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Setting Up an FTP Site

Expert: Kevin Jackson

Candace asked:

I would like to know how to set up an FTP site with an inventory of files for sale, which have to be encrypted individually. Could you direct me to reviews of software etc. and any how-to articles on this subject. I also need to know what are the best compression programs, because these files are very large.

Kevin Jackson answered:

There are many different issues which you will need to address here, over and above the obvious questions which you have asked. I have tried to answer some of them below:

  1. How to set up an FTP site: This is between you and your web-hosting provider. If you do not yet have one, you need to set up an account with a company which hosts websites, and only websites. You do not want to do this with a company which also handles dial-up connections for consumers, or businesses, because the needs of a dial-up provider and a web-hosting company are different in terms of hardware, knowledge and bandwidth, and you will not get the best bang for your buck. That having been said, go to a site like to find a web host that fits your needs. Be sure to talk over your options with them before you sign up, and mention what you will be doing, as you may also need access to a secure server to ensure that unauthorized users do not try to download the software.

    Once you have a hosting account, you will need to set up an FTP area on the account where you can put all your files. The files can be compressed using Winzip, PKzip or Gzip, all free utilities which do a great job of compressing. If you want to make the files available to Mac users too, you will want to offer files compressed by Stuffit, too.

  2. The inventory of files, and selling them: This is a standard business website question. You will need to build a regular website which handles all the marketing and tech support questions, and takes payment. You will need to handle secure payments and once the payment has been authorized, you can pass users through to a secure page where they click on a link to the specific FTP file they have paid for. Remember, this can simply be a link directly to the file in a Secure FTP environment, and they will then save it to their hard drive. One issue regarding secure payment is that you will need to do real-time processing of payment to ensure that their credit cards are good before you allow them to download the file. This service costs more than your average secure e-commerce setup.

  3. Here are some additional links you can use to find further information on the technical components of your question:

Good luck,

Kevin Jackson

About the author

Kevin Jackson is the co-founder and webmaster of CanadaOne and all round web guru at Biz-Zone Internet Group.

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