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Looking for mp3 players? Need a place to share your music. If you compare prices on some of the top MP3 players, you will notice that they are very inexpensive. Price comparison can be very beneficial to you.

Napster Alternatives

Good old FTP's

Long before services such as Napster existed, people used to locate MP3's on FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers. An FTP server is similar to an HTTP server (the type used to dish out regular web pages) except that they specialise in transfering files while HTTP servers specialise in transfering HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) documents. It was not all that popular though, since it was hard to find the songs you wanted, demanded some technical skills and it was always hard to get into the popular servers that were constantely overloaded. Napster on the other hand flourished at an astonishing speed since it allowed average computer users to achieve the same results without any effort. If however you're willing to lean and work a little you may find that FTP servers suit your needs (for instance it is common to find entire albums on FTP's, while the same is rare on Napster).

The following steps describe the method for finding and downloading a file from an FTP server.

1. Find the FTP Site

First of all, you must find the FTP server that has the file you are looking for. To do so, visit an FTP search site (similar to HTTP search sites such as Altavista, Google, Lycos, MSN Search, etc...) except that they look through FTP sites. Such sites include:

Enter the title of the song you are looking for, and select "Search". An example of a result returned by the search "Shaggy", at the Lycos FTP Search, is shown below. This information will be necessary in order to connect to the FTP site in step 2.

SHAGGY feat JANET-Luv Me.mp3
Reliability: File Size: 5.47 Date: 2036-05-31T08:59:00+00

2. Connect to the FTP Site

You may connect to an FTP site using your internet browser (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator) or by using an FTP Client (such as CuteFTP). We strongly suggest you use an FTP Client as you chance of success will greatly improve (since the FTP Client is set to retry many times and won't crash when the FTP site is unavailable).

  • If you choose to use an internet broser, simply click on the link (ex: ftp://mp3:download@ ). Be warned however, that your chance of success is very low and that your browser may very well end up crashing (especially if you use Internet Explorer).
  • If you choose to use an FTP Client, you will have to install one before continuing. For this example, we will be using Cute FTP 3.5, available from Globalscape Software.
  • CuteFTP 3.5 Quick Connect Dialog Box
  1. Launch Cute FTP (if it isin't already open)
  2. Click on the Quick Connect Button
  3. Enter the address of the FTP (for this example it is
  4. In the advanced tab, enter the port of the FTP server (in this example it would be port 450)
  5. Enter the user name and password in the initial tab (in the current example, the user name is "mp3" and the password is "download").
  6. Click connect, and hope for the best.

If you are successful in accessing the FTP, proceed to step 3. If not, return to your search page and attempt connecting to another FTP.

3. Transfer the MP3

Cute FTP 3.5 Main Window

Once you are connected, you may navigate the site using the right pane (in cute ftp) much like you would do so with the folders on your computer. Locate the file you want and drag it into the left pane (in cute ftp) and the download should commence.

Some sites however, require you to upload something before you can download. This is the way for the system operator to get something in return for his efforts. The ratio varies but is usually something like 1:7 (which would mean that for every byte you upload you can download 7). If this is the case, simply upload one of the songs you currently have on your hard drive (by dragging it from the left pane to the right pane - into the ftp server's uploads directory), and once you have amassed enough credits (which you can determine by looking at the FTP messages being returned (at the top of the Cute FTP window) you can proceed to downloading the song you wanted.

* * *

This method of getting MP3's is quite complicated and is not recommended for those with little computer experience. It can however prove to be a way to find rare MP3's as well as entire collections. It was also the pioneer in data transfer, before the arrival of Napster and its clones.

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