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Is there an FTP server that can be run via the command line?

Ideally I want a self-contained server.exe file (DLL files and configuration files are fine) that I can set up, start/stop via the command line, without having to install or setup as a service.

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Have a look at CrushFTP

CrushFTP is a powerful file server supporting standard secure file transfer protocols. The 'Crush' in CrushFTP comes from its ability to compress transfers on the fly seamlessly making for faster transfers! Combining the inline compression support with the high speed transfer options, you have the fastest file transfer options for high latency connections possible.

In about 10 clicks you can be fully configured and ready to login.

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Thanks to @Tom Wijsman for an excellent edit – Dave M Feb 20 '12 at 14:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm now using FTPDMIN, which is not ideal due to lack of security, but for my purposes (unit tests) its fine.

Simple ad-hoc file transfer Windows FTP server.

ftpdmin v. 0.96  Jun 7 2004
Using 'C:\' as root directory
ftpdmin ready to accept connections on    
    220 Minftpd ready
USER anonymous
    331 pretend login accepted
    230 fake user logged in
    215 WIN32 ftpdmin v. 0.95
    257 "/"
    200 Type set to I
    227 Entering Passive Mode (192,168,0,101,5,178)
    250 CWD command successful
    150 Opening connection
    226 Transfer Complete
    227 Entering Passive Mode (192,168,0,101,5,178)
SIZE /bottles.jpg
    213 18003
MDTM /bottles.jpg
    213 20040509122422
RETR /bottles.jpg
    150 Opening BINARY mode data connection
    226 Transfer Complete
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You can also look at the open source FileZilla server.

FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface.

(Click image to enlarge)

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Juergen Thumm's (StahlWorks Technologies) Swiss File Knife is a Windows portable single-exe command line tool.

One of the many things it can do is to act as ftp server. Besides being open source it looks well maintained and crafted with love and care since 2006


run a simple, single-user ftp server instantly from the command line

to enable easy file transfer between two machines. no installation required, fully portable executable for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Raspberry Pi

  • download the free Swiss File Knife Base from Sourceforge.


sfk ftpserv [-h[elp]] [-port=nport] [-rw] [workdir]

The SFK Instant FTP Server for easy file transfer.


For my purposes (unit tests) its looks good and it is little bit more capable and more up-to-date then the proposed FTPDMIN alternative.

EDIT 2015-01-13:

SFK version 1.7.2 does not support standard FTP command MDTM to preserve file timestamp. For timestamp-sensitive tests another command line server compliant with almost any RFC I've heard of is the Apache 100% pure Java FTP server.

It's little bit more complex to setup and little bit slower to launch and shutdown and requires Java but it is more capable (standard-wise) then the SFK

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