Protocol recommendations for backup storage

Immortal Files does not provide a remote server. You can choose the most suitable one for your backup needs. The common problems you’ll encounter with remote servers involve troubleshooting the connection. This may involve having the hose reject the connection when it should be accepted or sometimes not being able to access a location beyond the remote server.

Here are the recommendations:


Internet protocols

The various protocols listed specify different sets of rules for how, when, and where your data will flow from your computer. It is something like postal mail versus email, but to use any protocol, you need to know the destination address.

These are all alternative Internet protocols. Protocols were created for relaying data (datagrams) across networks. They provide routing functions, enable internetworking, and establish the basic foundations for communicating on the Internet.

A protocol’s main task is to deliver data packets from a source to a destination based on an Internet Protocol (IP) address. It is responsible for setting addresses of hosts (sources and destinations) and routing data. It also defines the format of (data) packs and provides the address system. The address system has several functions, such as providing logical locations and identifying hosts.

Each protocol has its own commonly known prefix. The prefixes look like ftp:// or https://. The prefix lets your computer know which protocol it should use to connect to the remote server.

FTP

File Transfer Protocol is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host. FTP was created for separate data connections between user and the server. One downside of FTP is troublesome connections through firewalls. But it works faster than other Internet protocols because of its architectural simplicity. It is also built into common Internet browsers.

FTP advantages:

  • Well tested: Was developed more then 40 years ago and is still widely used. All the problems with implementation have already been found and fixed.
  • Fast: It is very simple and because of this it is fast.
  • Use: Supports large file upload/download resume after error if the server supports the REST command.

FTP disadvantages:

  • It is hard to configure a firewall for using FTP.
  • An FTP connection may be insecure because the connection between the client and server is usually not encrypted.

WebDAV

Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that is used between users in editing and managing documents and files stored on different remote servers. There are several applications that support WebDAV only. WebDrive allows you to open and edit files on a remote server without additional actions. It is a new protocol and all data are encrypted and safe; however, it is not very fast.

The use of WebDAV is widespread, and it is mainly a cloud-based solution. It supports proxy servers, and many network-attached storage solutions (NAS) support it out of the box. WebDAV gives you direct access to files, especially if you share the files with someone else, and it is a very secure protocol.

WebDAV advantages:

  • Widespread: Many servers support it.
  • Secure: Most servers force you to use an encrypted connection.
  • Firewall support: All firewalls support it out of the box.

WebDAV disadvantages:

  • Does not support large file upload/download resume after error. In theory it is supported, but in practice no working server does support this feature.
  • It may be slow because there are different implementations involving significant overhead in the protocol specification. The protocol is designed to do ‘everything’ and, in reality, does nothing well.

SFTP

SSH File Transfer Protocol was designed to provide access to a remote file server over a network. SFTP supports hierarchical folders and manages file downloading, renaming, deleting, and uploading. SFTP is usually indicated with the protocol prefixes: SCP://, SSH://, or SFTP://. It is used mostly by professionals, and data transfers are very fast, very secure, and encrypted. It works well, especially on Linux that has this functionality by default. It is the best choice for backing up with Immortal Files. It is free for personal use and supports long file paths on Windows. But there are also some disadvantages: not widespread on Windows systems and difficulties may occur with a setup on NAS. (You have to use a NAS-storage website.)

SSH advantages:

  • Widespread: All UNIX-based systems (such as Mac OS X and Linux) have it built in. It is used by many IT professionals.
  • Secure: You must use an encrypted connection.
  • Use: Supports large file upload/download resume after error

AFP/SMB

Apple Filing Protocol is used with Mac OS X as its main network and file services protocol. AFP supports Unicode file names, access control list permissions, advanced file locking, and resource forks. It was the primary protocol for file services.

AFP is widespread, and many NAS support it. Negative aspects are its slow speed and possibility of using only for local area network. Backing up to remote server is not possible.

Server Message Block is also known as Common Internet File System and operates as an application-layer network protocol. It is used to provide access to files, serial ports, printers, and network communication mainly with Windows. It is also known as Microsoft Windows Network.

AFP/SMB advantages:

  • Widespread: Built into both Mac OS X (AFP) and Windows (SMB).
  • Use: Supports large file upload/download resume after error.

AFP/SMB disadvantages:

  • The speed may be extremely slow especially if the computers are communicating through a WiFi connection.
  • It may be hard to connect to a server or NAS because SMB and AFP are proprietary. The available open-source clients do not work very well.