Anonymous FTP

The Geocities FTP server accepts even fewer commands than most FTP servers. It is annoying at times, but then it's difficult to make server directories accessible to millions of different people while at the same time securing them against hacking.

The following section refers to anonymous FTP servers, i.e. those where you can download, sometimes upload things without having an account there. It assumes that you are familiar with the commands listed on the Geo-FTP page. Popular servers that virtually heave with shareware, info etc. are e.g.,, or


Many browsers allow connecting to anonymous ftp servers. E.g. Netscape has the option "send email as anonymous ftp password". Set this "on" to have browser access whenever you click a link that leads to an ftp rather than www server. To retrieve a certain file, you can enter its URL as, e.g., "". (note: this is only a sample address!)

However, command line ftp, which is described here, has more functionalities.

Open a command prompt (UNIX: terminal) and go to the directory where the files you want to upload are stored - or where the files you want to download shall go. Type

As username, enter "ftp" and as password, your email address. Now you're an anonymous user, hence "anonymous FTP". This means that you have read access to certain directories, and possibly write access to some others.


If you haven't received an exact address (which is like a URL), orientation on an ftp server can be somewhat difficult. But most servers have a file named "INDEX" in the root directory (the one where you start) and allow you to open it with the command more INDEX. Otherwise, download the file using get INDEX and open it locally with an ascii editor.

In most cases, you will find files for downloading in the directory "pub". Areas where you can upload files are typically named "incoming".

Directory Operations

What has been listed on the Geo-FTP page applies, but deleting and creating directories is not allowed. ls -l or dir lists contents of directory along with the permissions for the files or directories in the following way: rwxrwxrwx. They're a good way of determining whether you're allowed to enter a directory, write (upload) there, or read only.

UNIX systems (read: ftp servers) have three kinds of permissions: for the owner of the file/directory, a privileged group, and the rest ("world"). The first three letters tell you the permissions for the owner, the next three those for the group, and the last three for the rest of the world. "r" means read, "w" is write, ans "x" is execute or, in case of a directory, entering it. As anonymous ftp user, you are "world", so if a directory has the permissions rwxrwxr-x you can enter it, but only read (download) its contents. If the permissions are rwxrwxrwx, you can enter it, and write (upload) to it.

File Operations

Same as for GeoCities FTP. Files have similar permissions as directories, so a file with rw-r--r-- can only be changed/deleted by the owner and read by you etc. Be careful when you put files: You will probably not be able to remove them should you have second thoughts. If you can, anybody else can, too.


FTP servers almost always have restrictions on the number of anonymous connections possible at the same time. If you're a nice person you should take care to log out properly by typing bye when you're done so that somebody else can log in.


This page was prepared by Yoshiwara

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