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How to FTP a webcam to your site

Although video streaming is the most dynamic way to display camera pictures on your website, and the Camsecure Streaming Service is ideal for this, you may only want to upload a camera picture on your website periodically, say every minute or so. For this you can use the FTP method for image transfer.

What is FTP for Webcam Images?

FTP is an Internet (or more properly a TCP/IP) communications protocol for file transfer which can also allow you to upload static images to your website via the Internet. FTP is composed of two parts; an FTP client and an FTP server.

The FTP client is the software you execute on your local machine to send or receive files e.g. your webcam program or it may be the FTP client inside your IP camera. The FTP server is software which executes on a server machine on which the files are to be saved or retrieved. Most (if not all) machines which provide Web serving capability also operate as FTP servers to allow you to upload your web pages. Web pages are usually composed of HTML source files and images (either JPEG or GIF format).

What Information do I need to know to use FTP?

To be able to FTP (send) files to your FTP server and Web server, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should provide you with four pieces of information. These are:

The name of the FTP server - Each FTP server on the Internet executes on a separate machine. Machine's on the Internet have both DNS names (eg., ...) and TCP/IP addresses (eg.,, ...). To be able to FTP a file to an FTP server, you must know the name or TCP/IP address of the machine hosting the FTP service.

The user id to login to the FTP server - FTP servers are protected to allow only authorized users the ability to save and retrieve files from the server. To gain access to an FTP server, the administrator of the FTP server (usually the ISP) will provide a userid used to access the FTP server.

The password to login to the FTP server - To gain access to the FTP server, the password for the userid supplied by the FTP server administrator must also be known.

The directory in which to save files - When connected to an FTP server, the server will allow upload of files only to particular directories located on the server. The FTP server may place you in such a directory when you connect or you may have to change to a different directory. This will be explained by the FTP administrator (usually the ISP). Once you have this information it is a simple matter tp program your software or IP camera to FTP upload images to your website server.

Webcam Programs and FTP

Most Webcam programs have the ability to act as an FTP client. This allows them to create JPEG image files and FTP those files to the FTP server automatically. Since the FTP server is usually the same machine as the Web server, FTPing an image file to the FTP server allows a new image to be placed on the Web server and is then immediately viewable by browsers on the web. Since each user's configuration including FTP server name, user id, password and directory in which to save the image files varies,the Webcam Software must be configured with these unique details before use. The Webcam program will remember the details and need only be configured once.

The Webcam program will have an FTP configuration section where you will have to insert the above information along with a time interval so the program knows how often to upload the image and usually a save count which denotes how many images to save....e.g. you may want to have the latest image always update, but also keep the last 5 images on the server aswell. Active Webcam has a superb FTP and Email image transfer facility and is very easy to set up by following the on screen instructions on the configuration pages of the software.

By having the program replace the image using the same name each time, it is easy to use simple code to update the picture to the latest image.

IP Camera's and FTP

Although IP cameras are normally used for direct video streaming of live video, almost all IP Cameras and IP Video Webservers also have an FTP client built in, aswell as an Email facility too. To program your IP camera for FTP and or Email you simply go to the appropriate section in the cameras Administration or Configuration menu and enter the information listed above. IP cameras and IP Video webservers can simultaneously stream live video, email images and FTP images without even needing a PC as the electronics for connecting them to the internet are all inside the camera or webserver.

However you need to be careful and be sure what you want your IP camera to do before you purchase it. This is because some IP cameras only FTP images in a date and time stamped format. This is great if you are using it for security as all the files for each day are stored in folders by date so you can easily look back later. But this is no good for a static FTP update to a website as the coding to look for the images will be complex. Therefore you need to ensure that the IP camera also has an image rename facility too so it can be programmed to update the image with the same name each time so it replaces the old one making it easy to display on your site. The Camsecure FTP IP Webcam has firmware installed that specifically provides image rename and overwrite FTP upload.

FTP Setup Screen

Settings for FTP - Same Image Name For Websites

FTP Settings for Image Rename

Settings For FTP Same Image Name For Websites

FTP Settings for image overwrite

Triggering the FTP upload

The FTP upload of the images can be triggered either at regular intervals of time or when the camera detects movement. Webcam Software usually has both options but some IP cameras have motion detection triggering only. Camsecure 600 series have both timed image upload and motion detection triggering and are ideal for both security and website use with FTP. There will probably be a separate section to set up the motion detection sensitivity and usually a check box to enable or disable motion detection or timed upload options in your webcam software or IP Camera. Both have their uses, motion detection is ideal for instances where you only need to know when something is happening and FTP at timed intervals could be used to monitor the weather on a weather site as changes in weather happen fairly slowly.

FTP does not provide streaming live video like other methods and for the best in low cost real time video and audio streaming the Camsecure streaming service is ideal. FTP is however very usefull for dial up or low bandwidth connections where a streaming view is not required e.g. as a weather cam or viewing progress on a construction site. There is no port configuration to carry out as all data is going from the PC direct to the FTP server. To start from scratch, FTP is a good method to get you started and to help you begin to understand how to get your camera images off site and on to the internet.

Displaying your FTP Images on your website

Camsecure provide "registered users" free HTML code and scripts which you can copy straight into your web pages to get you started with the various methods of FTP and streaming video. Most webcam software that includes an FTP client allow you to upload an image with the same name, overwriting the old one so its easy to display an updating image using our code samples or the sample code usually supplied with good webcam software.

Camsecure provide a free software CD full of usefull FREE programs and shareware with every webcam bought from us to help you get started with your streaming or FTP webcam project.

We hope this information is of some use to you, please contact us if you have any other queries or possible applications we may be able to help you, then to access them from the Internet you type in the same Internet IP address for each camera, followed by the different port number for each camera.

When all this is done and working, all will be well - until your ISP changes your Dynamic IP address. You can soon get it going again by simply logging on here and finding out the new public address - but that will get to be a real pain after a while. Two solutions to this, either pay your ISP for a static IP, OR use a FREE DNS forwarding service. These are great as you get a name instead of an IP to remember and the name never changes, you program the account information into the router then when ever the router detects an IP change, it updates the name.

For more information on this feature see the Dynamic DNS Information section and check out if your having trouble setting up your router.

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