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