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External FTP NAS with the ZyXEL NSA310 Media Storage and a Super Hub

I have a lot of films / music / software / games stored in various places and on various devices in my home. Keeping all this data organised is an absolute nightmare, and with a recent string of disk failures, I’ve also lost quite a lot of it. Following the recent death of an external USB HD I was in the market for a newer model. Looking around it made sense to invest a little more in a NAS to centralise storage on my home network and offer the redundancy of RAID 1 (across two disks, the 4 bay NASs are a tad outside my budget!).

The device I selected is the ZyXEL NSA310, mainly because it was a good price, but also because it has an SMB, FTP and NFS server built in, as well as a decently reviewed web admin panel. Setting it up on my network was incredibly simple. In the box is a setup utility disk that when installed, offers a ‘Quick Start’ wizard to take you through the basic steps to configure the NAS. This utility is Windows only, however it isn’t really required after the intial config.

The NSA310 has a gigabit port in the back so my initial heavy data transfer went quite quickly at around 30 (peaking at 40) Mbps. I then setup the FTP server with a few users to allow external access. This was all completed through the web admin panel (when logged in as the admin user)…

The only complication was to allow external network access to the FTP server was setting up port forwarding on my rubbish Virgin Media Super Hub. Setting up forwarding rules was actually very simple, but that doesn’t stop the Super Hub from being rubbish.

  1. Log into your Hub by IP (probably 192.168.0.1) and enter you login details.
  2. Click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ link at the bottom of the page.
  3. Under the advanced title in the sidebar, click on the Port Forwarding option. This will load the control panel for forwarding.
  4. Now you just need to fill out the fields to create a rule…
  5. Name: You can call your rule anything you like. I called it NAS FTP.
  6. Start Port -> End Port: Enter 20 for the start port and 21 for the end port. These are the two ports FTP most commonly uses.
  7. Protocol: The protocol is TCP.
  8. Local IP Address: This is the IP of NAS on your network, in my case 192.168.0.100.
  9. Click Add, and then log out and you’re finished.

Now you can FTP with the FTP user or admin user you created at your ISP IP and the FTP traffic will automatically be forwarded to your NAS by your router.

UPDATE: I have written a follow up guide for connecting to your NAS using the FileZilla FTP cleint, it is available at, “Remotely connecting to your NAS“.


64 Comments

  • Reply Jonas |

    Hi Joe,
    I was able to complete the FTP connection with your guide. Thank You!
    Now i have due to my ISP i have dynamic IP, so when my router restarts (due to power problems for example) the IP changes. Can i fix this by setting a static or fixed IP on my NAS or router?

    Thanks

    • Reply Joe |

      Hi Jonas,

      Glad to hear the guide helped.

      You would need a static IP on your router from your ISP. Most ISPs will charge you extra for this as essentially it is a business service. It is always worth asking though!

      Joe

  • Reply mircea |

    I configured port forwarding. I can put files from remote computer, but I cannot get files. Why?

    • Reply Joe |

      This will be to do with your firewall. You will need to allow FTP in the output chain. It could also relate to the dynamic ports used by FTP to transfer files. Try opening the port range from 50,000 to 50,100 and see if that helps.

  • Reply ruhul |

    Dear joe,
    quick question ,can i host my website on ZyXEL NSA310.i have statics ip address and domain,so do you think this device will be compatible for that service?

    Regards
    Ruhul

    • Reply Joe |

      Yes it is possible. If you look in the ‘apps’ or advanced features section of the admin panel you can install a web server package. I think you can host WordPress too.

      • Reply mirek |

        Hi

        I cannot find this application for web hosting could you tell me the name of it ?please

  • Reply lee |

    Hi Joe,
    question regarding accessing my NSA325v2 remotely via zyxel’s zcloud app on my iphone.
    I have set up port forwarding to my NAS device on my router as per you article and also reserved an Ip but when I type in the ip address in my app it comes up with the following”error:504 connection failed”
    Any help would be much appreciated as i am useless with computers and netwroking.

    Cheers

    • Reply joe |

      It could potentially be the port it is trying to connect on if the app is not using the standard port 80.

  • Reply oz |

    Hi Joe, great stuff here. Helped me a lot when trying to set up my NSA 310. Quick question for you. I got FTP working and I can login remotely using windows FTP/file zilla or typing the address into the windows bar. However, is this safe to do or should I be using SFTP? How would this work? Do I just need to setup port forwarding for SFTP, just like I did for FTP on my router configuration/admin page? Or do you think FTP would suffice? Greatly appreciate your help. Thanks

    • Reply Joe Gardiner |

      SFTP being over SSH, I’m not sure if you can SSH to your NAS. I’m pretty sure there isn’t an SSH server installed by default. You probably could, however, use FTP(S) which is FTP-ing to an SSL encrypted domain. you’d need to buy an SSL cert or you could use a self-signed one. You’d have to double check that you can use SSL with your NAS.

      It’s worth checking forums for advice on this, as SSL on a low powered single core CPU can be a real drain and it might not be worth the effort.

      • Reply oz |

        Thanks Joe. There is a section in the manual about using FTPES to connect to your nas drive via File Zilla, however I think you need do install certificates and forces HTTPS. I must admit this isn’t an area I am familiar with.

        However, I would like to give users the ability to remote onto my nas drive outside the network to access shared folders etc. I can use FTP, but my concern is that this wont be secure to transfer files to and from my nas drive. Should I be worried? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

  • Reply Armand |

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for this page, extremly handy.
    I currently got stuck with me dad, both having a NSA325 v2 in our homes.

    We wish to synchronize certain directories using the NSA to NSA protocol provided by Zyxel.
    ( To make important documents cross shared in case of a fire. )

    I can not find what port this protocoll is using to connect/synchronize over.
    Do you perhaps have any clue?

    Regards,
    Armand

    • Reply Joe Gardiner |

      Sorry, I’m not sure about this one. I imagine it’s just an rsync on a crontab though.

  • Reply Tauqir |

    Hi Armand,
    I am trying to do exactly as you are. Have you had any luck?
    The rsync option works fine over a local network but not over the internet. Once i have put the ip address of the other NAS in it says unable to connect. I know the address and login are right as i can access it via ftp.
    TIA
    Tauqir

  • Reply ParagonHUN |

    Greetings!

    Thanks a lot for this info, it was very useful!

    I also installed “PHP-MySQL-PHPMyAdmin” package on NSA310S, MySQL can be accessed and managed on the local network by PHPMyAdmin with the local IP address of the NAS. Is it possible to remote access MySQL databases on the NAS? Our company has two sites and I would like to build a database, which can be accessed from anywhere. I couldn’t find any useful information regarding this topic.

    Thanks a lot in advance!
    ParagonHUN

  • Reply AsjeK89 |

    Hi Joe..

    I’ve just so happened to come across your article.. And I’ve tried to follow each step but with no luck.. Grr… Im Tech Savvy but when it comes to port forwarding and such.. It drives me up the wall :(

    I have a Technicolor Gateway TG582n FTTC (PlusNet Fibre Optic)

    I have a Static IP so that issue is solved already :)

    Its when Im trying to enter the details for the port forward.

    None of the input boxes allow me to put in my external IP.

    I have these boxes to put in my information :
    Protocol ->Port Range ->Translate to ->Trigger Protocol ->Trigger Port

    ANY help with this would be hugely appreciated! Its been sending me bonkers for 3 months!!!

    Thanks!!

So, what do you think ?