How to turn my Vista machine with dynamic IP address into an FTP Server?
January 2, 2008 5:34 AM   Subscribe

How to turn my Vista machine (I know, I know, OK?) with dynamic IP address into an FTP Server?

I want to enable my overseas parents, siblings, in laws and other assorted rellies to upload (due to cluelessness generallly massive and uncompressed) photo and video files of their newborns be they human, animal, vegetable or mineral to my computer.

What easy-to-use software, preferably free- or shareware, can you recommend to turn my Vista machine -- which is always online but with a dynamic IP address -- into an FTP server for static and moving pictures of babies, lambs, kittens (yey!) gardens and home refurbishments?
posted by l'esprit d'escalier to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FileZilla seems capable of it. Apparently it registers dynamic IPs with an external server.

Alternatively, teaching them to use RapidShare or Flickr is probably worthwhile and probably no harder than teaching them to use FTP.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:03 AM on January 2, 2008

DynDns. Most consumer routers support this out of the box, as well so you don't even need to load the software. Have you contacted your ISP about a static IP? Most offer it for a reasonable addition to your bill (sometimes 5$ sometimes you have to switch to business class).
posted by IronLizard at 6:04 AM on January 2, 2008

Dyndns is my recommendation if your router doesn't automatically update, you'll need their freeware to post the current ip to the web.

Be aware in doing this, that you might run into complications. You probably will have to set your Vista machine to have a static IP on your home network, then use port forwarding on your router to forward FTP traffic to that IP on that port. Your ISP may also block certain ports, so you may wind up having to use a non-standard port.

Good luck.
posted by TuffAustin at 7:58 AM on January 2, 2008

Have them all get a facebook account and upload pictures there.
posted by PowerCat at 9:48 AM on January 2, 2008

I've been using DynDNS for about a year now with my Windows XP computer and openSSH to enable some friends to upload files to and download files from a drive on my computer. It's worked great, and it's all free. However, I don't have a router; my computer plugs right into my modem.
posted by korres at 9:57 AM on January 2, 2008

NO-IP. Register for free, download and install their tiny client (which runs as an app or a service under Windows). Program continually runs, monitors your IP and updates the mothership with it - so anyone can access your system using a hostname like or similar. I think DynDNS works the same way, but I've used no-ip for years and can thoroughly recommend it.

Next, install FileZilla FTP server. You can use it in regular FTP mode but it also supports secure transfer (SSL/TLS). Pick a port for it to listen on (typically you don't pick 21 since your ISP might monitor/block this). Port-forward that port on your router (if you have one) so that it goes to your machine's IP in your internal network. You're almost there.

Now for the cool bit. DropUpLoad is a nice, small program which is essentially an ftp client that you can send them in email. In fact, the program itself allows you to create a self-contained, customized and locked version of itself (like you can configure your new no-ip host, port etc "into" it) and then mail that to your relatives. When they run the program they get a small window, they drag and drop their files into this window and it auto transfers them to your FTP server. They don't need to operate a complex program like a full FTP client, it's just run, drag and drop and watch it go.

All solutions above are completely free.
posted by tra at 9:44 PM on January 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

tra gave a nice, complete, answer.

I had a home network with a bunch of computers on it and occasionally if I rebooted one of them my router would give it a different internal IP address. This screwed up the port forwarding on my ftp server because even though dyndns was properly forwarding my external IP, my internal port wasn't always being forwarded to the machine running the ftp server. I modified my XP settings (I know it works on my Mac, so I'm guessing Vista has something similar) to get all automatic settings except for the IP address. Normally this would cause collisions, but I set my router to hand out a max of 50 IPs, starting at Then I set my server's IP address manually to anything above This way my server would always have a static internal IP address while any other machines connecting to my internal network would be handed whatever IP the router wanted to give them.
posted by sub-culture at 4:35 AM on January 4, 2008

I came across this program earlier today, and while I haven't tested it myself, it looks like it would be an alternative to setting up an FTP server.

Also, NO-IP is what I use in place of my IP address. Used it for years, works splendidly.
posted by phaded at 2:26 PM on January 6, 2008

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