I spend time on a variety of blogging and webmaster related forums and quite often, when someone switches from a free blogging platform such as blogger to hosting their own website they are confused by … well, a lot of things since everything is new to them, but FTP seems to one major source of confusion.
If you are new to using an FTP program in order to upload files to your server I would suggest that you use the free program FileZilla. While it’s true that some hosting programs have created a simplified version of FTP that is very easy to use directly from your hosting account (I believe) most do not provide this service and you must use external FTP programs to move large files.
You might be asking yourself “why would you need an FTP program in the first place?” Well, if you are a blogger you might want to find new themes or plugins to use on your blog. Most themes and plugins have a number of files packaged together in a folder. While it’s true that you could upload the zipped file into your WordPress -> Content -> themes or Plugin folder on your server using the c-panel File manage it is often much faster and easier to use an external FTP program.
As I said I would recommend download the easy to use FileZilla as your FTP progam.
Go to the site and click on “Download FileZilla Client – all programs” button.
Once you do that you’ll be presented with a few choices. If you are using Windows as your computers operating system you might want to download the setup.exe file.
Once you’ve download the program to your computer you’ll need to unzip the file if you download the zipped version or if you download the exe version simply double click on the file once you’ve located it.
You will probably use this program quite often once you get used to it, so you might want to select the option to have a desktop icon during the installation process.
Once the program is installed you can click on the icon to open the program and set it up so that it will connect with your web hosting account.
You may have to refer back to your hosting account or perhaps the email that your web host sent you when they first set up your account. They should have provided some information as to what you should use as a FTP address for your domain.
The FTP address will be something like ftp.mydomain.com
To set up your FileZilla so that it connects with your hosting server you’ll have to click on FILE -> Site Manager when the FileZilla program is open.
Click on New Site on the left side of the box that pops up.
Then begin filling out the requested information on the right:
Host – ftp.mydomain.com (your FTP address)
LogonType – select Normal
Username – fill in the user name that you use to log on to your hosting account
Password – fill in the password you use when you log on to your hosting account
Click on the OK button to save your information.
Now, you should have the main FileZilla program open in front of you.
To connect to your hosting site you should be able to click on the first icon to the left. This will open the Site Manager again and from there you can click on the new site that you just created. This might literally be named “new site”. You might want to take the time to give it a real name, perhaps your domain name.
Click Connect at the bottom of the box. If all goes well Filezilla will begin to connect to your hosting account.
Now to make things really simple you might want to go into the advanced tab in the Site Manager.
There you can specify a location on your computer that will always open up and show the files within that area when you use FileZilla. I usually select my computers desktop as that is where I download new themes and plugins for my blogs.
You can also specify the default remote directory that should always open when FileZilla connects with your hosting server. You usually want to be in your Public_Html directory on your host. You might try simply typing in – /public_html/ and see if that works the next time you connect. Your web host might have sent you information about which directory you should connect to via your FTP program. The path /public_html/ which works for me may not be the correct one that you should use on your hosting account.
If you have any trouble connecting or staying connected you might want to go back to site manager and look at the properties that you’ve set up for your FTP domain. Some web hosts prefer that we use passive transfer settings when we connect to their servers. To change from the default transfer mode simply click on the tab that says Transfer Settings and select Passive, then OK. Now try connecting and see if that works better for you.
Once you are connected, all your server files are on the right. You can get to the directory on your server that you need to upload files to simply by double clicking the folders until you’ve opened the one you want.
If you want to upload a new theme for your wordpress blog you’d find the Wp-Content directory for that blog, then double click Wp-content to open that folder, then double click on the Themes folder.
Once that’s open you can locate the new theme on your computer that you’d like to upload to your hosting account, right click while holding your mouse over the file and the files will begin to transfer over to the folder on your hosting account that you’ve selected.
This also works in reverse.
If you wanted to modify a file on your server you first might want to save the unmodified version onto your desktop just in case something goes wrong. Call it insurance! Click on file or folder in your hosting account and select download. The file will be transfered to whatever file or folder is open on the “my computer” side of filezilla so make sure you have the right folder open! Again – the desktop is always good for downloads. You can move files to the area you really want to save them to once they are on your computer.
There, now you know something about FTP if you were a total FTP virgin before reading this.
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