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Windows Azure: How-To Enable FTP

In this article, I will show you how to enable FTP on your Windows Azure instance.

By default, FTP feature will not be enabled when you spin up a new Azure instance. However, this does not mean that you cannot install FTP on the Azure instance. You can still install and enable FTP service manually.

There are 2 ways of installing this feature manually. First, enable Remote Desktop on your Azure instance and install it via Remote Desktop when the Azure instance is ready. The downside of using this method is that whatever changes you made using Remote Desktop will be lost once the Azure instance is being recycled. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you notice your FTP site went missing suddenly.

The second method is to write script to install this feature when the Azure instance is started. This will ensure that your FTP site will remain even when the Azure instance is being recycled. Steps below will guide you how to install FTP feature using script & code.

  1. Install FTP feature in IIS, and enable firewall rules for FTP on startup. Do this by creating a startup command that calls the PowerShell script below.

    Import-Module ServerManager
    Add-WindowsFeature Web-Ftp-Server

    # open up firewall port for port 21 (the default firewall rules only allow services spawned from svchost.exe to be allowed FTP access!)
    netsh advfirewall firewall delete rule name=FTP
    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="FTP" dir=in action=allow service=any profile=public localport=21 protocol=tcp

  2. Enable EndPoint on port 21 for your Azure Instance in the ServiceDefinition.csdef file.

    <Endpoints>
        <InternalEndpoint name="FtpEndpoint" protocol="tcp" port="21" />
    </Endpoints>

  3. Add reference of Microsoft.Web.Administration.dll into your solution.

  4. Add FTP site into IIS.

    ServerManager sm = new ServerManager();
    Site ftpsite = sm.Sites.Add("FtpSite", "ftp", ":21:", "C:\\ftproot\\");
    ftpsite.ServerAutoStart = true;

    ConfigurationElement ssl = ftpsite.GetChildElement("ftpServer").GetChildElement("security").GetChildElement("ssl");
    ssl.SetAttributeValue("controlChannelPolicy", "SslAllow");
    ssl.SetAttributeValue("dataChannelPolicy", "SslAllow");

    ConfigurationElement auth = ftpsite.GetChildElement("ftpServer").GetChildElement("security").GetChildElement("authentication").GetChildElement("basicAuthentication");
    auth.SetAttributeValue("enabled", true);

    sm.CommitChanges();

  5. Add user to FTP site.

    ServerManager sm = new ServerManager();
    Configuration config = sm.GetApplicationHostConfiguration();
    ConfigurationSection authSection = config.GetSection("system.ftpServer/security/authorization", "FtpSite");
    ConfigurationElementCollection authCollection = authSection.GetCollection();
    authCollection.Clear();

    ConfigurationElement addElement = authCollection.CreateElement("add");
    addElement.SetAttributeValue("accessType", "Allow");
    addElement.SetAttributeValue("users", "myftpuser");
    addElement.SetAttributeValue("permissions", "Read, Write");
    authCollection.Add(addElement);

    sm.CommitChanges();

Finally, package and deploy your solution into Windows Azure and you have a FTP enabled site on the cloud.

Note:

  1. The files you send in will not be persisted. Those files may be deleted if the role is being recycled. So, it’s advised to store the files you need in some persisted location.
  2. FTP port may be different depending on which port you choose to use.
  3. If your FTP user is not the same as your Remote Desktop user, you may need to create the user first.
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