimizing server footprint.
The Administration tool will not connect to the server after I configured a new listening port, why?
The port you specify is only used for client connections, the Administration program should always connect to port 3145 (unless you have specified otherwise in e.g. your firewall).
Is anonymous access possible in zFTPServer?
To use anonymous access you must specifically tell the server to allow anything as password for a particular account. Simply add an ordinary user account with the username "anonymous" and uncheck the box "Require password". Any other special configurations are done in the same way as with every other user account.
What is so special about Administrator accounts?
Administrator accounts have administrative privileges, which means it may be used to manage the server with the administration program (normally only system administrators have this privilege).
How do I construct the home directory for users?
You may see the "Home Directory" as a file tree, with the root on top. Simply add folders to the tree in order to build the users file tree (as seen when the user connects to your server). Directories and files from resources will be added into the file tree as requested.
"New Folder" and "Add Resource", what's the difference?
"New Folder" will create a virtual folder on the users' file tree, allowing you to build the home directory as you like. "Add Resource" will add directories and files at the location where it is placed in the file tree.
I have installed the server as a system service but I cannot add any network paths as resources, what should I do??
When a system service is installed the default in Windows is to run that program as "LocalSystem" account. What you need to do is to change the user that the program is running as in order to give the program access to e.g. network paths (a good choice is to use "Administrator" for the zFTPServer service).
- Right-click on "My Computer"
- Select "Manage"
- Double-click on "Services and Applications"
- Click on "Services
- Find "zFTPServer" in the right pane and double-click on it
- On the tab "Log On" you specify which account the program should run
Why should I add more than one resource to a users' Folder?
If you have data in several folders on your harddrives that actually should be seen as one folder, you may create a virtual file system by adding more resources to the same folder. This will be seen as one big folder for the users connecting to your server.
You have some pictures stored in one location and another set of pictures stored in another location, then you may add those two locations as "Resources" to a particular "Folder" and then it will seem as all files and subdirectories are in the same folder (for users connecting to your server).
Another useful way of using this feature is for instance by adding an upload resource to some folders, that way users may upload files to, what they see, some folders. However, the files are actually sent to a particular upload folder on the location you specified. When specifying upload folders, it may be usefull to add more than one resource since then the files being uploaded to that folder will physically end up on the resource with the most available space (it will seem as you have a huge upload folder).
I am unable to remove some resources and folders, why?
If the resources or folders are in bold face it means they are inherited from a group in which the user is a member. You cannot remove resources or folders which a user inherits from a group membership.
My Server is behind a firewall, what should I do?
First of all you need to configure your firewall to accept incomming connections to the server. Then, if you know your external IP-adress you must enter that in Server configuration. If you do not have a static, real IP-adress you may specify a dns-name for lookup every time your IP-adress is needed (e.g. "myserver.no-ip.com" could be used as an IP-adress).
Can I administrate my server even if my www-proxy blocks outgoing calls?
The Administration program is capable of using simple HTTP-commands for remote administration. Just setup Administration to use the www-proxy and otherwise connect as normal to the Server.
Note:  Performance will not be optimal when connection through a www-proxy (e.g. the update of connected users and what they are doing is only updated at regular intervals (every 2 seconds)).
What is Spy User and how do I use it?
With this feature you have the ability to observe a particular user's activity on your server. "Spy User" opens a new window which logs all activity of the specified user.
Do I need to manually update the zFTPServer software or can it auto-update?
If automatic updates is selected the programs will check for a new version each time they are started. Observe though that Administration will only search for and update Administration, and Server will only search for and update Server.
Further, the programs check for new updates every day at midnight.If a new update is available it is automatically downloaded.
Updates are installed automatically when:
- the program has been idle for 1 hour.
- the user manually triggers the update by clicking on the yellow star, which is visible once there is an update available.
- there are no users connected to the server
Alright, this is too simple... I want some challenge!
Ok, then maybe you want to experiment with the various tokens that may be used when specifying access rights for users.
There are many tokens available that will be replaced by their respective value where ever they are found in paths.
These are just a small sample of tokens available:
||%USERNAME%||The current user trying to access the resource (e.g. james)
|%YYYY%||The current year in 4-digit format (e.g. 2003)
|%MM%||The current month in 2-digit format (e.g. 06)
|%DD%||The current day in 2-digit format (e.g. 29)
Using these tokens you may specify directories where access rights depend on e.g. who is accessing the resource or when.
E.g. You may only want to allow uploads in a directory with the current date. Then add a folder to the home directory with e.g.
"%YYYY%-%MM%-%DD%". Then any resources accessrights under this one will only apply during the current date.
Depending on your licence you get access to more advanced tools e.g. events can be configured to execute scripts, giving you the power to do anything you can imagine.