Using an FTP client to upload files

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Many hosting companies do not allow their users shell/local access to their files, so users wishing to send (upload) new files to their hosting space must make use of a File Transfer Program. FTP clients allow users to upload files that have been locally edited to a server. There are a variety clients available and this chart details the strengths of numerous programs, many of which are open source and free.

If you are using Firefox, we suggest FireFTP as a useful add-on. FireFTP will be used for this tutorial.

You may want enable the display of hidden files so that you don't lose your .htaccess file (on a Linux box) when you upload.

Using Windows Explorer[edit]

If you have a Windows Operating System, you can use Windows Explorer to connect to FTP.

Launching Windows Explorer[edit]

The images that follow are taken from Windows Vista but the process remains identical.

There are many ways to launch Windows Explorer. You can either just open a folder or My Computer, or you can Hold down the Windows Key and press R. Type explorer.exe and click Run.


Connecting to FTP[edit]

To connect to your FTP server, you will require the login details provided to you by your host or administrator. In the address bar, type replacing the username, password and with your own credentials. If you are running Windows Vista, you may be required to double click on the address bar to enable you to enter text. Press Enter on your keyboard once you have filled out the details, and Windows Explorer will connect to your FTP server.

If you entered the credentials incorrectly, you will receive an error similar to:


If this is the case, re-enter your user details in the boxes provided and try again.

You should see a page listing all the folders/files on your server similar to the following image:


For security reasons, files/folders on the example screenshot has been removed

Transferring Files[edit]

The benefit of using Windows Explorer as your FTP application is that you will most likely be familiar with how transferring files works. The interface is the same as if you were copying/moving to another folder on your computer.

The trick is to work out which folder you will upload the files into. In most cases, you will need to upload into a folder called public_html, htdocs or www. Check this with your host or administrator.

To upload a file, simply drag the file from its original folder into the window that is connected to your FTP server. Here's an example:


Closing Your FTP Connection[edit]

To close your FTP connection, simply close the Windows Explorer window. Press the red X on the top right hand corner of the window, as in this screenshot:


Using FireFTP[edit]

FireFTP is a great tool for FTP transfer if you use Mozilla FireFox.

Launching FireFTP[edit]

To begin a file transfer, open FireFox then click Tools >> FireFTP. FireFTP will open in a new tab.


Configure Your FTP Details[edit]

The first time you connect to an FTP server, configure the FTP client to connect to the server. Obtain the details from your host or administrator.