File Transfer Using FTP

MBARI provides an anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server to facilitate the transfer of data and other research related information between MBARI staff members, their colleagues, and their collaborators. Any use of MBARI’s FTP site or server for anything other than MBARI sanctioned projects and research is prohibited. All access and transfers are logged.

Server Name, User ID, and Password

  • Server name –
  • User ID – anonymous or ftp
  • Password – Please use your full email address (i.e.

Directory Structure

Once connected to the FTP server, you will see two directories (folders):

  • /incoming – The /incoming directory is the ONLY place where you may upload files using anonymous FTP. You may create sub-directories in /incoming if you have a lot of files to upload, to keep them together. Please note that you cannot see the contents of /incoming including those items that you upload. You may not download anything from /incoming.
  • /pub – The /pub directory tree is the location for files that may be downloaded using anonymous ftp. Attempting to retrieve a file from any directory outside /pub will result in an error being returned by the server.

Accessing the Server

You may access the server in a number of different ways:

  • Web browsers provide easy access for file retrieval. Pointing your web browser to (either by clicking a link, copying and pasting the link into the address field in the browser window, or typing it into the address field) will show the list of directories within the FTP tree. You can navigate the tree and drag items from the window onto your desktop, or download by clicking the files. NOTE: Not all browsers have the same level of support for FTP and may behave differently. Also, another application may be configured as a “protocol helper” and take over the FTP connection automatically from the browser. If you are not familiar with your browser’s file transfer capabilities, experiment or consult your browser’s online help feature. Additionally, Internet Explorer for Windows also supports uploading of files via FTP, but we recommend the use of a dedicated FTP client which has better error detection and recovery.
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) FTP clients provide easy drag-and-drop capabilities for uploading and downloading files via FTP. There are many to choose from, and features vary from one to another. Some recommended free options are FileZilla or Cyberduck for Windows and OS X, or Free FTP for Windows.
  • Text-based (command line) FTP client tools are included with practically every operating system, and may be preferred by those comfortable with command line tools. See your computer support resources if you need help with command line FTP.

Automatic Purge

  • PLEASE NOTE: The FTP directories are automatically purged every Sunday morning at 2:00AM. Any files in the /pub directory tree which are over 15 days old will be automatically deleted. Any files in the /incoming directory which are over 7 days old will also be deleted. If you are delivering a file to MBARI, be sure to notify your contact after your upload is complete so they may collect the file in a timely manner.

FTP links (URLs)

Clickable links to documents or folders on FTP servers can be placed in email messages or web pages for easy access to such files. These links look like web addresses except the http prefix is replaced by ftp. An example of an FTP link for MBARI’s server would be, where folder and file will be replaced with the particular folder(s) and file names pointing to the linked file. If your email client or browser is correctly configured, clicking on the link will start up the file transfer (if a single file is specified) or open up either a browser or GUI based FTP client window showing the FTP directory contents (if an FTP folder is specified).