First time configuration
If you connect to the Internet through a hardware router/firewall you will almost certainly have to configure your router in order to get HFS to work properly. The critical task is called "Port fowarding".
You can get help about this at Portforward, and on the HFS Forum.
Many firewalls also require that you give HFS permission to send and receive files.
This section explains what you have to do to establish a working, fully-secured and protected, HFS server. These tasks include:
- Starting and testing.
- Adding folders for upload and download.
- Determining addresses.
- Setting passwords.
- Defining user accounts.
- Saving a configuration.
Of course the "Address" in the above illustration is not the address you actually see on your server.
Now make sure that your server is visible on the Internet, by using "Self Test". Click the option and follow the onscreen instructions. A successful test, popsup the following:
"Self Test" is an amazingly powerful HFS feature. It not only checks Internet visibilty, it also attempts to automatically repair many common connection problems.
In general terms, if "Self Test" is successful you can be almost certain that the server is visible on the Internet, and is ready to accept and process upload and download requests. Equally, however, if it fails there is little point in continuing configuration until you have solved this connection problem. (Most often failure to forward port correctly.)
You'll see that the first Address displayed is now replaced by your normal IP address. Click "IP address" to see the various address-handling options available. But do not change it right now.
You can check your normal IP address at, for example: IP address or Audit PC.
Adding an upload folder
Next, add an upload folder so that your friends can easily send you files. This must be a real folder (see HFS: Glossary). To do this:
- Create a new folder on your hard disk eg. C:\Uploads, by using Window's Explorer.
- If you have "Add to HFS" in the Windows Explorer context menu, simply right-click on the folder and click this option. Then click "Real Folder" in the resultant dialog box.
- The alternative is to drag&drop the folder "Uploads" to the left pane of the server window named "Virtual File System".
- Make sure that "Uploads" is selected (ie. it has the focus). Use Upload →Upload for accounts →Anyone so that any of your friends can access this folder.
- You can password-protect "Uploads", but most users don't do this so that all their friends can upload files without any restrictions. (See "Password protection", below.)
- You may care to type (or paste) http://localhost/ into your Internet browser to check what your site's users will see when they access your site. Alternatively, use the Browser function in HFS.
Adding a download folder
Next, add a download directory so that your friends can easily download files from you. This can be a virtual folder (see HFS: Glossary), but for first-time use, it's probably easier to use another real folder. To do this:
- Create a new folder on your hard disk eg. "C:\Downloads", by using Window's Explorer. Copy some test files there, of the type you imagine your friends will want. MP3s, for example.
- If you have "Add to HFS" in the context menu, simply right-click on the folder and click this option. Then click "Real Folder" in the resultant dialog box.
- The alternative is to drag&drop the folder "Downloads" to the left pane of the server window named "Virtual File System".
- You probably should password-protect "Download", but, assuming your system is reasonably secure (ie. you have at least an updated firewall), it's safe to leave it without any restrictions for a few minutes while you complete configuration. (See "Password protection", below.)
- You can type (or paste) http://localhost/ into your browser to check what your site's users see when they access your site. Alternatively, use the HFS Browser function.
The HFS Virtual File System now looks like this:
http://localhost/ now displays this:
Addresses to give out
Your friends can now download any files you add to the folder C:\Downloads on your hard disk. You can either give them the address of your site,
or of the item (the folder "Downloads").
If you use folder names that contain spaces, the item address may include % signs and some unwanted digits. In order to make it more readable, you can use the HFS "URL Encoding" facility (Main menu in "Expert mode"). Uncheck "Encode spaces" to remove the % signs which conventionally represent spaces, and the superfluous digits. The item then becomes a little more clear and readable:
Many HFS users like to give their site address to their buddies while they are using a Chat or Messenger application. In these circumstances, you may find some difficulties if you attempt to send the more readable version. (The Messenger browser, for example, normally just freezes when it encounters a non-encoded space.) One solution is to just right-click on the address (or file, or folder, or item) in HFS, and use "Copy URL". You can then simply paste the address into your chat browser.
A neat solution that avoids any problems with this, is to only create folders with names (character strings) that do not contain spaces!
For example "Downloads", "Mother", "Music", "Catherine",etc.
You can protect folders, files, other items, or your complete site, by assigning passwords. This is not the same as setting-up user accounts. (See below.)
To password protect the folder "Downloads", for example, click the folder to select it, then right-click and choose "Set user/pass". Then complete the dialog box: File:081.png
To remove the protection, click "Reset user/pass".
Passwords and folder restrictions
Some users get confused about the use of folder restrictions, and the "username/password" facilities, in HFS.
It is perfectly possible to have a highly secure HFS server without using the "username/password" facilities at all.
The best practice is to just protect your HFS folders. This a key difference between HFS and conventional file servers. Many have used conventional servers and discovered that you have to have an account and login before you can do anything.
HFS just isn't like that.
On this site for example, "rojetto" (whoever he is) has no account. But he can access the folders "Uploads and "4rojetto". He can't access "Downloads" (because he doesn't know the password). You can see that "Downloads" has a padlock icon, to show that it's locked.
You can also password-protect root.
Now "rojetto" (who still doesn't know the password) can see the folders, but can't access any of them.
For extra security however, you can set-up user accounts.
Use the facilities in "Restrict access" to setup user accounts.
Assuming you haven't setup any accounts before, select the "Downloads" folder, and click "New account" to display:
Fill-in the "Username" and "Password" and click Ok.
Click "Restrict access" again to check that the acount has been established correctly.
If you click "All existing accounts", all users with an account (including the one you have just setup) must enter their username and password to access the "Downloads" folder.
If you click "No account", you effectively remove all username/password protection for the item.
Saving your configuration
If you have followed the process outlined above, you now have a simple, very easy-to-use HFS server that is fully-secured and protected.
The final task is to preserve your work by using "Save file system".
You are prompted for a filename to use. Many users find it convenient to use an incremental naming system, eg. "01.vfs", "02.vfs", "03.vfs", etc. But, of course, you are free to adopt whatever naming system you prefer.
Warning Do not attempt to change the default file extension;always use "vfs".
See Refinements for for more step-by-step guidance about some of the other features included in HFS