Information, Technology & Consulting

Using FTP to share files with non-Dartmouth people

Warning

Files placed in dropbox are not secure. Sensitive or confidential data can be encrypted using a separate tool, with the decryption key sent to the recipient by a more secure mechanism.

Details

Free space available on Dartmouth's dropbox server can be very volatile. The status page shows the current free space. While this system is easy to use and requires no accounts or passwords to be created, there are some disadvantages:

  • Mysterious upload errors if the disk is filled by uploading too much.
  • No control over the files after uploading them. You have to wait until the system removes it automatically.
  • Permissions errors if you accidentally use a file name that has already been used. Using non-trivial file names helps.
  • If the FTP client has a choice of Ascii or Binary transfer modes, you should generally use binary.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. A file transfer protocol program provides a way for computers to "talk" to each other in order to transfer files. This is the recommended alternative to transferring either large or many files instead of sending them as an an email message attachment or enclosure. As most email systems have a limit on how large an enclosed file can be (one to three megabytes is a common value) FTP applications can provide a solution to that problem.

Dartmouth provides an FTP server - dropbox.dartmouth.edu - specifically for transferring files between on-campus and off-campus computers.

Incoming Directory

You can use this directory to transfer files from computers outside Dartmouth to computers at Dartmouth. Outside users should use the FTP PUT command (or equivalent menu selection in a graphical client) to place files here. Then, they can tell their Dartmouth associates what the file names are. The Dartmouth user can then retrieve the file with the FTP GET command. A simple way to do this is to send email with the URL in the form ftp://dropbox.dartmouth.edu/incoming/myfilename. The recipient can simply paste the URL into a web browser.

Outgoing Directory

You can use this directory to transfer files from computers at Dartmouth to computers outside Dartmouth. Dartmouth users should use the FTP PUT command (or equivalent menu selection in a graphical client) to place files here. Then, they can tell their outside associates what the file names are. The outside user can then retrieve the file with the GET command. A simple way to do this is to send email with the URL in the form ftp://dropbox.dartmouth.edu/outgoing/myfilename. The recipient can simply paste the URL into a web browser.

Topic: 
Email, Communication and Collaboration
Subtopic: 
File Sharing
Last updated: 
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Meta: 
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If you have questions or need further information, contact your department's IT support office, or contact the IT Service Desk via email at [email protected], via phone at 603-646-2999 or walk in to see them in Baker/Berry 178J.

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Information, Technology & Consulting