Best practices for folder uploads? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Clients want to transfer entire folders to WHS, but the Remote Access web interface is hard to use for folder uploading (have to explicitly create each folder then upload into it). Have read about potential solutions, e.g. On The Fly Unzipper, Web Folders 4 WHS, even turning WHS into an FTP server. What would be the best solution giving the following considerations:

    >    Clients are unsophisticated users with XP and Vista systems.

    >    WHS administrator is not an IT professional, but can install components and do minor troubleshooting.

    >    Administration must be kept to a minimum, both on the client systems and WHS.

    Any suggestions from this community would be greatly appreciated...  Jeff

    Saturday, January 17, 2009 6:05 PM

All replies

  • I think the easiest way would be to setup an FTP server and give the clients an easy to use FTP client like FileZilla. Filezilla has connection bookmarks which make it very easy to use after the initial configuration and you can also drag and drop files.

    If you want higher security then I would recommend using SFTP instead of the default FTP server that comes with windows 2003. In either case you can still use FileZilla as the client side tool.
    Saturday, January 17, 2009 6:32 PM
  • First, realize that WHS is not designed to be Windows Server 2003 Lite. There will be things that you will find difficult with WHS that would be simple with a vanilla installation of WS2003, because of the product's focus. If there is a need for a great deal of functionality that falls outside the boundaries of Windows Home Server as designed, WS2003 is likely to be a better option. Should you choose that route, WHS will still make a great backup tool (cost per seat under $100 is hard to beat).

    Best practice within the realm of what WHS is designed to do (i.e. what is supported out of the box) would be for your clients to zip their folders before they send them, then someone checks for and unzips them as appropriate later.

    I haven't used any of the add-ins or extensions you mention on my server, but here are my general thoughts:

    You can install the Web Folders 4 WHS add-in; it uses WebDAV to expose your shares on the Internet. There is an issue of security with WebDAV; the control channel is not well-secured, and so someone could conceivably sniff a password. You can partially alleviate this by creating an upload ID which all clients would use, which would only have access to a single share on your server, I suppose.

    I have never used, and know nothing specific about, the On The Fly Unzipper.

    Turning the server into an FTP server is (potentially) a minor violation of the EULA. I don't know whether adding FTP would be considered adding a server role, which is explicitly prohibited. It's also problematic in terms of security: the FTP server available through IIS is a standard FTP server, so it uses unencrypted Telnet as the control channel. This is a known weakness, so the same sorts of cautions would apply here as for Web Folders: single user (or anonymous) that can upload to, but not download from, the FTP server, limit folder access as much as possible, etc.

    Dealing with administrative issues is another matter. If you want simple and inexpensive (as I assume you do because you're using Windows Home Server), you will probably have to accept higher ongoing administration "costs".

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, January 17, 2009 6:37 PM
  • Thank you, Ken and Mike. To keep things simple, creating a folder structure by the ZIP approach and then living with the limitations of the Remote Access web interface may be the best approach.

    Great advice and points well taken...   Jeff
    Saturday, January 17, 2009 7:51 PM