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How To Use FTP To Upload Web Pages To Web Server

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How To Use FTP?

What is FTP?

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the simplest and most secure way to exchange files over the Internet.

Although you can upload web pages via online control panel, most Webmasters choose FTP to upload or download files. It's faster and more reliable.

FrontPage and Dreamwaver have built-in FTP features. But they're very buggy. (Please do NOT use them to transfer web pages to our server:-). You should use standalone FTP applications such as WS_FTP. The LE version is free to download.

(Update: IPswitch has stopped distrubuting the free version of WS_FTP. Luckily there're many free FTP software on the Internet. Go to and seach for "FTP".)

How to use FTP?

It's not as hard as it sounds to use FTP. Just follow these simple steps.

I take WS_FTP as example here. Any other FTP software should work similarly.

Step 1 - Connect to the Internet.

Step 2 - Launch WS_FTP LE.

Step 3 - Connect to your web site:

When WS_FTP LE first launches, it opens the Session Properties window.  Here is where you select which FTP site you want to connect to for this session.

From this Session Properties window, click on the "New" button.

All fields should go blank. Now you can create a new FTP site "Profile". The following information is what you'll need to connect to your Website:

Profile Name
Anything You Want
Host Name/Address
The FTP Address
User ID
Your User Name
Your Password

Check 'Save Password' so that you don't have to re-enter it every time you want to upload files.

Now click the "Apply" button.  Congratulations, you have successfully created an "FTP Profile" in WS_FTP LE!

Click on the OK button and WS_FTP LE will connect you to your site.

Step 4 - Transfer files

Your screen should now look like this:

How to use FTP to upload files to your web site

The left-hand side is a view of the files on your 'Local System' (your computer). The right-hand side is a view of the files on the 'Remote System' (Your web site server).

To transfer files between the left and right side, highlight a file and click on one of the two arrows located in between the panes.

The default view of your Local System (left pane) is 'C:\Program Files\WS_FTP'. You can move up to 'C:\Program Files' by double-clicking the green up-arrow.  To move up to to 'C:\', double-click the up arrow again. To change to another drive letter, scroll down and double-click on any available drive.

Some Useful FTP Tips

  • Make sure there's index.html file in each and every directory. Otherwise, visitors may have access to all the files in this directory.
  • Unix systems are case sensitive.
  • Unix filenames also may contain almost any type of character, and sometimes this may confuse FTP clients. If you have trouble retrieving or linking to a file, try using wildcards in FTP to delete it, and replace it with a file that doesn't have spaces or other special characters in its name.
  • CGI scripts must have file permissions set to "executable". Otherwise they will not run correctly.
  • You should upload graphic files (such as .jpg or .gif files) in 'Binary' mode with FTP, and HTML or scripts in 'Ascii' mode.

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