How to Setup an FTP on DD-WRT

Some may think it’s a bad idea to setup a File Transfer Protocol server through a DD-WRT router. The truth is its use has become popular when making large data backups. Are your documents extremely dear to your heart? If so, wouldn’t it be a nightmare to have this sensitive data wiped out? Quite a frightening thing, right?

There will come a time when hardware failures will happen. All the data that we’ve collected over the years may get wiped in a second.

Hence, backing up data is something that should be regularly scheduled.

The importance of a backup is immense in this digital era. Everything from projects to family photos is stored within various electronic devices. We often ignore the task of backing up our files, which is why an FTP can make it more palatable.

Why An Online Backup?

A ‘backup’ is essentially a process of creating a copy of your computer data and archiving it in case of a data loss.

This crucial process serves some important purposes. The primary one is to recover data and access it safely after it is lost by deletion or corruption. Apart from this ‘disaster recovery’ option, backups also help recover data that had been stored earlier on your device. Although, in case of a loss, it is often possible for experts to recover the files from the hard drive; the implementation of a backup tool is a wiser way to save both time and financial expenses.

In case of external data like that on the internet, a Network Area Storage (NAS) is a great way to create a backup. However, there’s a little glitch here. It can’t be accessed from your PC unless you are connected to your home network. To do so, you need to create a VPN tunnel and turn your DD-WRT device into an FTP. Doing that will allow you to make backups without having to connect to a network.

This article is essentially a guide on how to use FTP backups on a DD-WRT device.

FTPs

So, what exactly do we mean when we say ‘FTP’? Well, firstly FTP stands for ‘File Transfer Protocols’. These set of protocols or conventions define the basic ways to transfer files over a computer network between two endpoints.

DD-WRT is simply defined as a:

“Linux-based firmware project developed to enhance the performance and features of wireless Internet routers. This open-source firmware upgrade is developed for specific router models and used as a replacement for the inconsistent stock firmware. Modifying a router to DD-WRT lifts restrictions built into the default firmware, providing advanced capabilities to make your Internet and Home Network more controllable and versatile.”

Scroll down to find out more on configuration steps, but if you’re new to third party router firmware, you can read a comparison of all major platforms here.

How to Configure an FTP Server on DD-WRT

Setting up FTP on the DD-WRT is quite an easy process, there’s nothing to be afraid of here. Just note that all the data that you are downloading using an FTP connection isn’t automatically encrypted. So, it’s important to encrypt files that are personal in order to keep them safe.

Follow these steps one by one if you are setting up an FTP connection:

  1. To get the ball rolling, you need first proceed to the Services tab and then click on the USB sub-tab. After having done so, enable ‘core USB support’, ‘automatic drive mount’, and ‘USB storage support’. Then, simply save, and apply the configuration settings.
  2. Plug in your storage device with a USB cable and allow it to get registered under ‘disk info’. This is done so that you don’t have to reboot your router later.
  3. Proceed in this manner – Services and NAS section.
  4. After you have finished the steps outlined above, simply wait for ProFTD to be enabled and alter the port to the one that you deem appropriate.
  5. Look at your WAN access, and be sure that it is enabled.
  6. For Authentication, the RADIUS feature is more trustworthy than Anonymous Login. It’s better to stay away from the latter.
  7. Enter a username and a password, and save all these configurations before applying them.
  8. Now go to Administration Page > Commands, and enter the code given below:
  • wanf=`nvram get wan_iface`
  • iptables -I INPUT 2 -i $wanf -p tcp –dport 21 -j logdrop
  • iptables -I INPUT 2 -i $wanf -p tcp -m state –state NEW –dport 21 -m limit –limit A/minute –limit-burst B-j logaccept

Change the parameters to fit the security of your system. You should especially limit the ‘A’ parameter to limit the number of attempts made to connect to the network per minute. By altering the parameter ‘B’, you will be able to limit the number of unsuccessful login attempts that can be made. These modifications can prove to be extremely valuable against any kind of unwanted infiltration by hackers.

  1. After you have gone through all these steps, save the settings, apply them, reboot the DD-WRT router.
  2. You are now ready and your FTP has finally been set the way you wanted it to be.

Test your FTP to Ensure it Works

It is imperative to perform a test run to check whether your FTP server is hale and hearty. You might want to do so by downloading an FTP client. There is a gamut of high-quality FTP clients that you can select from, including Filezilla (Mac), WinSCP (Windows), ESFileExplorer (Android), or FTPManager (iOS).

  1.  First, configure the client in such a way that it mirrors settings which you used on your router.
  2. Then, enter the IP address of your router to create a connection. Log into that, but be aware of the fact that your IP address is dynamic. You can confirm that with your ISP.
  3. Finally, log in and start downloading a file to test the functionality of the FTP server.

On a slightly different note, you can also try out Cloud Backups, which are a brilliant way to add to your backup plans.

Remember to properly backup your data. You need to have 3 separate backups, and preferably have at least 1 one of them completely off-site in case of water or fire damage to your home.