I would like to follow the rules of serverfault, and I think I am good at that, but I am somewhat confused as to why this question was marked as off topic:

Does SFTP server (via SSH server) on Linux support file transfer resume?

The only thing I can think of is that perhaps one or more of the mods don't consider SFTP a technology to be used in a professional environment?

  • 3
    The question was closed by five high-rep users, no moderators were involved in the closing of that question. Perhaps some of those users who did will explain their close-votes.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Dec 17, 2012 at 18:39
  • I just edited your question to something that I believe retains your question, and stays on topic for ServerFault. Check it out: serverfault.com/q/458163/9770
    – Wesley
    Dec 17, 2012 at 19:25

3 Answers 3


Since I was a member of that close-vote tribunal, I'll offer up my own thoughts. I voted to close as off-topic because:

I have some friends that are non technical that live overseas.

This tweaked my radar right out of the gate. ServerFault's FAQ restricts the site to IT professionals who are working on projects that are within a professional environment or for professional purposes. That doesn't necessarily mean "Work in exchange for cash" either. It has a finer meaning of "not tied together with chewing gum and bailing wire." However, if you can edit out any reference to a home-use scenario, and the scenario can can still stand on its own as potentially professional, we'll probably answer it.

We have something of a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy about home stuff. However, beware that home scenarios often come with odd caveats and restrictions that will inevitably require someone to either drop the subject or confess that it's a hackneyed home-use situation. Witness this question that smelled funny to begin with, but then in the comments was eventually found to be a non-professional that was in need of educating (which is fine, it's just not exactly what we're here for).

They need to be able to download a very large file (10+ gigs) but their internet connection is spotty at best.

This is the core of your scenario, and could probably be asked without reference to home-use or non-technical friends. I'll see what I can do about editing it to be on-topic.

FYI, you might try stating your scenario and then asking "How can I offer file transfer resume support?" rather than scoping people to SFTP. Unless, of course, you have a technical reason to go with SFTP. Just an idea.

As they are non technical, they have no familiarity with rsync

This isn't necessarily the kiss of death for a question. Many of us deal with non technical users, clients and customers for whom we need to set up complex systems that they will interact with on a push-button basis. However...

plus I don't know how to get rsync working on Windows.

This one grated on me ever so slightly. It pretty much sealed my close vote. In my opinion, the general consensus of ServerFault is: Not knowing is forgivable. Not learning is unforgivable. You don't know how to get it set up on Windows? Learn (as long as that's the best option in your scenario).

My question is: does Linux's SFTP via SSH support file transfer resume? I have heard that both the client and server need to support file resume for it to work. I'm guessing it will, because rsync over ssh does, and that's just on the client side.

And the final nails have been driven into the question's coffin. It's one thing to ask for guidance, but this is bordering on a RTFineM question. It would be better to show that you've at least put some research effort into things by saying "I've read the man pages but can't discern if resume is supported." Even better: "I've tried to get it to work by doing thus-and-such, but the results were this-and-that. What could I be doing wrong and how can I troubleshoot this?"

Never fear! I'll go about trying to edit your question to into an on-topic state and see where it goes. EDIT: And I took your question and heavily edited it. See what you think.

  • 2
    Yay. Go Wesley! Go Wesley! Go Wesley! Weeessslllyyyy! It fills my heart to see edits over closes, even if they do come the wrong way around. Dec 17, 2012 at 19:56
  • Thank for you the very detailed response! I appreciate it, and thanks to this response I learned a lot about what is expected here on Server Fault. This in particular: "plus I don't know how to get rsync working on Windows" I wanted to respond to. It wasn't necessarily a matter of me learning how to do or not do something, as I am always interested in learning! I should have added more clarity to that statement, the real issue is that even if I learned how to use rsync, trying to communicate how to get that set up with an end user who does not speak english would be a difficult task.
    – cat pants
    Dec 17, 2012 at 22:33
  • The end users are in this case non-technical, despite being in a professional environment. For example, I deal with customers every day in a professional setting that have no idea what rsync is, and have ZERO interest in learning. Ie, they want to stick with something they are familiar with, such as FTP, and will in fact get quite angry when another option is put forward. I'm sure you must have experienced similar things! :)
    – cat pants
    Dec 17, 2012 at 22:36
  • Finally, I like the edited question. I will refer back to this when asking future questions here. Thank you for your time and help!
    – cat pants
    Dec 17, 2012 at 22:37
  • One final clarification. I know in this instance I presented the scenario as "friends overseas". I used that scenario because that was the one currently fresh in my mind, as they had contacted me quite recently. But this issue has indeed cropped up for me a number of times in a professional environment as well. I'm sure you have end users who use FTP.
    – cat pants
    Dec 17, 2012 at 22:40
  • 1
    @catpants It all sounds good to me - just know that ServerFault can be touchy about certain things, plus I think at this point in history we're heading towards a showdown over topics like this to figure out if we should be more liberal.
    – Wesley
    Dec 18, 2012 at 0:38
  • @WesleyDavid: Whatever happens people need to be consistent. Right now some people will edit & reopen some questions with obvious home use and will inconsistently just vote-to-close similar ones like this.
    – user9517
    Dec 19, 2012 at 8:10

Setting up a server to distribute files to your friends who live overseas does not strike me as something that we do in a professional environment. Note that our FAQ specifically excludes anything in a home setting. This is why I voted to close the question.

For such questions in a home setting, Super User is often the best SE site to ask the question.


Most people don't listen when I invite them to do so, and the fact that you did wins you major brownie points in my book.

In my comment on the question I noted that I felt the question was borderline.

The question is On Topic because:

  • It's related to an activity often performed in a professional setting (file distribution)
  • It is generally a reasonable question to ask: "Does X support Y?"

The question is Off Topic because:

  • You're talking about "your friends"
    This smells of "home use", but alone is not enough to doom it.
  • It doesn't show much research/troubleshooting on your part
    ("I'm Guessing" is bad. "I checked X, Y, and Z but didn't get an answer, so I tried A, B, and C with these results..." is great. Something anywhere in the middle is acceptable.)
  • Though not explicitly requesting a product recommendation, it smelled like one to me.
    (in fairness it could also be client configuration).

Basically my tally was 3-to-2 in favor of leaving it closed until it could get edited into better shape. Our resident kitty has taken a swing at it, and the result is if not perfect at least good enough to keep open :-)

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