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I have a small server(running Ubuntu 9.10) at my (parent's) house and will be leaving it there once I go to college this fall. Currently I'm using samba to transfer files between computers, but I was wondering if once I am on my university's network, whether using FTP would be a better option versus samba over a VPN. The files will range from 100 MB to 17 GB, if that matters.

Would one be more efficient over the other? Did I forget any other options?

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closed as too broad by Journeyman Geek May 17 '14 at 16:55

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Don't underestimate the utility of a flash drive and a visit. Add in a hot meal and free laundry, the occasional visit home might be a worthwhile route for the largest files. – afrazier Feb 23 '13 at 15:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'd choose rsync over ssh.

You get encryption that way and rsync is smart enough to resume partially downloaded files and to copy only different files to avoid excessive traffic usage.

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I'd prefer a more GUI way of doing it, though I could use rsync if that turns out to be the best option. – 0d0h0m0s Mar 12 '10 at 8:57
grsync is a frontend for rsync on Ubuntu – Dom Mar 12 '10 at 16:48

The first thing that springs to mind to me is that I don't think that SMB will allow you to resume a download - which would be a real pain if you had a problem 16.5GB through a 17GB file...

So I would go for FTP, something like the pure-ftpd or vsftpd servers, both of which I would guess would be in the Ubuntu repositories if it isn't part of the standard install, and both of which should be relatively simple to set up securely; see here for an example setup for vsftpd.

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the limiting factor here is the bandwith of your parents internet connection (network throughput), not the encoding speed of the data.

so i would prefer encryption (vpn, ssh-tunnels, whatever) over non-encryption (ftp yikes) any time for sensible data.

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Nothing I'd be transferring would be sensitive information and I don't really think the encryption would be necessary. Could, for example, the transfer rate between SFTP vs FTP be significantly different because of the encryption in SFTP? – 0d0h0m0s Mar 12 '10 at 8:59
again: the limiting factor is the bandwith of your parents connection. if your home machine can encrypt your stuff with 20mb/s and your parents machine saturate the fiber at 1mb/s .. whats the point? – akira Mar 12 '10 at 9:26
I get your point, but that doesn't answer my question. – 0d0h0m0s Mar 12 '10 at 9:31
it did. as long as the network bandwidth is the limiting factor, there is no point in thinking about if encryption have any effect on the transfer rate. obviously it has an effect, encryption is cpu-intense and thus it would decrease your theoretical bandwith. with a slower cpu the decrease will be higher. – akira Mar 12 '10 at 10:52

Personnally, I use FileZilla on an SSH server with an ftp server. That is for a GUI-based access to the server, but the sftp command line does the job great too. Just remember that if you are connecting as a different user that you are on your box, you have to specify it on the command line.

But SFTP solved all my problems.

If you also want to remotely access their computer with a graphic GNONE/KDE session, I would recommend FreeNX, or NX from NoMachine ( This lets you login to a full GNOME/KDE session remotely. Those also work over an SSH connection, so your connection is safe.

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Ad my university FTP is blocked, but I can use SSH. So normally when I like to send files from my server to my laptop, when I'm at the University, I use SSH. SCP for example. But 17 GB is a lot. Is your internet connection at home fast enough?

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It's about 250 KB/s. I think it'd be enough. – 0d0h0m0s Mar 12 '10 at 17:41
Assuming that 250 Kilobytes/sec is accurate, you're taking about 19 straight hours of transfer time. – afrazier Feb 23 '13 at 15:54

I would recommend using scp to move the files.

If you are worried about having a GUI for scp, then secpanel might work for you.

If you aren't happy with the results, then you could try sftp instead.

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