FTP Servers are an extremely useful way to store and transfer large files efficiently over any network including the Internet. Microsoft featured an FTP Server in Windows Server for over a decade. But while Microsoft lavished attention on Internet Information Server’s World Wide Web services and created the tools to build a new generation of .NET web applications, the FTP server was virtually unchanged. Even Windows Server 2008, which shipped with a brand-new Internet Information Services 7.0, still has the FTP server from Windows Server 2003.
Finally Microsoft added an updated and vastly improved FTP Server with enhanced security and manageability to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Here is a partial list of the terrific new features:
- FTP over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Uses SSL based security for secure authentication and data encryption. This corrects the most glaring fault of previous versions of Windows FTP Servers, which was that they could not satisfactorily protect data
- Host Header Support Multiple FTP sites on the same server can be differentiated by IP, Port number or Host Header value just as web sites are in IIS
- FTP and Web Site Integration An IIS site can easily accept both HTTP and FTP client connections
- XML file based configuration store Just like IIS websites, FTP site configuration settings are stored in simple, robust xml files. Moving ftp sites to a different server has never been easier
- FTP Extensibility Developers can create managed code to extend FTP Servers functionality with customized authentication, authorization and logging capabilities
- FTP Request Filtering Control client requests using file name extensions, hidden segments, and denied URL sequences and restricted commands
I created a test installation of Windows Server 2008 and found FTP Server 7.5 to be easy to install and simple to configure. And, the good news is, Microsoft has made FTP Server 7.5 available at no charge for Windows Server 2008 and Vista. You can download it here.