FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. As the name suggests, FTP is used to transfer files between computers on a network. You can use FTP to exchange files between your computer and your web space using one of the following methods:
Graphical FTP clients simplify file transfers by allowing you to drag and drop file icons between windows. The following are the most popular FTP clients:
- To connect to an FTP server, open a File Explorer or Windows Explorer window, click the “This PC” or “Computer”. Right-click in the right pane and select “Add a network location”.
- Go through the wizard that appears and select “Choose a custom network location”.
- In the “Specify the location of your website” dialog, enter the address of the ftp server in the form ftp://yourdomain.tld
- If you don’t have a username and password, you can often check the “Log on anonymously” box and sign into the server without a username and password. This gives you limited access to the server.
- If you do have a username and password, enter your username here. The first time you connect to the FTP server, you’ll be prompted to enter your password.
- You’ll now be asked to enter a name for the network location. Enter whatever name you like–the FTP site will appear with this name so you can easily remember which is which.
- When you’re done, the FTP site will appear under “Network locations” in the This PC or Computer pane. Download files and upload files by copying and pasting them to and from this folder.
Mac OS X
- From your Mac desktop or Finder, hit Command+K to pull up the “Connect to Server” window (alternatively, you can access this from the “Go” menu)
- Enter the address of the ftp server in the following format: ftp://ftp.yourdomain.tld
- Optional: If you want to add a bookmark to ‘Favorite Servers’ for repeated connections, click on the + icon next to the “Server Address” field
- Click on “Connect” and wait to connect to the remote server
- Enter the FTP username and password, or connect as “Guest” if the server allows guest connections and click on “Connect” again
Web Browsers can also be used to connect to FTP addresses exactly as you would to connect to HTTP addresses. Using a web browser for FTP transfers makes it easy for you to browse large directories and read and retrieve files. Your web browser will also take care of some of the details of connecting to a site and transferring files. While this method is convenient, web browsers are often slower and less reliable and have fewer features than dedicated FTP clients.
To use your web browser to connect to an FTP site such as
ftp.yourdomain.tld, where you normally enter a URL, enter: