Using FTP

What is FTP?

In this article we are going to discuss using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) which sounds big and scary but is really just like using Windows Explorer except with your server.

There are thousands of FTP programs out there, from Firefox addons like FireFTP, services in cPanel and Plesk, to full blown desktop programs like FileZilla. They all basically do the same thing: connect from your computer to your server so that you can transfer files easily.

Personally I would recommend FireFTP or Filezilla as I tend to find the Cpanel/Plesk ones a bit slow and unwieldy. In this run through, Im going to be using FireFTP (sorry Chrome and IE users, theres really no decent add on for FTP usage in these browsers

Installing FireFTP

Go to the Tools menu and click Add ons (if you cant see your tools menu press Alt to bring it up), in the Add on page use the search in the top right and search for FireFTP. Once found press install and follow the instructions. Once installed to start the add on, click Tools, Web Developer, FireFTP.

So now you need to set up your account. This is the hardest bit of using an FTP program, but it isn’t really that hard as you will have all the information you need in the email/s that your hosting company sent to you, so go dig that out now.

Click Create an account, and a pop up box will appear.

Entering your Details - Using FTP

In the Host field type in the FTP address your hosting company gave you, it will be something like

Under the ID section your log-in and password is your cPanel or Plesk user-name and password.

If you like, change the Account name field to something more readable.

Click OK

Now if the name in the Account field appears in the drop-down box, click connect to connect to your server, otherwise select it from the drop-down box and click connect.

If everything has been set up correctly the window on the right side of the screen will fill up with files.

connected to host - using FTP

Transferring files is just as easy, go to the the file on your computer (left hand of the screen) and then go to where you want the file to go (right hand side). Then simply select the file/s on and press enter (or right click and Upload).

Note: Your files will usually be in the Public HTML folder. If your looking for your theme files, they will be public_html/wp-content/themes/

Once your done, click Disconnect.

File Permissions

As well as transferring files, an FTP program allows you to change file permissions. What are these? Well basically its whether you can Read the file, Write to the file or Read/Write (both).

To do this, find the file you want to change, Right click it and select Properties. Here you can either select/deselect the boxes or type in the code in the Manual box. See here for a list of all permissions

Right clicking to edit permissions - using FTP

properties box - using FTP

Note: Unless you have to, its best to leave file permissions alone.

Using other programs such as FileZilla, is pretty much the same method, inserting your log-in details and transferring files.

And there you have it, how to use FTP in a quick hassle free way.