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Thread: How to Build a File Server

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    How to Build a File Server

    Day to Day file transfer has become a common need now. We had become use to data sharing via emails, usb, disc, portable drivers, etc. File sharing is a common and quick requirement. It does not matter what you do. Any person engaged with work where computers are involved comes under this list. This guide is based on complete overview of File Server Technology. A dedicated system which plays the role of small datacenter. It is not really very advance but reduces the time of manually centralizing a data and secures it. A File Server is a separate, dedicated computer attack to a network. The network can be small or large. This dedicated system provides storage space. In some words a centralized location for all users or applications to put data and retrieve it. Disk can be shared here or set on some kind of permission level which limits user’s access. File server can handle any kind of data. You can create a File Server for storing media files like, movies, videos, sound file, high definition content, etc. The system is attached to the network and that network consists of all other computers or users. Users are allowed to access the network on basis of simple or advance authentication process.

    File Servers are common needs of offices. Windows operating system offers you to create easy Home Network where your home users can share internet and exchange file over the network. There are some types of Files Server which are not really noticeable. Because by default everything is properly configured in an operating system. You just need to check the settings and enable them. Workstations or client computers are attached to the network and after authentication process they are allowed to stream, add or modify the data. The network admins simply manages other protocol rights. Commonly FTP is used on small scale while HTTP is used on internet to share data between different web servers. The best example I can give is file sharing website like rapidshare.

    Architecture of a File Server

    To understand the working of a File Server you need to first understand the architecture. This architecture consists of all elements and the process by which all this stuff works. You can also say this as design of a file server. If we talk about business environment then there is more complexity. A dedicated operating system with dedicated IT staff manages stuff. Here more demand is of easy storage space, data security, etc. There is a prescribed budget set for the File Server which is regularly investment for the server hardware upgrades. Also due to every changing technology, more security risks evolve which forces the enterprises for upgrades. But this case is not an issue in regular small environment, especially when you are using the same for personal purpose.

    Storage Hardware

    This is the primary hardware - the hard disk. A very important part where the speed, reliability and security matters. You cannot depend on a low rpm hard drive for data speed boost. Many time due to continuous flow of data, hard drive with poor media fails results in lost of important data. In result, they have to pay more for data recovery now. It is good for enterprises to pay for SSD's or highly reliable hard drive. But I will also emphasis for others. You must not compromise with Hard drive quality in case of file Server setup. Anyhow you are going to put all your data in one place and if that fails you too get screwed up. This is the primary hardware, so spending a bit high on this is for your data safety. Many uses RAID configuration on file server. Raid provides multiple options for data recovery. But this is a bit complicated technology. For mid size servers I will recommend to avoid this only, if you do not have any important data and you want to setup Files Server for basic file sharing only.


    NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. Under this you have to buy a device. This is called as NAS Device. For example:
    • DiskStation DS712+
    • Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2
    • DiskStation DS1511+
    • Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 NAS server

    This devices work their own operating system. You just need to connect this to the server and configure as File Storage Media. These devices are costly but to some extent more secure. They too have a regular hard drive in them, but it reduces your time of settings up a dedicated computer which can act as file server. It also reduces risk of system failure. These devices are specially built on file sharing levels. The purpose is to give you extra storage media which a ready to use and configure pc software. NAS are easier to manage and they provide better mobility. You can connect them to any system and they act as a file server. You can also configure them with multiple applications. Many of them support ready to use RAID features.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: How to Build a File Server

    Guide to Setup File Server

    As you are aware that a file server is a system which is important for management and storage of DATA. Right now I am providing you a guide on creating File Server on Windows Platform. It is really easy to configure here. The setup is made on Windows Server 2003. Users will get a centralized place where they can copy paste their data. Before configuring a file server you must know the proper specification of same. A low hardware system cannot act as a good system. You must have a better processor and enough RAM to carry out a number of processes. More hardware requirements increases of the number of user are higher on a server. You can keep a separate computer ready for making it a file server. You can not only create a regular data backup but also prescribe disc quotas for users.

    How to Setup Files Server in Windows 2003 Server

    Run Configure your Server Wizard. You can run that by typing the following in Start > Run box and hit enter -- "%SystemRoot%\system32\cys.exe". Other step to run is look for Configure your server wizard icon in Start Menu. Start Menu > Programs > Administrative Tools > Configure your Server. This will launch a Wizard.

    Once you click on it you can see the below image. Click on Next >

    Click on File Server and then click on Next.

    After that you can allow or disallow indexing service. This is a process by which Windows Server keeps a record of path on file server. By turning this off you can improve the server’s performance. Provide a proper folder path and then click on Next.

    After that you will come on screen where you will need to provide proper Name, Description and Settings.

    • Like the Share Name. This is the name of folder which will be common for all.
    • Then comes very important the Share Path. Configure this properly with backward slash.
    • Any Description you can add here.
    • And last are the offline settings. You can click change to manage the offline behaviors. Configure all and then click Next.

    After this you can see the window which will allow you to manage file permission of File Server. The box is called as permission box. There are number of options available here.

    The permission box is necessary for configuration. Below is detail of permission levels:
    • All users have read-only access: Under this users are not allowed to delete, move or add any file on the File Server. They can only view the file.
    • Administrators have full access; other users have read-only access: Under the File Server admin has all rights related to DATA modification but users are not allowed to make changes to data except viewing it.
    • Administrators have full access, other users have read and write access: Under the same the admin has full rights. By choosing this option you are providing an extra privilege to the users. You are proving a write of writing and reading the data. They can not only read by also add or modify the data.
    • User Custom share and folder permission : This is advance option for those you wants to decide the permission criteria on their choice. Click finish and you are done with your file server setup.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: How to Build a File Server

    How to setup File Server on Linux

    If you own a Linux system then you can create a more reliable File Server. In Linux the process is different. Here you have more chances of security and permission manipulation. Linux is a kind of best operating system for server type work. It comes with samba which is a tool to create files on Linux. It is possible to configure Linux server on Windows network also. Linux plays a vital role in cost reductions. Because of its open source ability, Linux servers are much cheaper and they do not need superb hardware support also.

    Creating File Server on Ubuntu

    I will recommend you to use Ubuntu. Because, this is one of the most easy to use Linux Distro. There are ample of gui based interface which removes the issue of configuring everything on terminal mode. Ubuntu is free for download. All you will need is to add Samba in it.

    To install samba type : sudo apt-get install samba in the terminal.
    Samba Configuration

    The config file of Samba is located here - /etc/samba/smb.con. This file has default configuration settings. You have to edit the file to set the server as per your need.

    Go to /etc/samba/smb.conf and add the following values /etc/samba/smb.conf :

    workgroup = yourworkgroupname
    security = user.

    Now below in the end you have to add the following code. This is necessary to define the directory you want to share on Linux network.
        comment = Ubuntu File Server Share
        path = /srv/samba/share
        browsable = yes
        guest ok = yes
        read only = no
        create mask = 0755
    Syntax Details
    • comment: this part consists of a short description or what you say sharing info.
    • path: this part consist the sharing path. That is the place which you want to share.
    • browsable: If you set this enable, then the users can view the share directory in an Explorer. If not then it will not be visible.
    • guest ok: By settings the value to ok, the client computer can access the shared data without any providing any kind of password.
    • read only: This is kind of file and folder permission. If you set this on read only then the user cannot modify the data in shared directory.
    • create mask: it is helpful for determining the permissions of new files when they are created on the shared directory.

    Once you are done with above configuration, you are done with shared directory creation. Launch the terminal and pass the following command :
    sudo mkdir -p /srv/samba/share
    sudo chown nobody.nogroup /srv/samba/share/

    After proper execution of command you have to restart the server. Pass the following command in terminal :
    sudo restart smbd
    sudo restart nmbd
    For more details you can use Ubuntu Server Guide

    How to setup File Server on Mac operating system
    It is much more easier to create a file server on Mac operating system. Just by simple settings you enable it. You just need to configure one pc as server. It is not only possible to configure File Server on network but also online. Mac operating system has inbuilt FTP server. You just need to first turn it on.

    Click on Apple Menu > System Preferences > Sharing > Services > FTP Access > Start

    The server will start working. Once you are done with that you can click on Firewall to ensure the network security. To manage Firewall settings click on FTP and then click Firewall on top. Ensure that Tick box is selected.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: How to Build a File Server

    Top FTP Software

    If you do not want to install Windows Server or Linux or Mac then it is possible to configure on your existing system via third party software. There are ample of free and paid programs that you can use for this purpose.

    SmartFTP :

    Features :
    • FTP and FTPS (Secure FTP)
    • SFTP over SSH (Professional Edition)
    • Integrated Editor (Professional Edition)
    • Terminal Emulator (Ultimate Edition)
    • Modern Graphical User Interface (GUI)
    • File/Folder Synchronization
    • Multilingual (more than 20 languages)
    • Advanced Schedule
    • IPv6 & Drag & Drop
    • On-the-fly Compression (MODE Z)
    • UTF-8 Support
    • Multiple Connections / Auto reconnect and resume of broken transfers
    • Remote Edit of files
    • Search for files and folders on the server
    • Local Browser
    • Bulk Rename (Professional Edition)
    • International Domain Names (IDN)
    • Backup Tool
    • FTP command line
    • CHMOD (Properties)

    Download SmartFTP Client 4.0.1225.0 (32-bit)

    Download SmartFTP Client 4.0.1225.0 (64-bit)

    FTP Voyager :

    Features :
    • Automatic Time Zone Support
    • SFTP Through SSH2
    • Secure FTP (FTPS) Using SSL
    • Status of Server to Server Transfers
    • Password Encryption
    • Thumbnail View / Menu Styles
    • FTP Site Profile Manager
    • Drag-and-Drop Interface
    • Filtering

    Download FTP Voyage

    FTP Explorer :

    Features :
    • Automatic connection retries.
    • Download resume.
    • Background transfers.
    • File descriptions.
    • Shortcuts.
    • Quick Connect.
    • Drag and Drop.

    Download FTP Explorer

    FTP Commander Deluxe

    Features :
    • Upload and download one or more files
    • Multiple Connections (not available in free version)
    • Resume and complete file transfers
    • FTP connection profiles
    • Drag-and-drop file transfer
    • Built-in Compression (not available in free version)
    • CHMOD

    Download FTP Commander Deluxe

    CuteFTP Pro :

    Features :
    • Comprehensive protocol options, including FTP/S (SSL), HTTP/S (SSL), Secure Shell (SSH)
    • OpenPGP encryption, One Time Password authentication protocol, and Password Manager
    • Schedule fast, fully-automated transfers
    • Safely backup or synchronize your sites
    • Easily monitor local folders for changes
    • Painlessly edit remote documents with a built-in editor
    • Drag and drop files for fast and easy movement – up to 100 concurrent transfers
    • View thumbnails of remote images
    • Securely work with multiple remote sites at one time
    • Runs on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000

    Download CuteFTP Pro

    BulletProof FTP

    Features :
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    • Proxy/Firewall Support
    • HTTP/Webserver Support
    • Import CuteFTP, WS_FTP, FTP Explorer
    • Remote Mirroring

    Download BulletProof FTP

    AceFTP Pro

    Features :
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    • File transfer scheduler
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    Download AceFTP Pro

    Some Free FTP Clients for Mac
    • Cyberduck
    • Classic FTP
    • FileZilla
    • CrossFTP

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: How to Build a File Server

    Hi Fumble,

    I came across this post on a random Google search. I’m not a techy and frankly have a myopic understanding of servers and how to set them up. I was going to ask how do file-hosting sites like and Rapidshare work.

    How much data capacity do they serve or handle.

    And finally what are the costs associated with setting something similar up. A very rough estimates if you could.

    Many thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Re: How to Build a File Server

    Quote Originally Posted by LA_ONDA View Post

    I came across this post on a random Google search. I’m not a techy and frankly have a myopic understanding of servers and how to set them up. I was going to ask how do file-hosting sites like and Rapidshare work.

    How much data capacity do they serve or handle.

    And finally what are the costs associated with setting something similar up. A very rough estimates if you could.
    Those file-hosting sites are big "repository" where people can upload and download files. There's many such services, rapidshare just happens to be very popular. You can download files with a free account, but they limit your speed and amount you can download. If you buy an account, you can obviously download unrestricted, and also upload.

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