How to use FTP on a Mac – FTP Software for Mac – DNSstuff
IT professionals looking to use FTP on a Mac must fully understand what FTP is, the risks involved, and the tools available to help them increase efficiencies and keep sensitive information secure.
To understand how to use FTP on a Mac, it’s important to fully grasp what FTP is and how it works. File transfer protocol (FTP) is a method for sending large files across the internet. Many companies rely on FTP sites and tools to operate efficiently on a day-to-day basis, whether to send a multi-slide, image-packed PowerPoint presentation or a high-quality company video. While there are some built-in options for file transfer on a Mac, I’ll also highlight why a robust software program is a better option for just about every business. My recommendation is to check out an option like SolarWinds® Serv-U®.
FTP relies on a client-server relationship in which there’s a separate command channel for controlling files that are uploaded, downloaded, copied, etc., and a data channel for the distribution of the content. These FTP sessions can function in both active and passive modes. With active mode, the client establishes the command channel and the server establishes the data channel. In passive mode, the server uses the command channel to provide the client with the information required to open a data channel, thus putting the client in control of both the command and data channel. Passive mode is often the go-to because it avoids bumping up against firewalls.
Is FTP Secure?
In an era when security threats abound, IT professionals must ensure their companies are upholding security best practices.
FTP used independently, without the support of third-party software, can pose a number of threats. Many FTP sites allow for anonymous transfers, in which users can access and send files without a username and password. Anonymous FTP is not secure and should only be used in situations where files are intended to be public.
But even FTP connections that require an ID and password are at risk. FTP passwords and IDs are transferred over the internet without encryption, potentially exposing them to password sniffing attacks hosted by cybercriminals. Mac FTP clients are also subject to man-in-the-middle attacks, in which attackers alter communications and documents transferred between two computers, often injecting them with malware the recipient then unknowingly downloads.
Another less likely but still possible FTP security risk is data that “strays” to a remote computer rather than its intended destination. This would allow a third party to view or even edit any transferred files, putting confidential information in jeopardy.
Improving FTP Security
To combat this, FTPS (FTP over SSL) was created. FTPS transfers data over an SSL-encrypted network. Any connection attempt that doesn’t use SSL encryption is not accepted by the server. FTPS also leverages digital certificates to authenticate information. Certificates signed by a known certificate authority (CA) or that include a copy of the recipient’s public key are considered secure.
Like FTPS, SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) enhances the security of traditional FTP methodology. Unlike FTPS, which relies on the same data and command channels as FTP, SFTP transfers both data and commands via a single, secure connection. SFTP also encrypts both the authentication information and the data being transferred with the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, a form of public and private key encryption. This ensures nothing remains as clear text.
To take security one step further for FTP, FTPS, and SFTP, IT professionals may want to consider implementing third-party tools designed for both FTP for Mac and Windows or enhanced file transfer security available in a managed file transfer (MFT) server tool. This software helps take business security to the next level through a wide variety of secure protocols and encryption practices. It can also boost efficiency and streamline many of the clunky side effects associated with basic server FTP functions.
How Can I Use FTP on a Mac?
Using FTP from Mac is straightforward, but there are multiple avenues to consider. There’s a built-in Mac FTP server to make it easy for users to add their files into the FTP client Mac and grant others access to specified documents. To do this, follow these steps:
Choose “System Preferences” from the Apple iconClick “Sharing”Select the “File Sharing” box and click “Options”Click “Share Files and Folders Using FTP”
This simple process allows other computers to share and copy files from your machine. If you want to connect to an FTP server Mac to access another individual’s files without third-party software, you’ll need to:
Navigate to the “Finder Menu”Select “Go”Click “Connect to Server”Enter the name and a password for the server you’re attempting to connect to.
This form of FTP Mac connection comes with a few limitations. It can only be used to download files, and if a username or password contains an “@” symbol, the server will fail to connect. In addition, dragging and dropping large files is typically prohibited and security is at a bare minimum.
Best FTP for Mac Software Options
A third-party software, like SolarWinds Serv-U FTP, is needed for IT teams looking to deliver quick, easy, and reliable file transfers from their organization. They’re especially critical for companies that must comply with industry regulations requiring encrypted data transfers, like PCI DSS and HIPPA. The best FTP for Mac software will provide:
Enhanced Efficiency: Third-party tools can handle large file transfers (>3GB) and enable users to upload or download multiple files at once, avoiding the lag often associated with individual uploads/downloads. Many even boast intuitive web browsers and mobile device interfaces, so you can view, upload, and download documents in very little time from virtually anywhere. Drag-and-drop features and the power to easily add file transfer users and groups further drive efficiency home with these third-party offerings.
Greater Security: A proper FTP for Mac leverages FTPS protocol for file transfers, encrypting files using SSL or TLS cryptographic protocol, to protect data from accidental exposure or tampering attackers. With these measures, you can rest assured as you send files over both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. This type of software will also ensure no data is stored in the DMZ to comply with PCI and other regulatory frameworks.
FTP Monitoring and Management: Take things a step further with third-party tools that allow you to monitor file transfer statistics, storage, permissions, access, and more from a real-time, intuitive management console and FTP server log. You can define the limits for the number of sessions on the server, block the IP address of a timed-out session, and enable settings to require reverse DNS names. This bird’s-eye view of activity helps you quickly address any errors or security threats that arise.
Automation: With tools that offer automation, you can move or delete files after transfer and delete or reset usernames and passwords after a predetermined number of days, all without lifting a finger.
Signing up with third-party software is a must. I recommend SolarWinds Serv-U. These FTP and MFT tools help simplify file transfers, implement critical security protocols, and ensure even your largest files get where they need to go.
Best Remote Support Software: If you’re looking for remote support software specifically, rather than file transfer functionality, this is the list for you. These are the best software options for remote troubleshooting, which is a must for most IT professionals these days.
Using passive mode for FTP transfers – Panic Library
Using passive mode for FTP transfers
The FTP protocol defines two ways of transferring data. “Passive mode” means that the server will be “passive” and accept data connections from the client, instead of requiring the client be able to accept connections back from the server. (This unusual behavior of server-to-client connections is unique to the FTP protocol. )
Almost all modern network client environments only permit outbound connection requests, for security reasons. This requires the use of passive mode for a successful FTP transfer, as it will be impossible for the server to establish a connection to the client.
In particular, Transmit running on any computer behind a firewall or NAT will not be able to transfer data to or from an FTP server unless passive mode is used.
The issue can be avoided entirely by using any transfer protocol other than FTP, such as SFTP.
In the unlikely event that you need to disable passive mode, there are two ways to do it.
To disable passive mode for all FTP connections:
Choose Transmit > Preferences…
Uncheck Use passive (PASV) mode for transfers
To disable passive mode for an individual favorite:
Edit the favorite using the favorites editor
Uncheck Use passive mode
How to Turn Your Mac Into an FTP Server | Macinstruct
Matt Cone June 13, 2007
Several weeks ago, we showed you how to turn your Mac into a web server. That article is useful for individuals needing to host web pages on their Mac in a pinch, but it doesn’t really go far enough. After all, any good web server should be remotely accessible – that is, you should be able to add and remove files from your Mac when you’re away from home.
You need to turn your Mac into an FTP server! This will allow any individual with a user account on your Mac to remotely access your Mac’s files with an FTP client. Just think of the possibilities:
You’re using your Mac as a web server and you need to add files to your website while you’re away from home.
You’re in a band, and your friend wants to hear the songs on your newest CD. Instead of mailing him the CD or posting the songs on a website, you decide to give him access to your FTP server so he can download the songs.
You’re at work, and you need to access a file stored on your Mac at home. If you have an FTP server setup, you can retrieve the file in a matter of minutes.
Every Mac ships with a built-in FTP server, and it’s easy to turn on and use. We’ll show you how.
Turn on FTP Access
The first step to setting up your Mac’s FTP server is to actually turn it on. Thanks to Mac OS X, this is a relatively straight forward process. Here’s how to do it:
From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
Click Sharing, and then click the Services tab.
Select FTP Access, and then click the Start button.
The FTP Server will turn on. (This may take a minute or two. ) After it has started, click the Firewall tab and make sure your Mac’s firewall is turned on. Also make sure that the checkbox next to FTP Access is selected. This will allow people to access your files through your Mac’s firewall.
Close the System Preferences. You’ve successfully turned on your Mac’s FTP server.
Make Your FTP Server Accessible to the World
Now your Mac is running an FTP server, but if you’re on a local network, it’s still inaccessible to the rest of the world. The same safeguards that prevent weirdoes from accessing your computer also prevent you from sharing your files. Not to worry! There’s a great service called DynDNS that bypasses all of these trivial annoyances and makes your FTP server available to everyone.
DynDNS automatically tracks your Mac and maps your IP address to a domain name. That way, your FTP server will always be available, even if you move your Mac to another location and change IP addresses. Here’s how to use DynDNS:
Register for an account on the DynDNS website. It’s free!
Confirm your new DynDNS by clicking on the link they email you. Log in and click the Add Host Services link, and then click the Add Dynamic DNS Host link.
Enter a hostname and select a domain for your FTP server. This third-level domain name is how the world will access your FTP server, so pick carefully! Don’t worry too much about the IP Address right now – DynDNS automatically detects that, and it may or may not be correct. We’ll worry about that later.
Download the DynDNS Updater application. Double-click the application and click Install to install it.
You’ll be prompted for your administrator password. Enter it, and then wait for DynDNS Updater to install. When it’s finished, click OK.
In DynDNS Updater, select Edit Users from the File menu. Enter your username and password. Adding a description is optional. Make sure the Use Secure Connection (SSL) checkbox is selected – you want to protect your password!
In the DynDNS Updater Users window, click the Start Daemon button. If the status of your account says Ok, your FTP server is available at your DynDNS URL. That’s it – you’re finished!
Accessing Your Mac’s FTP Server
After you’ve enabled FTP Access and turned on DynDNS, you’ll be able to use any FTP client (like Transmit) to access your Mac’s files and folders. Just type in your DynDNS domain name and the username and password you use to access your Mac OS X account.
Once you connect to your Mac, you’ll be able to transfer any files you like! It’s almost as good as being in front of your Mac.
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Frequently Asked Questions about passive ftp mode mac
Should I use passive FTP mode?
In passive mode FTP, the FTP client initiates both connections to the server. … This method of FTP is insecure, as a random unprivileged port is opened on the Server. This is a potential security issue and it isn’t advisable to use the Passive mode of FTP.
What is passive FTP mode Pasv Mac?
Use the FTP passive mode (PASV) to access Internet sites when computers are protected by a firewall. This policy can take effect dynamically at the next group policy refresh interval without rebooting the computer.Jul 26, 2021
What does FTP passive mode mean?
The FTP protocol defines two ways of transferring data. “Passive mode” means that the server will be “passive” and accept data connections from the client, instead of requiring the client be able to accept connections back from the server.Jan 26, 2018