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I can access a website from any network at http://www.example.com

Though, to edit the files, I have to connect to their VPN server and then connect to another server (via FTP)

How is it possible that anyone can access the website in a browser, but can only edit the files behind a VPN?

What are the advantages of having a setup like this? (as opposed to just having an sftp connection to the web servers document root)

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2 Answers 2

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In terms of VPN vs. SFTP? So many possibilities, among them:

  • Their firewall prohibits SSH access on the public face in general, and the VPN provides more control
  • They don't feel like setting up SFTP, and the infrastructure is already in place to give you VPN access
  • The web servers are just web servers, and the file servers live somewhere deeper inside the DMZ; giving SFTP access on the web servers won't give you anything useful, and the file servers can only be reached through the VPN

Really, it depends on how they have their network infrastructure set up. You can't say much more than that without giving us more information, but there's nothing wrong or weird with what they're doing, at least from what you've described.

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Because they maintain a public presence via their web site but don't want to expose the file system of the web server to the internet?

Which is a pretty standard way of doing it.

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