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Description

When I mount a LAN or WAN FTP share in Finder under High Sierra (10.13.6), it lists no files or folders.

Steps:

  1. Connect to the server via Finder's "Connect to Server..." command ("Go" menu or ⌘K)
  2. Enter the share URL as (e.g.) 'ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/'.
  3. Enter the credentials or sign in as a guest user (as appropriate)

Result

The connection is successful (no error). A finder window opens up for the share, but the file display is blank.

Additional info

Packets captured by Wireshark show the correct username and password are being sent, and are accepted, and that my computer receives the file list.

Other FTP clients have no issues connecting or listing files from any of the servers I've tested.

Question

How can I figure out why Finder doesn't display the FTP directory listing?

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2 Answers 2

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If you haven't waited more than ten minutes for the files to appear, you haven't waited long enough. Leave the blank Finder window open, and go make yourself a nice cup of hot coffee/tea/chocolate. When you come back, the files should be there. Should you need to open a subfolder, be prepared for the possibility of another long wait.

If ten minutes sounds like an excessively long time, well, yes it is. While it's cool that Finder natively supports FTP connections, it is in practice an exceptionally poor FTP client.


P.S. I chose ten minutes somewhat arbitrarily as a maximum time limit. It's not a magic number.

P.P.S. To be fair to Apple, not all servers are this slow. But it's not unusual at all.

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  • Are you sure the problem is with the quality of Apple's ftp client, rather than the response time of popular servers? May 5 at 22:16
  • @reallydismayed Dedicated FTP clients (Transmit, Fetch, etc) don't seem to have any problems with the same servers. So, while it may have something to do with the severs themselves, other clients seem to be able to handle it in a way that Finder absolutely cannot. May 5 at 23:04
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I tried the example you gave: ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/

I connected as a guest user. The delay was 12 seconds before seeing the directory listing. Perhaps the problem lies with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration server? When I connect to my own ftp servers the response is immediate.

I am using MacOS Catalina (version 10.15).

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