[svlug] Debugging curlftpfs

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Sat Mar 12 20:00:19 PST 2016

Does anyone here use curlftpfs, and have some idea how to debug
ftp problems when they arise?

I maintain websites for several nonprofit organizations. These are
invariably hosted on cut-rate web hosts that don't offer ssh, only ftp.
(Why hosting services want to encourage their clients to connect
with an insecure, unencrypted protocol is anybody's guess, but many
of them do.)

I've been using curlftpfs for this, so that I can do things like
use rsync to check for files that have been modified by someone else
before I start making my own changes. I use an fstab entry that
looks something like this:

curlftpfs#username:password at example.com/ /localmountpoint fuse rw,allow_other,noauto,user 0 0

This has been working okay for about a year, but one of the hosting
services just switched to a new server, and on the new server, while
I can still mount and read files, if I try to upload a file (copy it
to the mounted curlftpfs), I get:

cp: failed to close '/localmountpoint/filename': Input/output error

This is unfortunately not a useful error message that tells me
anything about what actually went wrong. Curiously, it does usually
create the file, and occasionally there's even something in it,
though more often it's empty.

I've tried adding "ssl,no_verify_hostname,no_verify_peer" to the
options but it made no difference: I could mount and read but not write.

I can use normal /usr/bin/ftp to connect to the server and upload
files that way with no problem -- but the thought of trying to
maintain a website that way makes me want to give up computers
entirely (or at least give up volunteering).

Any idea how to find out what curlftpfs is trying to do compared to
regular ftp, or what might have changed on the web host? Or some
other reasonable way of maintaining a large website on a host that
offers only ftp?

Thanks for any suggestions!


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