Remote login, all FTP transfer speed limited to your slow connection speed

This was something that was really noticeable in the days of dial-up modems, but even more recently I noticed that the speed of an FTP job seemed to be limited by the speed of my own remote connection. That would make sense if I was downloading data or work from the company system to my hard drive, but I noticed it also happened if I wanted to transfer data from one company server to another, both of said servers being local to each other.

Why does the speed of a remote connection affect the transfer speed, when the remote computer is only being used to initiate and monitor the transfer?

If I understand your description correctly, you’re not actually connecting the two remote machines, you’re just setting up 2 connections from your local machine to the other ones and transferring data over those connections. AFAIK the FTP protocol does not support initiating connections between servers.

A way to get around the issue is to log into one of the servers using SSH or some other scheme and then start an FTP client on the server machine directly.

This doesnt make sense. Server to server “FTP” can be done with FXP, but not vanilla FTP. Most likely you were downloading it locally and then sending it up again.

If you were using, say, a shell account and ftp you wouldnt have this limitation. Also there’s a chance that the server you thought was local was actually offsite and connected via dialup too.

It sounds to me like that was what he was saying.

But if that was the case, then the FTP program itself was sending an absurd amount of data over the line. The more likely explanation is that the OP is using some kind of FTP program that abstracts away server-to-server connections using a server-to-client-to-server system (I know there are a few of those).