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I would like to be able to access the files in my desktop at home from anywhere over the Internet.

I don't know much, but I think that would involve setting up a FTP server, right? Can you please point me in the right direction - some reference materials and tutorials?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would discourage you to use FTP, as it's a clear text protocol without any security.

Instead, I suggest you use ssh. Then you get both secure remote shell access and file transfer, all in one service. apt-get install openssh-server and you are good to go. Then you can connect to your machine through for instance Places -> Connect to server on a Gnome desktop, sftp in a shell, or using WinSCP on Windows.

To reach your machine, even with a dynamic ip, you could use a free dynamic dns service such as DynDNS or FreeDNS, which will give you a hostname such as mybox.uni.cx.

NAT is no issue either, as long as you forward the correct port to your machine. (tcp 22 in case of ssh)

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Remote shell access would be even better. Thank you for that suggestion! –  JGNog Apr 28 '11 at 11:45
    
DynDNS - that is great! –  JGNog Apr 28 '11 at 11:50
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ad 1) if you have NAT, you will need to setup port forwarding. If you cannot do that and nothing else will help, you still can run ipv6 tunnel on your home computer and you will be able to connect from other computers with ipv6 connectivity.

I would recomend disablig password authentification in openssh-server and use key files if you will decide to use openssh-server.

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I would just add that if you have a download cap on your connection, be careful. usually, if you have a cap, it applies to both upload and download as a total. Also, if you have a cable modem or DSL connection, remember that the upstream portion of your connection (to the internet, in other words) is much more limited than the downstream.

As well, some ISPs are blocking some ports. For example, Vidéotron in Quebec (CANADA) is blocking port 80. So if I want to have a web site, I would have to use port 8080, for example.

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I won't use this feature heavily, so the upload cap will not be a problem. I will investigate if my ISP blocks any ports. Thank you. –  JGNog Apr 28 '11 at 14:54
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You have to: 1) Be connected to the internet with a static, global IP address. No NAT or VPN bridge or whatever. 2) Set up an FTP server, the simpler - the better. Be sure not to allow anonymous access accidentaly.

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Static IP address. Isn't that a problem in a typical home internet connection? –  JGNog Apr 28 '11 at 11:44
    
For me, for example, it would be easier to get static IP (200 rub = 6$ per month) then setting up any comlicated scheme. –  Barafu Albino Apr 30 '11 at 5:18
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