Helping You to Grasp the Basics of FTP

Helping You to Grasp the Basics of FTP

Anyone who owns a website, blog or needs to upload/download files from the Internet is likely to be familiar with the term FTP, although not knowing what it actually means. An acronym for the phrase ‘File Transfer Protocol’, FTP is meant to facilitate shifting, editing, renaming and so on of files between servers and computers that share the same network.
While it is possible to use FTP to download files within the browser, a safer and more secure way of using this protocol entails registering with an FTP client. By using the service of an FTP client, you will not just enjoy the privilege of uploading files in a safe environment but will also be better poised to use other functionalities that are crucial to website development. 

Why Do You Require FTP?

Being a protocol for file transfer, the purpose of FTP is to transfer files from the hard drive of a computer to that of the hosting server and vice versa. 

The reason as to why FTP is virtually regarded as being indispensable for website owners is because it is capable of transferring a large number of files irrespective of their size from one location to another within a relatively short duration. With FTP at your fingertips, all your web pages including graphics, video content, pdf files, image galleries and so on can be easily transferred without a hitch.
For example, assume for a moment that you have created a personal travel blog on Wordpress and have used a number of graphics, images, widgets, and plug-ins to improve its appearance and functionality. As compared to simple transfer program which would have rejected bigger files, an FTP client would upload the entire package, thus ensuring that all information is safely transported to give the desired impression. 

Which FTP Clients Are Most Popular?

Owing to the easy availability of a number of FTP clients, both free and paid, you are bound to be spoiled for choice. In such a situation, the onus is on you to be aware of what each client offers to be able to make an informed decision. Discussed as follows are some popular FTP clients for assisting you in your search:

FileZilla - One of the most popular FTP clients, it is also the easiest as also the most universal since it can be used by Windows, Mac and Linux users. Ever since its launch in 2001, FileZilla continues to enjoy the status of most preferred FTP client owing to being free of charge, reliable and fast. What renders this FTP client truly attractive is its long list of features and cross-platform support, not to mention the fact that it continues to evolve even now.

Cyberduck – An open-source FTP client, it is regarded as being the best option for Mac OS X. Like FileZilla, this is also free of charge and comes with a user-friendly interface that enables super-fast browsing and transfer of files. Added advantages are its seamless integration with several cloud storage providers and popular text editors that facilitate remote editing.

FireFTP – Being an extension of Firefox, this FTP client takes pride in being one of the simplest as far as uploading or downloading of files is concerned. Since it is integrated into the browser, the need for separate installation is omitted and some of its highlights include filtering, searching, dragging and dropping of files.

Transmit – Innovative and state-of-the-art, this is the most sought-after FTP client for Mac users that comes for a price of about $30. In lieu of the fee, users enjoy the reliability, speed and an intuitive and stylish interface to work on. Added advantages include remote file editing, synchronization of folders and transfer of files from one server to another.

WinSCP – SCP is an acronym for Secure Copy and for this FTP client it implies making available a simple, reliable and user-friendly kit for users of Windows OS. It comes with an inbuilt text editor and provides all essential features while steering clear of the frills.

Setting Up and Using FTP

To set up an account with your chosen FTP client, you will need to – 

Create an account on your host server

If required, you can set up file permission in your cPanel

Install the FTP client on your computer/laptop

Configure an FTP account on the chosen FTP client

For connecting with the FTP, the three main requisites are –
Address/Name of the hosting server

  • Username
  • Password

Among these, the username and password are same as those which you will have created while setting up a new account with an FTP client. Likewise name/address of the hosting server can be checked in cPanel and can be identified owing to it using the prefix ftp rather than www.
Logging in will reveal the interface of the FTP client wherein one side would display the files of your website and the other side would list out the files on your computer. Henceforth it is just a question of dragging and dropping files from one part to the other as per the requirement.

Final Word

Mastering FTP can save you plenty of trouble while launching your website on to the Internet as it would enable you to upload whatever you want in form of graphics or text. When you choose an FTP client that suits your purpose in terms of features, the job is already half accomplished.



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