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QNAP FTP Client by using File Station

QNAP FTP Client by using File Station
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Occasionally I have those FTP jobs to either download or upload a truck load of files – for example when I want to make a backup of my website.

Now you could start a regular FTP client on your PC and have it run all night to do just that, or … you could use your QNAP for that – mine is running 24/7 anyway, so why not? The biggest issue is: where do you find a FTP client that can download or upload entire directory structures?

Download Station, and the likes, only take one URL at a time, or other apps do silly things like zipping all files before up- or download (who came up with THAT idea?).

After a long search I found something interesting; One of the best hidden features of File Station, the file manager in the web-interface of your QNAP, is the fact that it supports FTP … albeit poorly documented and hard to find … in this article: how do we do this with QTS 4 (tested with QTS 4.2.1). Note that this only supports regular FTP, so not SFTP!).




QNAP FTP Client: File Station

File Station is the file management tool that standard comes with you QNAP and can be accessed through the standard web interface. It can be found on the main page of the QNAP web interface, look for this icon:

QNAP File Station Icon

QNAP File Station Icon

It surprised me to find even this option: why would anyone hide such a feature this well?
Try finding that in the online manuals, support pages or FAQ’s …

File Station, even when you’re not connected to your QNAP, will continue doing it’s work (you can see it in the “task running” queue).
However you’ll have to do some tests to see how well the server you’re connected to, stays connected.

Download or Upload through FTP with File Station

To use File Station as an FTP client, not to be confused with an FTP server (!), is quite simple,… once you know how to do it.

We will first need to define a connection, so let’s get started by opening File Station.

Setup Remote Connection

In the toolbar you’ll see a little computer monitor like icon with a checkmark in it (see illustration below).
Click this icon and choose “Create remote connection“.

QNAP File Station - Create Remote Connection

QNAP File Station – Create Remote Connection

A window called “Create remote connection” will open, where we have to click the FTP Icon followed by a click on the “Next” button.

QNAP File Station - Select FTP Connection

QNAP File Station – Select FTP Connection

Another window will now open, asking you for the server specific parameters:

QNAP File Station - FTP Settings

QNAP File Station – FTP Settings

Here you enter the desired protocol (FTP), Port number (default: 21), Hostname or server IP address, your login credentials (username, password) and the name you’d like to use for this connection. If you leave the connection name blank, the server name will be used.

When done, click “Create“.

Working with the Remote Connection

When this all worked out well, your FTP connection will be mounted and seen as a “drive”;

QNAP File Station - FTP server as a drive

QNAP File Station – FTP server as a drive

After creating a remote connection, the drive will be mounted right away. The “drive” for your FTP server will remain in this list, but in the future you might need to reconnect to the server. As seen above, “Tweaking4All” is greyed out, so we need to reconnect, which is done by right clicking the “drive” and choosing the option “Connect“.

QNAP File Station - Reconnect to FTP server

QNAP File Station – Reconnect to FTP server

Once the connection exists, folders and files can be accessed, just as you would with regular drives on your QNAP. So you can copy, move, rename, delete etc. Just like with regular QNAP drives, copying or moving entire directory trees goes very easy.

One thing to notice is that when you look at the background tasks, that the information might not quite reflect the amount of files or data that needs to be copied or moved. Rest assured, everything will be copied/moved as requested.

When done working with your remote FTP connection, you can right click the “drive” again and disconnect – just make sure all tasks have completed.

QNAP File Station - FTP access as if it is a drive

QNAP File Station – FTP access as if it is a drive

QNAP File Station - Background Tasks

QNAP File Station – Background Tasks

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Comments


There are 12 comments. You can read them below.
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  • Apr 16, 2017 - 3:02 PM - GGG Comment Link

    This is great, just what i have been looking for!! thankyou :)

    Reply

    GGG

    • Apr 16, 2017 - 5:25 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Thanks GGG! 

      I’m glad to hear this was useful to you, and thank you for taking the effort to post a thank you note – it’s much appreciated! 

      Reply

      hans

  • Apr 28, 2017 - 10:57 PM - Kostas Comment Link

    You gave me the solution I’ve been just looking for! Didn’t know about your site though… Maybe google is our friend at last

     Thank you so much!

    Reply

    Kostas

    • Apr 29, 2017 - 4:15 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Kostas,

      I’m glad to hear you found us through Google and that the solution works for you! Awesome!
      Thanks for posting a thank-you – it’s very much appreciated! 

      Reply

      hans

  • Aug 21, 2017 - 10:58 PM - loy Comment Link

    How to access to file station over internet for your configuration without using FTP Client and MyQNAP cloud?

    Reply

    loy

    • Aug 26, 2017 - 9:49 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Loy,

      Even though I would not necessarily recommend this, you could map the needed ports in your modem/router so outside traffic is redirected to your QNAP. Be careful when doing this though, as you should be concerned with security issues. So for one I’d use a very strong password, and I’d enable SSL (which comes with it’s own challenges).

      If however you have a good modem that supports VPN, then you could enable that and use VPN to connect to your home network. Everything then should work as if you’re sitting next to your QNAP (that’s how I do it). The use of VPN comes with it’s challenges though, and with VPN I do not mean those 3rd party services. I mean running VPN on your modem and most modems are not able to do this.

      Reply

      hans

  • Aug 23, 2018 - 12:54 PM - itdpinc Comment Link

    Hello and thanks for the procedure!  It’s very convenient.  One thing, though – when I’m downloading from my company’s FTP server  (RAW video files), but the fastest I can get any individual file to download is 3.33Mb/sec.  I have a 1G ISP connection and if I download using my PC I can get much faster download speeds (avg. 30mb).  On the positive side, I can download say, ten (10) files individually, at 3.33Mb/s each, but don’t need that capability very often.  Is there something I’m missing/not doing to get faster downloads?  Thanks.

    Reply

    itdpinc

    • Aug 24, 2018 - 8:12 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Itdpinc,

      Yeah, it’s not the best FTP client ever. I’d start with testing FTP from an SSH shell. Connect to SSH on your QNAP and try the command-line version of “ftp” (ie. ftp yourserver.com) and see if you get comparable speeds. My guess is that the FileStation has it’s limitations. If the command-line version is faster, then I think it’s time to contact QNAP support (they do a pretty good job actually) and either ask for assistance or file a bug report or feature request. Granted, feature requests can take a while … but with regular support they have been quite helpful.

      In case you bump into a “fix” then please let us know! 

      Reply

      hans

  • Aug 1, 2020 - 3:25 PM - Merlin Comment Link

    I used this a week ago to move files from a Thecus Nas. The icon you reference isn’t showing in File Station 5. I thought I used the tools drop-down to make the remote connection but can’t find that option now. Any ideas where it’s hiding or if it was removed?

    Reply

    Merlin

    • Aug 2, 2020 - 3:07 AM - Hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Merlin,

      This article is a bit dated.
      I do not have access to my QNAP right now, but as far as I could find in the documentation, you should use the 5th button from the left in the second screenshot (#10 under “Familiarizing yourself with File Station”).

      Hope this helps 

      Reply

      Hans

      • Aug 6, 2020 - 12:24 PM - Merlin Comment Link

        It helped sort of anyway. The help instructions aren’t up to date.

        The icon is no longer next to the tools icon, it’s now a large orange circle in the top RH corner as shown in the attachment.

        Before using it you must install HybridMount free from their app store. after doing that, the instructions say to answer all of the required blocks, but they aren’t that self-explanatory. For some reason, the format of the connection name is critical, not the server name, but the name you give to the connection you wish to manage.  I found that out after a series of attempts to change things that weren’t the issue. The error log isn’t helpful.

        I connected with my admin login to the NAS I wanted to transfer files from and could navigate the file tree and open files. However, when I tried to FTP the files it failed, Task manager said I didn’t have the privileges required to move or copy (I tried both) the files.  I fired up a laptop and had no problem copying a few files over. I wanted to use FTP because there are some large ISO files stored that I need to move off the old Thecus Nas before I retire it.

        I don’t know what I’m missing, because all the permissions look right and before the last update I used your method with those permissions to transfer similar files from the same system.  It’s probably a Hydridmount issue.

        I have a screenshot but it appears I can’t attach it here.

        Reply

        Merlin

      • Aug 7, 2020 - 9:59 AM - Hans - Author: Comment Link

        Hi Merlin,

        good to hear you made some progress, sad to hear FTP is being a pain.

        Unfortunately, I’m on vacation right now, so I do not have access to my gear.
        Yep, the Help isn’t the best, but in my experience Help functions on most systems or applications are not very useful to begin with. 

        As for the FTP issues, I’d check a few things on the FTP server. Maybe the credentials for the connection aren’t allowing your to do certain things, or it didn’t use the credentials when connection (more likely, since it worked OK on your laptop).

        Posting pictures is something you cannot do in the the comments – unfortunately in the past people used it to post inappropriate pictures or an excessive amount or size pictures. You can however post pictures in the Forum (QNAP topic).

        Reply

        Hans



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