What is a FTP Client?

FTPing files to webspace

As a website or blog owner, knowing how to use a FTP client (FTP software) is a useful skill. Instead of relying on your WYSWYG (What you see what you get) software or the interface of your blogging software to upload files, images and other content to your webspace you can use a FTP client and be in full control.

What Does FTP Stand For?

FTP is the acronym for the File Transfer Protocol, a protocol for transfering files.

What is FTP Software Used For?

FTP software (or FTP client) is used to copy files from one computer to another over the Internet.

Your FTP software connects to another computer connected to the Internet using a file host name, user name and password when we are talking about using it to upload (or download) files and content for your website or blog.

FTP Security

Regular FTP transfers are not secure. The data sent over the Internet is not encrypted therefore the file, user name, password and commands sent can be read/seen by a packet sniffer (capture) piece of software surfing the net to find such information.

For better security use a FTPS connection.

Using a FTP Client

First of all, you have to download a FTP program. FTP clients can either be free or a paid version. Comparison of FTP Client Software at Wikipedia has a list sorted by free, freeware, freeware and payware, payware and operating system.

You will need the FTP information from your web hosting firm. Try and get the secure FTP information.

Once you have installed the FTP client on your computer you need to set it up for the site you wish to FTP the files to.

Start the FTP client and enter:

  1. A profile name.

    The profile name can be anything you want. Make it something that will make sense to you later if you will be using the FTP software for more than one site.

  2. The host name.

    The host name will be given to you by your web hosting compay. It can be an IP address (123.123.123.123) or your domain name with ftp in front (ftp.mydomain.com).

  3. Your FTP user name.

    Depending on how your web hosting handles FTP, you could have been automatically assigned a FTP user name or you may have to create a FTP account yourself.

  4. Your FTP password.

    For security reasons, this should be different from your web hosting account login password. If your web hosting company has setup the FTP account with the same password as your main login, change it to something else. Use PCTools Secure Password Generator to create a secure password. Make sure you record it somewhere for safekeeping!

    Also for security reasons, do not save the password to the software. If you do, anyone that gains access to your computer can upload/download or otherwise mess up your site. Don’t worry, you will soon remember the password to enter each time you use the FTP client.

  5. Location of files on your computer.

    To make things easier each time you use the FTP client, enter the path on your computer to the folder that contains your website or blog’s files.

  6. Location of the folder on the web server.

    Like the location of the files on your computer, if you enter the path to the correct location on the web server for your site you won’t have to navigate the path next time you use the FTP client.

Using a FTP client to transfer your website or blog files is a skill each site owner should learn. You can also use your FTP client software to backup your site. You have a backup, right?

More Information on FTP

File Transfer Protocol – technical information about the FTP Protocol.

FTPS – information on the FTPS Protocol

How an FTP Site Works

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10 Responses to “ What is a FTP Client? ”

  1. -10 says:

    Hey,

    Good information here. Just wondering which FTP client that particular guide is written for, as many clients don’t have profile names etc (I use Linux command line FTP).

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  7. marketing list says:

    I’ve been using filezilla for years and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a free ftp program.

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