Late last week, I found I could no longer access my web host's FTP, due to timeouts. I subsequently found:
- I can access the FTP on my iPhone through terrible O2 3G
- My web host can access the FTP internally and externally
- I can access the FTP through FTPTest.net
- I can telnet into the FTP using Terminal on OS X
- I can access the FTP through BTWifi-with-FON on my Home Hub 5
- I can access _other_ sites with the same host, which are naturally on different IP addresses
I've done the usual belt-and-braces — reset the router; changed the apps I'm using; created new FTP accounts; etc. But the fact FTP access to this specific IP is not working only through my standard Wi-Fi points to something screwy going on.
BT have stated they cannot and will not assist because this is beyond the remit of "free customer support" regarding broadband. They also confirmed that despite the fact this is affecting my ability to operate my business (I'm a tech journalist by trade), I cannot get out of the contract in any way. At most, I can apparently take my chances with 'Tech Experts', which costs eight quid per month. I'm obviously not thrilled at the prospect of paying for something that feels like it's a technical support issue.
So my query is whether anyone else here has had the same thing relatively recently, and what the cause is likely to be. Judging by some older threads here and elsewhere, it could be a hardware issue — and our Home Hub 5's hardly been reliable, with the 2.4 GHz band falling over quite often — but I'm also not keen on buying a new router just to check. I may have to though.
Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts, they would be gratefully received.
They also confirmed that despite the fact this is affecting my ability to operate my business (I'm a tech journalist by trade),
You will not get any support for running a business on a residential line, as its excluded in the residential T&Cs.
BT business users have the option of a much quicker repair time, and better technical support.
As this is only a customer to customer help forum, its not likely anyone will be able to help, as we are just BT customers.
I doubt that the normal charegable service would be able to help, as they are mainly there to help residential customers to set up their devices.
I was just grumbling re the 'business' bit. My post was primarily to see whether anyone else had recently experienced the problem. (Older posts are mostly by people on the HH3.) Still, looking at other posts here, it appears to be that FTP is 'broken' because 1) HH5 is a piece of junk, and 2) BT is in denial that there's a problem with HH5 firmware. Worse, I'm seeing people elsewhere say they followed BT's advice to sign up to the paid Tech Experts service, only to be told that won't deal with FTP at all. That's pretty iffy.
So the only open path appears to be:
1. Use BTWifi-with-FON in the short term.
2. Buy a new router and start using that.
3. Move away from BT Infinity the second my contract is up.
I am, however, baffled that BT seems to consider FTP some kind of outlandishly crazy and esotetic thing to use broadband for.
The first thing I'd say.... don't do FTP kids. It's insecure. It sends the password for your web sites in plain text. The FTP specification (RFC 959) dates back to 1985.... a time when the Internet was a fun place to be, full of fluffy kittens and unicorns, and everybody loved each other. The Internet of today is a vastly different place and you should not use insecure protocols. Get onto your service providers and have them enable SFTP.
To the problem in hand. There are many factors involved here, and it's not a cut and dry Home Hub problem.
As stated in the post FTP FAILED TO RETRIEVE DIRECTORY LISTING. PLEASE HELP I AM ON BT INFINITY 2 that you seem to have resurrected, FTP has two modes: active and passive (see back in message 13).
In active mode, the FTP server establishes the data connection to the client. From the Home Hub perspective this is a device on the Internet trying to connect to your home LAN and so this is by default blocked by the firewall in the Home Hub.
In passive mode, the FTP client establishes the data connection to the server. From the Home Hub perspective this is like any other outgoing connection from your LAN to the Internet and is allowed.
Take a look at figure 15-1 at the Linux FTP Server Setup page for a visual representation of active and passive mode FTP.
And to show FTP does work, and that you're incorrect "that BT seems to consider FTP some kind of outlandishly crazy and esotetic [sic] thing to use broadband for" here's two connections, one working, one not. The only difference is the FTP client.
First the Windows FTP client. This only supports active mode, and when using this I get timeouts, similar to what you mention, and as mentioned on the other post referenced above.
C:\Users\smf22>ftp redacted.org Connected to redacted.org. 220---------- Welcome to Pure-FTPd [privsep] [TLS] ---------- 220-You are user number 7 of 1000 allowed. 220-Local time is now 00:34. Server port: 21. 220-This is a private system - No anonymous login 220-IPv6 connections are also welcome on this server. 220 You will be disconnected after 15 minutes of inactivity. 504 Unknown command User (redacted.org:(none)): redact 331 User redact OK. Password required Password: 230 OK. Current restricted directory is / ftp> ls 200 PORT command successful 425 Could not open data connection to port 45799: Connection timed out ftp> bye 221-Goodbye. You uploaded 0 and downloaded 0 kbytes. 221 Logout.
You can see in the above, the server is trying to connect to my client on port 45799. As I mentioned this is blocked by the firewall.
If I connect to the same FTP server, via the same Home Hub and broadband connection, but from a Linux FTP client which supports passive mode, then I don't have any problems.
smf22@lampu:~$ ftp -p redacted.org Connected to redacted.org. 220---------- Welcome to Pure-FTPd [privsep] [TLS] ---------- 220-You are user number 9 of 1000 allowed. 220-Local time is now 00:35. Server port: 21. 220-This is a private system - No anonymous login 220-IPv6 connections are also welcome on this server. 220 You will be disconnected after 15 minutes of inactivity. Name (redacted.org:smf22): redact 331 User redact OK. Password required Password: 230 OK. Current restricted directory is / Remote system type is UNIX. Using binary mode to transfer files. ftp> ls 227 Entering Passive Mode (173,X,Y,37,174,183) 150 Accepted data connection drwx--x--- 27 redact 12 4096 May 31 12:33 . drwx--x--- 27 redact 12 4096 May 31 12:33 .. -rw------- 1 redact redact 29029 May 31 15:06 .bash_history [snip] lrwxrwxrwx 1 redact redact 11 Jun 8 2013 www -> public_html 226-Options: -a -l 226 46 matches total
In the above we see the line 227 Entering Passive Mode (173,X,Y,37,174,183). What this does is to tell the client to establish an outgoing connection to IP address 173.X.Y.37 on port 44,727. The first four values of the numbers in brackets are the IP address the server is listening on. The next two values are used to calculate the port the server is listening on using the formula port = (174 * 256) + 183. The port number is different each time.
The issue seen when using the Windows FTP client is not a problem with the Home Hub. In fact the firewall in the hub is doing exactly what it should be doing; blocking incoming requests to high port numbers.
It's possible that the behaviour of the Home Hub firewall has changed with a firmware change and so now gives a problem when using a client using active mode. It's possible there's a bug, and even clients using passive mode will not work. But with my Home Hub (model 5B) with software v0.07.05.0A13-BT, FTP does work.
You say things work when using BTWifi-with-FON. If you connect to BTWifi-with-FON there is no firewall and, based on the explanation above, is possibly why things work for you i.e., there's no firewall to block the active mode connection from the server to your client.
The questions to ask are: what FTP client are you using, does it support FTP passive mode, and does it do this by default?
Thanks for the in-depth response. (And argh at typos—looks like autocorrect doesn't work on this forum.)
Clients: I've tried a half dozen or so across OS X and iOS, with various set-ups. This also was all working fine until last week, after a router reboot, and so perhaps a firmware update has messed with things. Right now, I can't connect to one specific IP using Transmit in passive mode. I can connect using cellular (O2) and FON, and also to other IPs on the same web host. I've just been sent a TP-LINK to try, and so it'll be interesting to see whether that works.
You can see the version of firmware your Home Hub is running and the last time it was updated from Troubleshooting -> Helpdesk and look at entry 3. Example for HH5A and HH5B below.
1. Product name: BT Home Hub
2. Serial number: +068543+NQ51009784
3. Firmware version: Software version 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 (Type A) Last updated 21/02/16
1. Product Name: HomeHub5
2. Serial number: +076284+1530003930
3. Firmware version: v0.07.05.0A13-BT (Type B) Last updated 9/12/2015
Oh... and did I mention? Dont use FTP!!
So the hub may have rebooted last week, but it hasn't had a firmware change since January so it's not a firmware change that's broken things. It'll be interesting to see how things go with the TP Link.
Did you hav any look with the new Router, as that resolved the isse, as im experiancing the same problem.