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Anonymous FTP: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

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Archive-name: ftp-list/faq

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Last-Modified: 05-May-97
Version: 3.1.5

                           Anonymous FTP
               Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

Suggestions for changes and comments are always welcome.

** Updated News:
- it's been quite a while since I did any real maintenance on the faq and
  sitelist. I can't promise any improvement since life is too full of
  other stuff I need to get done.

Copyright (c) 1993-1997, Perry Rovers -- Text may be quoted in on-line
documents and written publications, but please notify me so I can add a
reference and make sure that you add pointers to the places where people
can get the latest version. You may make this file available on public
servers, like ftp, gopher or WWW servers as well, but please let me know.
Do not modify the info itself (i.e. converting it to some other format)
before consulting me. All rights reserved. This may seem stricter than
the last versions, but I only want to make sure I'm notified of how
this file is used and for what purpose. If you contact me, I'm sure
we can work something out.

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this document!

[Start Of File]

I maintain a directory of Internet sites accepting Anonymous FTP and mail
retrieval of their files and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about
(Anonymous) FTP.


Subject: 1. Table of Contents

Topics are shown below and with their respective answers (*: new, +: changed)

        (1)  Table of Contents
        (2)  What is and how do I use the FTP program?
        (3)  What types of FTP information are available?
        (4)  What is the most current version?
        (5)  Retrieving the listings via email.
        (6)  Using FTP without direct Internet access.
        (7)  Getting help when you have problems with a site.
        (8)  Getting a site listed or changes made.
       +(9)  What is Archie and how does it relate to the list?
       (10)  Using FSP/Gopher/WAIS/WWW to access archives.
       (11)  How do I stop the listings from scrolling off the screen?
       (12)  How do I set up an (Anonymous) FTP server?
      +(13)  How do I automate ftp sessions?
      +(14)  URL's of the interesting things mentioned in this text.


Subject: 2. What is and how do I use the FTP program?

The information below was originally maintained by Jon Granrose
(one of the old maintainers of the listings). Mike Jones added the info
about the existence and location of the compression data chart maintained
by David Lemson. Tom Czarnik (another old maintainer) added some as well
and I have made some changes too.


                            Jon Granrose
                              Mike Jones
                             Tom Czarnik
                            Perry Rovers

      This is not a definitive guide to FTP, but it will give a novice a
      general idea of what it is and how to do it.

                              What is FTP?

      FTP (File Transfer Protocol) allows a person to transfer files
      between two computers, generally connected via the Internet. If
      your system has FTP and is connected to the Internet, you can
      access very large amounts of files available on a great number of
      computersystems. If you are on Bitnet or a UUCP host, you should
      look for servers that work through electronic mail (e-mail). A
      good source of information on archives in general, is the Usenet
      newsgroup comp.archives. When using FTP, you use a program, called
      a 'client' to connect to a machine that holds the files, a 'server'.

                         What is Anonymous FTP?

      Many computersystems throughout the Internet offer files through
      anonymous FTP. This means that you can access a machine
      without having to have an account on that machine (i.e. you don't
      have to be an official user of the system). These anonymous FTP
      servers contain software, documents of various sorts, files
      for configuring networks, graphic images, songlyrics and all sorts
      of other information. Archives for electronic mailing lists are
      often stored on and are available through anonymous FTP. An
      enormous amount of information is stored on these machines and is
      ready for anyone who's seeking it.

      Note that all this is subject to change, it is a privilege
      and the person responsible for the machine can shut it down
      at any time without you being able to do anything about it.


      All the normal FTP commands may be used to retrieve files. Some
      FTP commands are the same on different computers, but others
      are not. Also, some of the ftp sites offer custom commands like
      getting a directory with one command, 'regetting' a file or searching
      of directories. Read the relevant README files on the site itself
      for the 'special access features'.
      Usually, FTP will list the commands if you type 'help' or type a
      question mark (?). Also, your computer's help command may have
      information about FTP. Try 'man ftp', 'man ftpd', 'help ftp',
      'ftp /?', 'ftp -?' or 'ftp /h' (all these to be typed without

      Some useful commands available on most systems include:

        ascii   Switch to ascii mode. Ascii mode is the default mode
                and used for transferring text files
        binary  Switch to binary mode. For transferring binary files
                like .ZIP files, .Z files and the like
        cd      Change the directory on the remote computer
        dir     List the files in the current directory on the remote
        ls      Same as 'dir', but shows less information sometimes.
        get     Copy a file from the remote computer to yours
        hash    Puts a '#' on the screen for every <number> of bytes
                transferred. <number> is 1024 in some cases, 2048 in others
                but is between 1024 and 4096 in most cases.
                Check the ftp 'help' function for more info on the number for
                your clientprogram.
        help    Gives help on the use of commands within the ftp program
        lcd     Change the directory on your computer (the 'l' is for local)
        lpwd    Shows the present working directory (pwd) on your
                computer (the 'l' is for local). Note: this may not
                work on all machines. On a Unix machine, try !pwd
                if lwpd doesn't work.
        mget    Copy multiple files from the remote computer to yours
        pwd     Shows the present working directory (pwd) on the
                remote computer


      Anonymous FTP is a facility offered by many machines on the
      Internet. This permits you to log in with the user name 'anonymous'
      or the user name 'ftp'. When prompted for a password, type your e-mail
      address -- it's not necessary, but it's a courtesy for those
      sites that like to know who is making use of their facility. Be
      courteous. Some sites require a valid e-mail address, others don't.

      You can then look around and retrieve files. (Most anonymous ftp
      sites do not permit people to store files). Note that when you
      retrieve files, you have to know where the files are going to
      end up on your machine. This is where the 'lpwd' command comes
      in handy. Also note that when you have transferred a file that
      you want to use on your PC, but you run ftp from a Unix machine
      (or a similar mainframe or network machine), you will have to ftp
      the file from the Unix machine to your PC first (this is assuming
      that you can't ftp to outside your company or campus from your PC,
      otherwise you could have gotten the file directly to the PC).
      This may sound silly, but sometimes people don't know where their
      files are stored or a system administrator decides to give ftp
      access to only a few systems.

      Typically, a directory called 'pub' is where the interesting
      things are stored. Some sites will have a file with a name
      like ls-lR, that contains a complete list of the files on
      that site. Otherwise, you can type ls -lR and get such a listing
      -- for some sites, this can take a LONG time (the size of the
      resulting file can be anywhere between approximately 2000 bytes
      and 25Mb).

      When retrieving non-text files, you must use binary mode,
      otherwise the file gets messed up. To do this, use the
      'binary' command. (It's safe to set this for text files, but
      the result might look a bit different from an ASCII transfer)
      If the site at the other end is non-Unix, you may need to
      use some other mode -- see the documents or README files
      for that site and for FTP (common other modes, are LZ for
      VAX Multinet servers, tenex or image for some others).

      The simplest way to initiate FTP would be to give the command
      'ftp <system-name>'. The  <system-name>  is the remote
      system you are connecting to, either a name like,
      if you have an entry in /etc/hosts or are accessing a Domain
      Name Server or the Internet address  for Garbo. If
      that last sentence doesn't seem to make sense just try: ftp or ftp and look what happens.
      After a short wait, you will be prompted for your username. If
      you do not have an account on the remote system, some systems
      allow you to use 'anonymous'. This gives you a restricted
      access path (meaning that you can only run certain commands
      like 'dir' or 'ls' and are allowed only access to certain
      directories like 'pub').

      You would then be prompted for a password. Some systems will
      tell you to send your real identity as the password. What you
      type doesn't matter in most cases, but it is suggested to give
      your e-mail address. This as a courtesy to the archive maintainers,
      who would like to know who's using their system. Other systems
      need a password of 'guest', or something similar.

      After that, you should receive the FTP prompt ( usually ftp> )
      and have access. You can get a directory of files by giving a
      'dir' command. If the remote system is Unix-based and dir does
      not work, try 'ls -l' for an MS-DOS like output.
      On Garbo, there is a file available in the default anonymous ftp
      directory that explains what Garbo is and where files are located.
      Look for 00-index.txt or README files or some similar name.

      Unix systems will all have the same directory structure, and
      moving around is done with the 'cd' or 'cwd' command.
      TOPS-20, VAX/VMS, DOS VM/CMS and other systems have a different
      structure, but movement is still accomplished with the 'cd'

      VAX/VMS systems have filesystems that show as ALL CAPS
      and directories can be recognized as filenames ending in .DIR
      e.g FAQ.DIR

      Files reside on disks, denoted by NAME: e.g. NETDISK:
      and a file on that disk could be denoted by:

      You can change to that directory by typing:
      cd netdisk:[faq.internet]
      but since you are generally allowed only access to one disk,
      you probably can use cd [faq.internet] or type cd faq and
      then cd internet

      TOPS-20 has directories of the form: DISK:<DIR1.DIR2>, VAX/VMS
      has directories of the form DISK:[DIR1.DIR2] (use cd [-] instead
      of cd .. and cd [.DIR1] instead of cd dir1). DOS, OS/2 and
      Windows NT look like Unix but have shorter directory names.
      VM/CMS has mini-disks that can be accessed with the CD command:

      cd <vm_userid>.<vaddr>

      e.g. cd arcdsk.100

      For an anonymous userid:

      cd <userid_of_interest>.<vaddr>
      account <mini-disk_write_password>

      e.g. cd bob.191
      account bob1

      Note: 'account...' may not be required if the mini-disk is not
            password protected.

      A lot of systems give some information about how to use the
      system when you login, look for that after you have typed
      the password (some of those messages will not be shown if
      you use a - as the first character in your password, some
      people need this because the system won't recognize them
      otherwise. If you have problems logging into a site, try
      a - as the first character).

      Different systems have different organizations for their files,
      and the above example is the way most archives have set it up.
      By looking around other systems, you can learn how their files
      are arranged and move around much faster. Note, however,
      that FTP will not allow you outside the FTP 'root' directory.
      Moving about the entire system is not permitted. You will
      get 'Permission denied' messages (or plainly not receiving any
      message and still not be able to change to the directory).

      Usually, files are grouped in archive files, so you don't have
      to get many small files separately. The most common archival
      file formats for the Internet are tar and zip. Occasionally,
      people use shell archives (shar) instead. Tar files are basically
      a bunch of files 'glued' together. Tar archives can be unpacked
      by running the 'tar' command on a Unix system (tar exists also
      for DOS, VMS and a whole bunch of other Operating Systems) --
      you may want to first do a 'tar t' on the file to see what it
      contains before unpacking it. This means typing: 'tar t filename.tar'
      or 'tar tf filename.tar' and looking what the output shows. To unpack
      the .tar file, type: 'tar xvf filename.tar', this will create a
      directory called filename with the unpacked archive in it (no quotes
      Be careful when unpacking shell archives since they have to be
      run through the Bourne shell to unpack them. (The simplest
      way is to use the unshar command).

      Files are often stored compressed, because they take up less
      space that way -- for Unix, the most common compression 'scheme'
      is the 'compress' program, indicated by a .Z suffix on the file
      name. Also you will find Arc, Zoo, Arj, Lzh, gzipped or Zip files,
      which are combined archival and compression formats (there are
      other archival formats as well - talk to the systems staff if
      you encounter them and don't know how to deal with them).
      For .zip files use zip and unzip (or pkzip/pkunzip), for .gz files
      use gzip and for .Z files use compress, which are available for all
      Operating Systems.

      Archival and compression utilities are very handy, but can make
      it very difficult to 'get' a file and use it:
      when you're on a DOS or VMS system for example you can't type:

         get filename.tar.Z

      You have to type:

         get filename.tar.Z

      or something like that and then remember what you have to do to
      unpack the file, namely first running your version of 'compress'
      on it and then your version of 'tar'.
      Remember this when you can't seem to transfer a file.
      An interesting feature of most ftp servers in use today, is the
      ability to compress and decompress 'on the fly'. This means that
      when you want to 'get' a .Z file, but you don't have compress
      handy, you can type: get filename.Z filename
      The server will then decompress the file and leave you with a plain,
      uncompressed file. Most servers support on-line decompression of
      .Z, .gz and .tar files and even 'get'ting an entire directory with
      'get directoryname directoryname.tar'. Note that this can take up
      a huge amount of space and maybe take ages. Make sure you know what
      you are doing when trying this.

      These are the most common file types (there are zillions more):

         SUFFIX      FTP     TYPE
         ------      ---     -----
        .arc         bin     ARChive (hardly used anymore)
        .arj         bin     Arj (mostly MS-DOS)
        .gif         bin     Graphics Interchange Format
        .gz          bin     GNU Zip
                             (Not compatible with Zip.
                             Found on some sites as .z files.
                             GNU zip is seen in combination with
                             tar as .tgz files, maybe even as .tz files)
        .hqx         asc     HQX (Mac, Mac equivalent of uuencode)
        .jpg         bin     JPEG (graphics format)
        .lzh         bin     LHa, LHarc, Larc
        .shar        ascii   SHell ARchive (mostly Unix)
        .sit         bin     Stuff-It (Mac)
        .tar         bin     Tape ARchive (mostly Unix)
        .uu          ascii   uuencode/uudecode (also .uue)
        .Z           bin     compress (mostly Unix, seen in combination
                             with tar as .tar.Z files)
        .zip         bin     Zip (either PKZip or Zip/Unzip)
        .zoo         bin     Zoo

      To get a list of all file compression/archiving methods and the
      programs to uncompress/unarchive (on the PC, Mac, Unix, VAX/VMS,
      VM/CMS, Atari ST and Amiga systems), FTP to the following site
      and retrieve the listed file:

 directory: /pub/doc/pcnet/compression

      This could be helpful to people new to FTP that don't know how
      to unpack the file they have just transferred.
      Also check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Lists and
      other periodical postings in the news.answers group. Especially
      the, comp.compression and the different
      Operating Systems FAQs (Unix, VMS etc.) can be very handy.
      Most archiver programs are available from in either
      /pc/arcers or /unix/arcers.

Last but not least, for novices to the Internet, I highly recommend a
good book, e.g. 'The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog' by Ed Krol.
It is written clearly and contains an enormous amount of information.
Read it cover to cover, and keep it close at hand.
Published by O'Reilly & Asscociates, it is available from many computer
bookstores or O'Reilly's worldwide distributors.
Contact the publisher at +1 707-829-0515 (USA), or send e-mail to for information.

Unfortunately, this book is already outdated, but it still offers
an invaluable resource and manual for novices and more experienced
Internet users. Apparently there will be a new version of this book
somewhere this year, so look out for it.
Other books are 'The Internet Companion', 'Internet: Getting Started',
'Internet Unleashed', 'The Internet Guide for New Users' and a lot more.
Look for them in your local bookstore.

Almost all of the information in these books is also available on-line
through various documents like the MaasInfo files, Zen and the Art of the
Internet, The HitchHiker's Guide to the Internet, The Big Dummy's Guide
to the Internet, the on-line version of The.Internet.Companion, the
Internet Resource Guide and a whole number of FAQs, RFCs and the like.

The MaasInfo and Big Dummy's Guide files appear to be the most recent of
these kind of files (look for info on where to get them in the
sitelisting itself or try mailing to, that should send
you the Big Dummy's Guide in a number of parts).

Another source for information might be the magazine Internet World,
from Meckler Corp. (

I'm not affiliated with any of the publishers, authors or anyone
mentioned above, but I bought some of the books and like them.


Subject: 3. What types of FTP information are available?

        FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions List about FTP
        SITELIST - Comprehensive Information, containing:

        o Site name
        o Country
        o Date of last modification
        o GMT difference (+/-)
        o Source of last update
        o Administrative e-mail address
        o Organization maintaining FTP site, city, state, department
          if applicable
        o Other servers if available and instructions for use if applicable
          (e-mail, FSP, gopher, WWW)
        o System Type (Operating System, hardware)
        o Universal Resource Locator (for World Wide Web browsers)
        o Comments
        o Types of Files

     Note that apart from my file, Timo Salmi (
     is maintaining a complementary list of a number of MS-DOS ftp sites.
     They list some more information on a subset of sites in my SITELIST
     file. The file is called moder*.zip where * is a version number and
     it is available from in directory /pc/pd2 and in directory /pub/simtelnet/msdos/info.
     Also, Christian Hettler ( is maintaining
     a list of German FTP sites on, directory:
     /pub/info, file: ftp-list-de. The contents of the German ftp sites
     in the listing can be found at
     Arjan de Vet ( is maintaining a list of Dutch FTP sites
     on, directory: pub/usenet/nl, file: nl-ftp (this one is in
     Dutch). Russell Vincent ( maintains a list of
     South-African ftp, archie, whois and gopher servers at in
     /pub/archives/faq-sites.txt Furthermore, there are 2 documents
     describing anonymous FTP servers in the Czech Republic: and the Slovac
     On there's a file called ftp-france-liste, but it doesn't
     seem to be updated regularly. For France, you're better off checking and there's also
     a mailinglist for French ftp-admins. Check the archives at:

     Several newsgroups have their own FAQs that contain listings
     of sites. If you're interested in a particular topic, try looking
     in the FAQ(s) of the newsgroups related to that topic as well.


Subject: 4. What is the most current version?

Look in the Version: line in the top of this file and compare
it to the faq file in on,
or The latest version is always available there.


Subject: 5. Retrieving the list from alternate sources.

     1) Pick it up from anonymous FTP archives; look for 'ftp-list'
        in the SITELIST file. Be warned, many sites carry Jon
        Granrose's (sometimes known as ODIN.FTPLIST, pre Jan-92) or
        Tom Czarniks's old FTP listing (pre Apr-93) and these files
        are outdated. It will take a while for this version to spread,
        but the following sites always carry the latest version:

        Europe - as /pub/users/perry/ftp-list/
        as /pc/doc-net/
        USA    - in the /pub/usenet/news.answers/ftp-list
                 directory: faq file and sitelist directory (ASCII)
        USA    - as /pub/simtelnet/msdos/info/
        USA    - as /usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/*
        Asia   - in /documents/networking/guides/ftp-list
                 several files in several formats (.Z, .gz, .zip, ASCII,
                 dBase and MS-Access database versions and AmigaGuide
                 Hypertext version)
                 TO SPACE LIMITATIONS

        Admins who would like to mirror the list are welcome to mirror any
        of the above sites/directories, dependent on what format they like.
        Apart from these sites there are hundreds of mirrors of garbo,
        rtfm and that carry the list.

     2) send an e-mail message to with
        no subject and in the body of the message:

          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/faq
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part1
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part2
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part3
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part4
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part5
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part6
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part7
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part8
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part9
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part10
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part11
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part12
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part13
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part14
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part15
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part16
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part17
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part18
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part19
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part20
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part21
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part22
          send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/sitelist/part23

          [apparently * can be used instead of all the parts numbers,
          but I'll check that out later; update: this doesn't seem to
          work.. YMMV]

     3) Send me mail: State how you need it sent
        and I'll get to it you ASAP. Note that this is NOT the preferred
        method!!! Try one of the above methods first. Thanks to the efforts
        of Lou Swiczewicz ( and Dave Thomas
        ( there will be made available
        from a dBase and Microsoft Access database version
        and a Hypertext AmigaGuide version. The list is also searchable
        through some gophers, I'm gonna add a list of them at some
        later date. [I'm currently not sure how these versions are coming
        along, I'll have to look into that someday. I haven't seen the
        Amiga Guide version and the Access version is lagging behind.
        So don't ask me about those versions, because I don't know how
        they are faring. Check or Aminet sites for them.]
        You can also use packftp, by Mark Rinfret (,
        which converts the sitelist to comma-delimited format. It works


Subject: 6. Using FTP without direct Internet access.

It is possible to get files from a site by using a general mail
server. Many sites have their own servers. If you're on BITNET, ask
your sysadmin or technical support group about BITFTP (or send mail
with a body of 'help' (no quotes, and nothing else) to BITFTP@PUCC,
BITFTP@PLEARN or BITFTP@DEARN (known on the Internet as, and

Also, there's a service called TRICKLE, a concentrator of several
ftp sites. Through TRICKLE you can retrieve files by e-mail or
have them ftped to your own machine or SEND to you. It's also possible
to subscribe to directories or files (you can for instance subscribe
to the McAfee virusscanner and get it by mail everytime there's
a new version). Send e-mail with '/HELP' (no quotes) in the body
to or trickle@hearn.bitnet,
for more info and a list of other trickle servers.

For non-BITNET sites, try using an ftpmail server. Send mail to with 'help' (no quotes) in the body of the
letter. You should NOT send a blank letter, commands are not optional.

Other servers that might be closer and provide the same service are:
- (Australia)
- (Germany)
- (Great Britain)
- (Ireland)
- (USA)
- (USA, points to, so won't work
  until they fix that)

There's a list of ftp-mail servers available at
but I don't know how up to date it is (it still listed
I think)

There used to be an address called, but you are urged
to use one of the above instead of if you ever find it in a
document. That machine was very overloaded as it was the most widely known
ftpmailer and has been shut down and moved to
So, lift the burden and use (faster!) closer machines!!!

  Requests for the ftpmail servers are of the form:

    open <site> <username> <password>
    cd <directory>
    dir                              # To obtain a directory listing
    get <file>                       # To retrieve a file

    open anonymous
    cd /pub/usenet/news.answers/ftp-list
    get faq

NOTE: Please make sure your system admin has approved the the use of
      a mail server, as files can take system resources of not only
      your site, but several sites up the stream. And please abide
      by the guidelines that the ftpmail server administrators have
      put in their help files. Most ftpmail servers default to their
      own site for files, so try retrieving things from that site first.
      In general, most files you need are already available there, so
      it is a waste to connect to another machine.
      Also, don't use servers in Y to fetch files from X if you live
      in X and can use a server in X, e.g. X=Europe, Y=USA.
      Several servers have stopped providing ftpmail service to other
      hosts because they were being overloaded by these kind of
      requests. DON'T DO IT! You ruin a very good service, not only
      for yourself, but also for numerous other users.


Subject: 7. Problems with a site.

If you are unable to access the site because your computer doesn't seem
to be able to 'find' the site (the ftp program returns 'invalid host'
or 'unable to resolve hostname' or some similar errormessage), try one of
the following ways to see if the name of the site is known:
(information partly by (David Rosen) from the Emacs FAQ)

- telnet to the site and see if that works, if it does, there's either no
  ftp server active at the site or there's a configuration error with your
  ftp client program. Normally, the errormessage would be something like:
  'I/O error on network device' or you do get a connection with the ftp
  server but it says 'Service not available. Remote service has closed the
  Telnet works on all systems, there are some more informative ways however:
- try 'nslookup sitename' or 'host sitename' (this usually works on Unix
  systems) and see what that gives. If they can't find the site, your
  nameserver (the computer that looks up the addresses of computers) doesn't
  know the site 'sitename'. You can try again in a couple of minutes if you
  think it might be a delay between 'sitename' and your machine. If that
  doesn't help then either your site has a deficient nameserver (ask your
  local admin to fix it) or the site 'sitename' does not exist.
- another program you can try is 'ping', 'traceroute' or 'hopcheck' to see
  if there is a clear link (or path) to the machine 'sitename'. This is
  however a bit too technical for the ordinary user.
- easy ways to check if the name 'sitename' can be found outside of your
  domain (in my case is by mailing to one of the following addresses: (put 'ip sitename' (no quotes) in the body or 'help'
                          for an info file. Lots of options available)    (use 'host sitename' as the subject of the message.
                          Also other options, send 'help' as the subject)

- you can try to telnet to 101 and type 'HNAME sitename'
  (not very reliable it seems to me, but your mileage may vary)
  or you can telnet to 117

If you can get a connection with the site or if a problem appears while
accessing the site or when retrieving a file, mail the problems to the admin
address shown in the Sites list. When you report a problem, please be
very explicit, i.e. don't write 'I can't get a file' but explain when it
happened, what file it was, what system you are using etc. And word your
message politely. It's no use to annoy an admin if you want a file
from that site.
If an admin address is not shown, attempt to use 'ftp@site_name'; replace
'site_name' with the name of the troublesome site. If it's very
urgent, try sending a note describing the problem to
postmaster@site_name or when the site is a Unix machine: root@site_name
and when the site is a VAX/VMS machine: operator@site_name (the
postmaster@site_name should be valid in all cases).
If that fails, post a note to comp.archives.admin (the newsgroup for
archive administrators). I'm going to include a list of common error
messages here someday, so you don't have to contact the admin for
some common notices you might receive. One of those message is:
'permission denied'. This can mean a few things: either you don't have
write rights to the directory where you started 'ftp' from and you're
trying to retrieve a file or the file or directory on the remote
site has been made unaccessible to you (e.g. a /private directory).
The solution to the first possibility is to change to a directory
where you are allowed to write files (like your 'home' directory)
and the solution to the second possibility is to ask the admin
to change the permissions to that file or directory, but you'd
better have a good reason to need access to that file or directory.
Most of the time those permissions are there for a reason.
Other messages will be included at a later date, in the meanwhile,
check the helpfiles on your ftp client first if they give you the


Subject: 8. Getting a site listed or changes made.

Send mail to
Include the information stated below, in the body of the

     Needed information

        o Site name
        o Site's country of operations, preferably location within
          country as well
        o GMT difference (I don't bother with daylight savings and the like)
        o Manager(s) full name & email address(es) (not made public if
          you don't want it)
        o Any aliases you want listed for the site (preferred are ALL
          aliases that you know, because some people might refer to them.
          These are just there for completeness sake and to easily spot
          duplicate entries, NOT for use by anonymous ftp users). Actually,
          the term alias is misleading because the Site name is mostly
          an alias and what I list as Alias is mostly the real name.
        o Administrative address used for FTP related issues by the
          general public (like ftp@site_name)
        o Organization operating site, department within the organization
        o Is an E-mail, FSP, Gopher, WAIS or WWW server available and how
          can one use it?
        o Type of system the server is running on (OS, hardware)
        o Preferred Universal Resource Locator (either ftp://, gopher://,
          http:// or some other one)
        o Comments (restrictions and the like if any)
        o General description of the types of files available, special
          directories etc.

Please fill in this info completely and don't just mail a sitename.
This saves me work and makes the list more complete.


Subject: 9. What is Archie and how does it relate to FTP?

Archie is a special service that keeps file listings from different FTP
sites. You can Telnet to an Archie server (login with username
'archie') or use a client program to search for specific files.

Here are some sites; send mail to 'archie@site_name' for a help file.
Note that some sites do not support mail access. Most do however.             Australia     Austria    Belgium      Canada   Canada      Finland     France      Germany         Israel      Italy        Japan      Korea    Korea     Korea           New Zealand      Norway     Poland      Spain       Sweden        Switzerland    Taiwan    UK   UK     USA (MD)         USA (NE)   USA (NJ)      USA (NJ)        USA (NY)

To get a list, type: telnet (or any other archie server)
and login as 'archie' (no quotes) and type 'servers' (again, no quotes).
Of course you can also try a server somewhat closer but this list
is from
To find a file called 'filename' you would type: prog filename
at the prompt. There are lots of options available, read the manual
with the 'help' command (no quotes). The Archie client programs
provide more functionality, tailored to your specific Operating
System. Client programs are available by ftp from most archie

Some of you may be wondering, why does the Anonymous FTP Sitelist exist
if Archie can find files?
The answer is this: Archie does not work (yet) with non-Unix sites (the
number of which will increase substantially the next years with all the
new users using PC's and Amiga's etc.) and another problem with Archie
is that different servers can provide you with different answers depending
on the ftp sites they currently have in their memory.
Using a European server you might not be able to find a file in the US,
but if you try a US server it's possible that it does find the file(s) you
need and vice versa.

If you want your ftp server to be included in the archie database, check
the documentation of some of the Archie clients. [I believe the e-mail
address for updates is, but haven't checked
it yet]


Subject: 10. Using FSP/Gopher/WAIS/WWW to access archives.

Some sites offer retrieval of their FTP archives through Gopher,
a browser for the Internet. You can use a so-called Gopher client
program to connect to a Gopher server (in this case the Gopher server
of the ftp-site). Type 'gopher' on your system to see if Gopher is
installed. Most of the time this will bring up a menu system from which
you have several choices. Check the help pages for instructions or ask
a local system administrator or helpdesk on how to use it.

If Gopher does not appear to be installed, ask your local helpdesk
why it isn't. Installing Gopher on your system consists of getting
a client program for your Operating System and installing it.
You can get client programs for Gopher for several Operating Systems
from the ftp site in directory /pub/gopher
and from lots of other sites around the world (check the SITELIST file
for more sites).
Read the Usenet newsgroup comp.infosystems.gopher for more info.
If I know that a site supports Gopher (or one of the other services to
be mentioned here), this info can be found in the Comments: or Server:
line in the SITELIST file.

Other means of retrieving files are through the World Wide Web (WWW or W3)
or WAIS. These services are extensions to the 'bare bones' FTP approach and
have rapidly become more popular. They are easy to use and if you have the
resources you should consider getting a client for either Gopher, WWW
or WAIS (or all) from a good ftp site (e.g. for Mosaic,
a WWW browser, or for WAIS browsers. These sites are mirrored
around the world, check the sitelist for details).
Check the relevant comp.infosystems.* group or/and the sitelist for
siteaddresses of clients and how to install them.

The last option to access an archive to be mentioned here is called FSP
(some people say it stands for File Service Protocol, some call it FTP's
Sexier Partner and others refer to it as F**cking Software Pirates).
FSP has some nice features that FTP doesn't have like 'crash-recovery',
the ability to transfer only the part of a file that wasn't transferred
before (a la Zmodem). Using FSP means getting yourself a client program
and finding FSP sites. A good place to look for clients is on and you can ask for sites in alt.comp.fsp (read the
FAQ and the FSP docs first). FSP is mostly used to retrieve GIF files in
the background (hence the second explanation of the abbreviation) and has
been used for setting up 'pirate' sites (sites that distribute
commercial software, hence the third explanation). This has given it a
somewhat bad name, but the idea is good. More and more admins install
FSP servers because it reduces the load on their machine(s). Unfortunately,
some of the client programs (notably WinFSP) appear to be buggy.


Subject: 11. How do I stop the listings from scrolling off the screen?

When you're retrieving a directory listing of a large site,
it's quite possible that the number of files in a directory is
bigger than the number of rows on your screen. The listing then
scrolls of your screen. There are several ways to avoid this.
You can use 'ls -CF' or 'ls -lF'  (no quotes) to get a directory listing
like the MS-DOS 'dir/w' command (a 'wide' directory listing). Also,
some ftp clients support: 'ls -l "| more"' or 'dir "| more"'.

This seems to differ per site so trying some of the following
might help you (note usage of spaces in the above and below examples):
  ls -l |more
  dir |more
  dir -1 |more
  Ctrl-S to stop the scrolling, Ctrl-Q to resume scrolling
  Alt-Scrolllock to pause the screen and restart it again

These combinations are highly machine specific but probably one
of them will work for you. Also, instead of using 'dir' or 'ls'
you can try to retrieve an index file first to look at that.
Either transfer the file and look at it while you're not connected
to the ftp site (by using 'get filename'), transfer the file and look at
it while you're connected (by using a 'shell' command, you temporarily
leave the ftp client program to look at the file with some editor, 'cat'
or 'more', look in the help pages of the ftp client for more info, most
of the time it's:
!more <filename
or something similar) or read the file while you're connected by
retrieving it to the screen itself, use:

get filename.idx -   (if you're working on a Unix system)
get filename.idx tt  (if you're working on a VMS system, tt: for OpenVMS,
                      sys$output should work in both cases)
get filename.idx con (if you're working on a MS-DOS system)

I have no idea what the appropriate parameter for VM/CMS is. Any takers?
Be aware that this is very useful for small files but is not very
easy for large files (unless you redirect the output to some filter,
like 'more'). Also, reading large files while you are connected is
not recommended because it keeps the ftp server loaded. Be sensitive
and don't overuse this. Get some readme or index files first and read
them off-line so you know how the site is organized and where you can
find things.


Subject: 12. How do I set up an (Anonymous) FTP server?

I'm not maintaining one, so this is mostly from docs and experience.
Any comments or corrections here would be appreciated.

First ask yourself, do I want to do this? It's a potential havoc creator,
extra work and can cause serious security problems. Read the following:
on and some of the CERT postings in
(backissues available from, most notably the warnings for
bugs in ftpdaemons. Another intro to the administration of Anonymous
FTP Sites can be found at as /pub/misc/doc/misc/iafa-wg.Z

Setting up a ftpserver basically consists of getting an ftp-daemon running,
setting several options and creating appropriate user(s) and directories.
Most of the time you have to be 'root' or 'superuser' or 'system' on the
system to pull any of this off (excluding those cases where PC users can
run a ftpserver program on their machine).

There are several ftpserver programs that can be used. In most cases,
the OS installed on your machine will already have a 'ftpd' program
(on Unix systems, try 'man ftpd'), provided the system has TCP/IP
functionality installed. The programs that come with the OS can be used
without too much hassle because they are written for that OS and there are
full docs available with the OS manuals (at least, they should be).

A disadvantage is that most factory servers appear to be rather limited
[I can't explain the widespread use of other programs otherwise], so you
might consider getting a more flexible and portable program like the
Washington University of St. Louis ftpd program (or wu-ftpd for short)
from There's also a beta version available from
in the directory /pub/wu-ftpd/private (you can't read the directory, use
something like lynx to get info
on how to retrieve the beta version.
The program is very widely used and updated very fast if a bug is found.
Also, there's a mailinglist for users of the program. See the faq for
wu-ftpd, available via
Other ftpserver programs are available from e.g. and some
sites are using custom programs.

Server programs are also available for non-Unix systems; for VAX/VMS systems
there's the Multinet server (I have no idea if it's commercial or not,
I guess so), for OS/2 there's the IBM TCP/IP Kit with a ftpserver program,
for MS-Windows there's WinQVT Net, for MS-Windows NT there's probably also
a program and for the Mac and the Amiga as well (I don't know where though).
Check the 'regular' sites for these OSs for server programs, ask in the
appropriate newsgroups (comp.os.*.admin, news.admin.misc, news.misc, after
reading the appropriate FAQs of course!) or ask your software dealer.

As a last note, I'd like to emphasize that running a ftpserver means a
potential security leak. There have been bugs in the different server
programs that enabled unauthorized users to access your machine as normal
or even superusers. Read the documentation of the server well and follow the advisories of the CERT.

When you're ready and have tested the server, you can mail me the addition :-)


Subject: 13. How do I automate ftp sessions?

This is a new section on how to make life easier (when ftping at least).
Although not very much directed at newbies it might be interesting for
more experienced users. This section is in a *very* experimental stage.
For now only a couple of tips, in the upcoming months this section will
expand to include more general guidelines.
Note: this section will be highly system specific! Not everything might
work on your system. Experiment!

How to put ftp jobs in queues and automate retrieval.
Create 2 .COM files with any editor (EVE, EDT, TPU, EMACS) that go something

$ ftp sitename
user anonymous
lcd localdisk:[users.username]
cd /pub/useful
$ exit

$ submit job /queue='p1' /after='p2'

Now you can type: @queue sys$batch 18:00
and it will ftp the file from site sitename after 18:00 local
time. The file will be stored on disk localdisk in directory users.username
(if this disk exists of course, it depends on your local situation).
The jobs will be put in queue sys$batch (but you can use others,
ask your local admin what queues are available).

Unix (all sorts):
You can use programs like ncftp, batchftp and mirror. See the next section
on where to get those programs. Also, there's a file called .netrc you can
use to specify sitenames, usernames and other parameters for usage by the
ftp client program. Try man ftp for more info on that.
The basic format of the .netrc file is something like:
machine: <sitename> login: <username> password: <password>

So for e.g. anonymous access to you would use:
machine: login: anonymous password: youre-mailaddress

Note that the .netrc file will be used if and only if it contains NO
password OR it contains passwords but is not readable by non-owners
(i.e. read access must be OFF for group and world, so use:
chmod g-r o-r .netrc or the numerical equivalent)

This part will be further extended with a sample shell script to be
used with the C, bash, Korn, TCSH or whatever shell, depending on what
kind of scripts and shells I can lay my hands on or on the scripts that
people send in [hint!]. Here's an example of such a script available from

---- cut here ----
ncftp -L > hentfil.log 2>&1 <<-STOPP_HER
---- cut here ----
This is of course a very basic example which gets the file FTP.LESMEG (a kind
of README file) from and logs all actions to the file
Somehow I think that this could be done easier, with a file containing the
commands and slightly different invocation of ncftp, but I'll look into that
later (I've been doing lots of work with NCSA ftp lately where things can be
done like this and it works like a charm).

Thanks to Fred Bourgeois for the reminder about .netrc (it keeps slipping
my mind that I should put it in).

You can use a DOS client program with parameters like:
ftpbin -h sitename -u anonymous get pub/
or even more useful:
ftpbin -f ftp.scr
with e.g. NCSA FTP. I've tried this with a script like the following:
open sitename
cd pub

but since DOS doesn't support background processing it doesn't seem
very useful to me. On the other hand, you can use those (batch) files
in Windows (not very reliable), OS/2 or Windows NT.
As far as I know, there are no real queue or batch ftp programs for these
OSs. There are numerous clients, but they rely on active users. For client
programs, check the usual OS/2, NT or Windows (winsock) sites. I recently
heard that WS-FTP supports scripting, but I haven't had time to look into it

Others: (VM/CMS, Mac etc.)
I'm not (very) familiar with other Operating Systems. For the Mac there's
Fetch, a client like WS_FTP. Very nice, but I don't think it has queue/batch
possibilities (apart from being able to select a batch of files). Using
Apple Events you might be able to automate tasks like ftping files through
Fetch. Anarchie is an archie-client for the Mac.


Subject: 14. URL's of the interesting things mentioned in this text

This part of the FAQ list provides URL's (Universal Resource Locators,
or Uniform Resource Locators) to be used with a WWW (World Wide Web)
browser like Mosaic. By clicking on the lines below you'll supposedly
retrieve the file mentioned there. Most of these links are also available

Updates of the links in this section are first available here as well.

David Lemson's Compression List:

The Maasinfo files, maintained by Robert Maas:

The EFF Guide to the Internet:
or maintained by Timo Salmi:

The Deutsche Anonyme FTP Server Liste maintained by Christian Hettler:

The Dutch Anonymous FTP List maintained by Arjan de Vet:

Some useful Internet sites in Uninet-ZA (South-African)

Czech Republic anonymous FTP servers:

Slovak Republic anonymous FTP servers:

The Anonymous FTP Sitelist and FAQ maintained by Perry Rovers:

Europe: (home site)




WWW versions:

WWW version (through Landfield)*

WWW version (through the University of Utrecht CS dept.)

WWW version (through the University of Oxford)

WWW version (through Thomas Fine's FAQ to HTML conversion program OUTDATED)

WWW version (Thomas Fine's new and improved version)

Browsable/Searchable WWW versions:

University of Oslo server by (Gorm Haug Eriksen)

InfoNet server by (Bob Cherry)

MIDnet server by (Paul H Kramer)

Commerce2000 interface by (Matthew D. Cox)

Searchable version by country, by (Mikhail Veygmam)

Tile searchable version with multiple views

National Center for Supercomputer Applications, University of Illinois at
Urbana/Champaign searchable version, maintained by
(Brian Long)

Other FTP search engines: (this one is very good)

Other search engines (Usenet, WWW):
and there are zillions more like for the Netherlands.

FTP by Mail servers:

FTP by Mail server package:

E-mail address to report site additions, changes etc.:

E-mail address for MS-Access version (i.e. don't ask me about it):

E-mail address for conversion to comma-delimited program (packftp)
(i.e. don't ask me about it):

E-mail address for AmigaGuide version (i.e. don't ask me about it):

Some Archie servers:


telnet://      (Japan)
telnet://      (Taiwan)
telnet://      (South-Korea)
telnet://    (South-Korea)
telnet://    (South-Korea)

Australia and New Zealand:

telnet://              (Australia)
telnet://              (New Zealand)


telnet://    (Austria)
telnet://       (Belgium)
telnet:// (France)
telnet://        (Finland)
telnet:// (Germany)
telnet://        (Italy)
telnet://      (Norway)
telnet://      (Poland)
telnet://      (Spain)
telnet://         (Sweden)
telnet://       (Switzerland)
telnet://     (UK)
telnet://    (UK, London)


telnet://           (Israel)

North America:

telnet://    (Canada)
telnet://      (Canada)
telnet://        (USA, MD)
telnet://         (USA, NE)
telnet://    (USA, NJ)
telnet://     (USA, NJ)
telnet://         (USA, NY)





Setting Up a Secure Anonymous FTP Site:

Another intro to FTP site administration:

FTP-client programs:

MS-Windows: (SURFnet sites only)
Tucows has a lot of mirrors, e.g. in Europe.

[there will be more.. just started]

FTP-daemon programs:

WUSTL FTPD (wu-ftpd): (WU-FTPD release) (BETA) (Frequently Asked Questions)


FUNET ftpd:

FTP-mail packages:

FTP Utilities:
NcFTP (OLD site)  (NEW site)

ImageMagick (contains xtp [needs to be checked])


[End Of File]

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM