How To Upload Files Using FTP

FTP is a common and convenient way for transferring files. Although there are other methods, yet download and upload files using FTP make the process quicker and easier. You might interest in reading how to install WordPress using FTP.

What Is FTP

FTP is the abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. It is a network protocol which commonly used for transferring files between a server and client on the network.

While some connection through FTP may require user authentication, but you may also connect anonymously if the server allows it. Additionally, FTP also supports secure transmission with SSL/TLS (FTPS) or SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Setting Up FTP Client

Download FTP Client

To get started, first you need to download and install any FTP client on your computer. FTP client is a software that allows you to connect and transfer files between server and computer through FTP protocol. There are many FTP client you can use and here are some of the most popular clients:

For this tutorial, I will use FileZilla as FTP client. It is 100% free and released under the GPL (General Public License). Still, you are free to choose any software you prefer since the basic concepts are quite similar.

Setting Up FTP Client

Assume that you have installed FileZilla on your computer, next open it and create an FTP connection. To do this, you need to have an FTP login credential or use anonymous connection if your server allows it. Otherwise, please contact your web hosting company for support and get your credential.

Now, let's setup FTP connection by going to File » Site Manager. Please take a look at the image below for reference.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Site Manager in the FileZilla software.

Next, after Site Manager popup window appears, click on the 'New Site' and then provide a title for your website as a label. This is for future use where you can simply click on this label for easier reconnection purpose.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Creating New Site and provide website title as a label for reconnection purpose.

After that, fill up information in the General Section accordingly. Please take a look at the below image.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Fill up the information in the General Section accordingly.
  • Host: This is usually your domain name or your server IP address.
  • Protocol: You can choose FTP or SFTP if your server supports it.
  • Encryption: Encryption type which will be used during file transfer.
  • User: This is for your FTP username. It may or may not same as your cPanel username.
  • Password: This is for your FTP password. It may or may not same as your cPanel password.

After you fill in the General Section, please click on the 'Connect' button to continue. FileZilla will now save your website configuration and create a new FTP connection to your website.

Certificate

When the first time you connect to your website using FTP, you may be asked to validate the server certificate. Simply check the box of 'Always trust certificate for future sessions' and click 'OK' to continue.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
The certificate that may appear for the first time connection.

Download And Upload Files Using FTP

By clicking the 'OK' button, FileZilla will attempt to login to your website and create a connection. But if this is no longer your first connection, you can simply reconnect by clicking Server » Reconnect. Otherwise, you can also reconnect by clicking Bookmarks » Label that you set during the configuration.

Once connection established, you will see the list of files and folders on your website on the right side under the ‘Remote site’ column. And on the left side, you will see the list of files and folders on your computer under the ‘Local site’ column. Please take a look at the image below.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Local site and Remote site column in the FileZilla application.

Next, to start uploading, browse your Remote site on the right side to choose your upload destination. Then, browse your Local site on the left side to select which files and folders you wish to upload. After that, right click on any of your selection and click on the 'Upload' to start uploading.

In this example, we will upload new-file.php located in the Desktop and upload it to the public_html which is the root of your website. Please refer to the image below.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Uploading files and folders from the server to the computer.

In like manner, you can also download files and folder from your website to your computer. Simply browse your Local site on the left side to choose your download destination.

Next, browse your Remote site on the right to select which files and folder you wish to download. Then, right click on any of your selection and click on 'Download' to start downloading.

How To Upload Files Using FTP
Downloading files and folders from the server to the computer.

Additional Notes

You can use the above method to create a local backup copy for your website. In which, you can easily revert any changes you made after certain WordPress, themes, or plugins update. This is extremely useful if you don't have any staging feature on your hosting plan.

Nevertheless, I would like to remind you that certain files and folders need to be in their specific location in order for WordPress to works. This basically means you cannot upload a file anywhere and you need to know the right location.

For instance, if you want to upload a new plugin, then you must upload it to the plugins folder. And of course, it must not in the state of compressed file(.zip, .rar, etc). If this is the case, you must extract it before or after uploading process for the plugin to work.

Conclusion

Obviously, you can use any method you like, but download and upload files using FTP definitely make your tasks quicker and easier. Furthermore, most of the FTP applications available are freeware and practically easy to use. Still, whatever the method you prefer, the outcome will remain the same.

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