FTP (Outbound to a Remote)

In addition to Files.com's built in FTP capabilities for accepting inbound connections via the FTP or FTPS protocols, Files.com also supports connecting outbound to other services via FTP or FTPS.

You can even complete the loop and connect to Files.com via FTP and have Files.com proxy that connection out to another service also using FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or any other outbound connection supported by Files.com.

Files.com's Remote Server Mount feature gives you the ability connect a specific folder on Files.com to the remote server in a real time manner.

That folder then becomes a client, or window, accessing the files stored in your remote server or cloud.

Once you configure a Mount, any operation you perform on or inside that folder will act directly on the remote in real time. Whether you are dropping a file into that folder, deleting a file, creating a subfolder, or performing any other file/folder operations your Files.com user has permissions for, those operations will "pass through" to the remote in real time.

This powerful feature enables a wide variety of use cases such as:

  • accessing files on a counterparty (client or vendor)'s cloud without provisioning individual access to individual users.
  • reducing storage costs by leveraging on-premise or bulk storage solutions
  • enabling applications to access 3rd party clouds via Files.com API, FTP, SFTP, or Files.com Apps
  • and many more

Alternatively, Files.com's Remote Server Sync feature give you the ability to push or pull files to or from remote servers. This means that the files will exist in both places at the end of the sync process.

A remote sync can be a "push", where files from your Files.com site are transferred to the remote server, a "pull" where files are transferred from the remote server to your Files.com site, or a two-way "sync" where files that are new or changed in either location are pushed and pulled to maintain a synchronized state between the folder on your Files.com site and that on the remote server.

This integration requires Files.com's Enterprise Connectivity Addon, which is included for free on the Premier or Enterprise plan.

Add a Remote Server Using the FTP Protocol

Go to Settings > Integrations and scroll to Remote servers. If you do not see the remote server connection you wish to use listed, click the Add new remote server button and select FTP.

Port

Most of the time, the default port value of 21 should be used for FTP. Only use an alternate port if you know the remote server requires it. The other commonly used remote port, 990, typically means that the server requires SSL using the Implicit method. When using port 990, you most likely need to also select Require SSL (Implicit) under the SSL selection.

IP Addresses Used For Connection

If you have a Custom Domain installed on your site, that means Files.com has provisioned two dedicated IP addresses for your site and it will use them by default for outbound connections to the remote server. Provide these 2 IP addresses to your counterparties and ask them to whitelist them in any applicable firewall.

If you do not have a Custom Domain installed on your site, you do not have Dedicated IP Addresses provisioned for your site and Files.com will use its entire pool of IP addresses for connecting outbound to the remote server. If your counterparties maintain an IP Address whitelist, you will need to have them whitelist all of the IPs on this list.

Customers often ask for Dedicated IP addresses as a way to avoid having to ask their counterparty to whitelist a huge list of IP addresses.

We are able to offer that for Remote Server connection purposes via somewhat of a backdoor method, which is adding a Custom Domain to your site. Having a custom domain provides a justification for the dedicated IP address.

Files.com automatically provisions a pair of dedicated IP addresses for every site that has a custom domain enabled. We do that because FTP, unlike HTTP, requires that every custom domain be hosted on a dedicated IP address in order to have a custom SSL Certificate that matches the domain.

This means that if you have users who restrict outbound access via a firewall, they will only need to whitelist your two dedicated IP addresses. rather than having to whitelist our entire published list of IP addresses (see above).

Custom domains and, therefore, dedicated IPs are only available on the Power and Premier plans. If you are on a Starter plan, you will need to upgrade to use a custom domain or dedicated IPs.

Dedicated IPs, once provisioned, are used for both inbound connections to your site via your custom domain, as well as outbound connections from Files.com to certain applicable Remote Servers that are used for Remote Server Sync and Remote Server Mount.

By default, Files.com will use your dedicated IP addresses for outbound connections to FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and S3 Compatible remote servers. However, you can disable the use of your dedicated IP in these circumstances if you need to. (You might do that if your counterparty has already whitelisted the main Files.com IP range, for example.)

SSL

Files.com will use SSL security for outbound FTP connections wherever possible. You can customize how Files.com will use SSL on this specific remote server connection. The available options are Use If Available, Require SSL (Explicit), Require SSL (Implicit), and Never use.

Choose Require SSL (Explicit) or Require SSL (Implicit) if you know that your remote FTP server does support SSL. This will require SSL, which is the most secure option.

Choose Never if your remote FTP server does not support SSL. This option is insecure.

By default, Files.com will ensure that the remote SSL Certificate matches the hostname used for the connection and also ensure that the remote SSL Certificate is signed by a trusted Certificate authority. You may relax this requirement by telling Files.com to allow non-matching certificates. This option is insecure.

Maximum Number of Connections

You can configure a maximum number of connections that Files.com will make at a time to the remote FTP server. We recommend the default value of 25, as this will provide the a high level of parallelism, which improves performance.

Some server administrators will request that you reduce this number to reduce the pressure on their server. Be aware that reducing it too low will reduce performance because requests may have to wait for a free connection before they are able to complete.

Files.com will use best efforts to honor the maximum number specified here, though it may still burst above this number on certain occasions, such as when moving the connection to another one of our gateway servers internally. As a cloud-based service, we often reconfigure our network in real time to provide optimized performance. If we ever go above this number, you should expect the connection count to return to the specified number promptly.

Once your Remote Server is added, now you need to integrate it to Files.com as either a Remote Server Mount or Remote Server Sync.

Add Remote Server Mount

Remote Server Mounts are created by mounting them onto an empty folder in Files.com. This folder should ideally not be the Root of your site, although that is supported if you need it.

From the Files icon on the left, navigate to the location where you want the mounted folder to be and create a new folder. Navigate into the newly created folder and click the Folder Settings button on the top right.

Select Remote Server Mount from the list and click Add new remote server mount button. Select the remote server.

Choose the Remote folder, which is the portion of the remote file system that will be mounted into this folder on Files.com. You can either by leave the default "/" (i.e., the remote server's root directory) or click on Choose a different folder link and navigate to the remote folder you want to this folder to connect to.

Click the Save button. The folder will reload and immediately list the remote folders/files from the selected remote path.

Add Remote Server Sync

If you instead prefer to do a Sync with the remote, follow these directions.

  1. From Files, navigate into the folder where you would like to add the remote server sync and click Folder settings > Sync to/from remote server.

Click the Add new remote server sync button to reveal the form.

Select the server you would like to transfer to or from by clicking on the Remote server menu.

Sync direction

Next choose your Sync direction. You have three choices:

  1. Push to the remote server: This option uploads files and folders from your designated folder in your Files.com site to the remote server.
  2. Pull from the remote server: This option downloads files from the remote server and saves them in your designated folder in your Files.com site.
  3. Two-way sync: this option checks for new files, deleted files, and changed modification dates on both servers and then pushes and pulls as needed to keep the folders synchronized on both servers.

Delete or Keep after copying

You have the option to delete files on the source server after a push or pull. Use the After copying menu to select whether you would like files that are successfully transferred to be deleted from or kept on the source server.

Remote path

Enter the remote path to or from which you would like files and folders transferred, starting after the folder/directory your remote user lands in upon authentication.

For example: if the remote server has a folder structure folderA/folderB/folderC, and the user credentials that you have configured your sync server to log in with automatically land that user inside folderA, then to properly configure your sync folder behavior to transfer files to or from folderC, you would enter the path as folderB/folderC.

Troubleshooting FTP Outbound Connections

Most of the time, outbound FTP connection issues are caused by one of the following things:

  • Most common: Firewalls or other restrictions on the remote server that require an IP address to be whitelisted

  • The outbound server doesn't actually accept FTP (consider trying SFTP instead)

  • Wrong port, hostname, or other settings

Please check with your counterparty about any IP Address restrictions or whitelisting that may be in place. If any is in place, please read and follow the below instructions carefully:

IP Addresses Used For Connection

If you have a Custom Domain installed on your site, that means Files.com has provisioned two dedicated IP addresses for your site and it will use them by default for outbound connections to the remote server. Provide these 2 IP addresses to your counterparties and ask them to whitelist them in any applicable firewall.

If you do not have a Custom Domain installed on your site, you do not have Dedicated IP Addresses provisioned for your site and Files.com will use its entire pool of IP addresses for connecting outbound to the remote server. If your counterparties maintain an IP Address whitelist, you will need to have them whitelist all of the IPs on this list.

Customers often ask for Dedicated IP addresses as a way to avoid having to ask their counterparty to whitelist a huge list of IP addresses.

We are able to offer that for Remote Server connection purposes via somewhat of a backdoor method, which is adding a Custom Domain to your site. Having a custom domain provides a justification for the dedicated IP address.

Files.com automatically provisions a pair of dedicated IP addresses for every site that has a custom domain enabled. We do that because FTP, unlike HTTP, requires that every custom domain be hosted on a dedicated IP address in order to have a custom SSL Certificate that matches the domain.

This means that if you have users who restrict outbound access via a firewall, they will only need to whitelist your two dedicated IP addresses. rather than having to whitelist our entire published list of IP addresses (see above).

Custom domains and, therefore, dedicated IPs are only available on the Power and Premier plans. If you are on a Starter plan, you will need to upgrade to use a custom domain or dedicated IPs.

Dedicated IPs, once provisioned, are used for both inbound connections to your site via your custom domain, as well as outbound connections from Files.com to certain applicable Remote Servers that are used for Remote Server Sync and Remote Server Mount.

By default, Files.com will use your dedicated IP addresses for outbound connections to FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and S3 Compatible remote servers. However, you can disable the use of your dedicated IP in these circumstances if you need to. (You might do that if your counterparty has already whitelisted the main Files.com IP range, for example.)

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