@paulbblc - hey I know you shot me a PM, but I like discussing this stuff in public so the lurkers can hear.
I'll keep it short and succinct, hopefully.
Primer: MS networking (Samba/SMB) is a broadcast protocol, you don't need DNS in order for a client to find a server. It's avery chatty -- when machines come on the wire they litterally scream their presence to the rest of the network. FTP, however, is a strict TCP/IP networking - it requires a client and machine knowing how to find each other, which is usually done via DNS on a "real" network.
So I'll assume you're on a NAT (fake, 10.* or 192.168.*) network at home, sitting behind a little linksys or whatever. You don't have an internal DNS to do host mapping for you, so you have to do it on either machine directly.
1) set the IP address of server to be something static, do not use DHCP. For mine I use 192.168.1.100 because it's easy to remember. (I have a little home laptop acting as a server underneath my stereo system - runs samba, proftpd, etc.)
2) on the client laptop, add an entry to your local hosts file to find it. Under linux this would be the file /etc/hosts
, under Windows it's c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
. On Windows the file may not exist and you have to create it. Inside this file, you want to add one line:
...where 'myserver' is of course whatever you want to call it.
At this point, you should be able to FTP to the machine now as a name from your laptop -- you could also just use that IP address. In order to access it from outside your home, you'll have to go into your router and set up "Port Forwarding" to forward ports 20 and 21 (tcp/udp) to IP 192.168.1.100, e.g.
(sorry if this was too brief, tried to skip the details)