FTP and FTPS


At Files.com, we are one of the largest FTP providers in the world. That said, FTP is a 50 year old protocol and lacks some of the more sophisticated capabilities for security and performance found in our direct integrations, such as our Desktop, Mobile, Web portal, SDKs, API, and Command Line app. Additionally, corporate firewalls commonly interfere with FTP traffic.

Please visit our Preferred Apps For File Transfer page to learn about and download the Files.com native apps as an alternative to FTP.

We offer FTP primarily for customers who are forced to use it, typically because they are interacting with a legacy application, or legacy hardware, that only supports FTP.

For those customers, we are happy to help you get FTP working, but be aware that it will never be as fast or secure as our native apps.

FTP Server Details

Files.com operates proprietary FTP server software that we build and maintain in-house using our full-time employees. Our server is compatible with all applicable FTP standards and is tested against many popular FTP clients.

Performance Tips

Tip: Set the number of simultaneous connections to the maximum supported by your FTP client.

To increase the number of simultaneous connections in FileZilla, go to Edit > Settings > Transfers and increase the Maximum simultaneous transfers setting to 10.

To increase the number of simultaneous connections in Cyberduck, first go to Edit > Preferences > Transfers and set Transfer Files to "Open multiple connections".

Then, go to to Window > Transfers and increase the counter in the lower right to the maximum.

Enabling Plain/Unencrypted/Insecure FTP

To ensure the highest level of security, Files.com requires encryption on all connections, including FTP connections, by default.

Administrators can allow plain/unencrypted FTP connections to their Files.com site. Type "Plain/unencrypted FTP Support" in the search box at the top of every page and then click the matching result. Locate the setting for Plain/unencrypted FTP Support, select Allow plain/unencrypted FTP connections and click Save.

If you wish to restrict the use of insecure FTP connections to certain users, you can override the global requirement for those users by adjusting the settings within each user. Type "Users" in the search box at the top of every page and then click the matching result. Edit the user and click on the Other connections tab. Change the Plain/unencrypted FTP support to Allow plain/unencrypted FTP connections.

Plain/unencrypted FTP connections can still be initiated with Files.com even when your site is configured to Require SSL on all FTP connections. This is because users who are configured to Allow plain/unencrypted FTP connections cannot be identified until they attempt to log in. Users who have not been granted an override for plain/unencrypted FTP connections will be forced to use TLS/SSL with FTP when attempting to log in.

Supported Connection Profiles and Ports

Files.com supports both implicit and explicit mode FTP and FTPS. FTP uses well-known ports to infer the exact connection profile.

Command channel:

  • FTPS (implicit FTP over TLS) on ports 990 and 3990
  • FTPeS (explicit FTP over TLS) on ports 21 and 3021
  • Plain, insecure FTP on port 21 (disabled by default, but can be enabled if your business needs require it)

Data channel:

  • Passive (PASV) mode on port range 40000 to 50000

Both active and passive mode FTP connections are supported.

In active mode, Files.com will attempt to connect back to the FTP client using the random data port that the FTP client specified. This requires you to configure inbound firewall rules from Files.com to your FTP client.

In passive (PASV) mode, your FTP client will attempt to connect to Files.com on a random port between 40000 and 50000. This requires you to configure outbound firewall rules from your FTP client to Files.com.

Per-User Root Folders

Files.com supports setting a custom root folder on a per-user basis, and it will apply only to FTP connections (and optionally also SFTP connections), but not anywhere else such as the web, mobile, or desktop app. This is meant for applications that are unable to change directories appropriately in order to look in the right place for files.

When a user has been assigned a root folder for FTP, Files.com will act as if the selected folder is the root folder for any given FTP session. This will always apply for FTP, but site administrators can configure your SFTP settings to also use the client root folder for SFTP.

ASCII vs Binary

FTP, being a legacy protocol, offers a built in facility for converting line endings on text files between LF format and CRLF format. CRLF is most commonly used by Windows applications, while LF is most commonly used by UNIX/Linux/macOS based applications.

The FTP Protocol and many FTP clients call this setting "ASCII Mode". When ASCII Mode is enabled, files with lines ending in CRLF format will be converted to LF format when uploaded to Files.com, and LF format will be converted to CRLF format when downloaded from Files.com. ASCII mode should only be used when sending plain text files whose end-of-line (EOL) characters need to be converted for the receiving system. Examples of plain text files include TXT and CSV file types. ASCII mode behavior is almost always undesirable, and we recommend not using it unless you require EOL conversion. Sending a binary format file via ASCII mode will corrupt the transmitted file.

In nearly all use cases, you should use the "Binary mode" setting in your FTP clients, which will tell the FTP files never to make changes to the file. In binary mode, the transmitted file is always received unmodified. Binary mode should be used for all file types, including PDF, Microsoft Office, text, image, video, audio, database, application, and ZIP type files.

Files.com also offers a setting for FTP mode behavior that will neutralize the ASCII setting and tell our server to ignore it even if provided. To find this setting, type "FTP mode behavior" in the search box at the top of every page and then click the matching result. This emulates the behavior of the built in FTP server software that is included with most Microsoft Windows Server releases. This setting may be required if you are migrating certain legacy applications or dealing with customers where you aren't able to effectively control how they've set the ASCII/Binary setting.

Automatically Creating Folders Upon Upload

Some FTP clients assume that servers will automatically make parent folders for uploads if a given folder doesn't exist; these clients usually won't report an error when that parent folder doesn't exist. The FTP service provided by Files.com complies with the standards for FTP transfers, so by default, your site will not automatically create a folder when an FTP client tries to upload to a folder that doesn't exist. This can lead to frustration when your automated FTP process seems to have worked, but your files aren't transferred.

To prevent interruptions to your transfers, site administrators can configure your FTP service settings to automatically create missing parent folders when files are uploaded by FTP. Enabling this behavior will also apply to uploads via SFTP.

Custom Welcome Message

Our FTP service includes the ability to configure a welcome message, also known as the Message Of The Day (MOTD), to users. The message will be shown to users when they first connect to Files.com using the FTP and FTPS protocols.

To configure the message, type "Custom message of the day" in the search box at the top of every page and then click on the matching result. Scroll to the setting Custom message of the day (MOTD), select Edit, enter the plain text of your message, and select Save.

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