linux newby

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu Dec 7 02:10:41 UTC 2017

(Tim again)
If they're not sending files to you, then a web-server would likely
be easier and more secure, assuming your ISP doesn't block port 80/443
on your machine.

If you want to limit it with a password, it's slightly more complex
(as you have to manage the users/passwords, and decide which
directories you want to be public vs. protected) but it's not too bad.

Apache, nginx, or Lighttpd would make a good web server and there are
lots of good docs to get you started.  All three are readily available
in package managers and provide out-of-the-box support for basic HTTP
authentication if you want to make a subset of your files private.
If you don't know much about any of them, I'd nudge you towards nginx
as it's lighter weight than Apache, but better supported (i.e., more
documentation around) than lighttpd.  That said, they're all more
than sufficient for your needs.

Additionally, you can use this server for any other web content if
you feel so inspired (say, you want to run a blog).

The good thing is, it doesn't cost anything to try setting up a web
server, and if it doesn't work out, you can still fall back to SFTP
or plain old FTP.


On December  6, 2017, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> I have a small amount of users in my family who I wish to have
> access to my books, movies and audio files.  I have been mixed on
> whether I should set up an SFTP or a web server. I don't know which
> would be easiest.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blinux-list-bounces at
> [mailto:blinux-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of Linux for
> blind general discussion Sent: December 6, 2017 07:30 AM
> To: blinux-list at
> Subject: Re: linux newby
> (Tim here, reply below)
> On December  6, 2017, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> > I am learning how to use debian linux. Where can I find a good 
> > tutorial that will help me eventually set up an ftp server?  
> Depends on what you plan to use your FTP server for.  If it's just
> internal on your network, it's pretty easy to do, setting up
> something like vsftpd. If you plan to expose it externally, it may
> take jumping through a few hoops:
> - Unless it's only for anonymous access/download, you'll need to
>   establish users. And FTP credentials are sent across the wire in
>   plaintext making them pretty insecure
> - if you have users, you likely need to fiddle with settings to
>   ensure their personal stuff stays private while public stuff
>   remains public
> - If you're behind a NAT router (like most home routers), you'll
> have to mess with your NAT settings to allow the external ports to
> be redirected to your internal FTP machine
> - you have to deal with "active" vs. "passive" connection issues
> In short, if you're setting up just an anonymous FTP site for
> people to download from and are directly attached to the internet
> (rather than behind a NAT router), it will be easiest.  Diverging
> from any of those elements introduces more and more pain.
> As such, I strongly recommend SFTP (part of the standard
> SSH/SCP/SFTP suite that comes with most Linux/BSD/Mac boxes, and
> freely available from the makers of Putty) which allows system
> users, can be locked down to just SFTP (instead of full shell
> access), and all credentials and file contents are encrypted
> instead of transmitted in plain-text.
> But if you want the pain and have more details on the above
> variants, I'd be glad to write up a getting-started guide.
> -tim
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