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Introduction to FTP

By Candice Humbley
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a standard application protocol that uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocol to transfer files from one computer to another.

FTP is a very common process today. FTP is commonly used to transfer web pages from the creator's computer to the server where the web site is situated. Also FTP is used to download programs and files to your computer from a server.

How do I use FTP?

To use FTP you will need to install FTP software on your computer. There are many freely available FTP programs on the Internet such as, FTP explorer ( and Smart FTP (

How do I connect with FTP?

Follow the steps below to connect to a server, to upload files using FTP Explorer:

1) Open FTP Explorer.

2) Click on the connect button on the toolbar or select connect from the Tools menu.

3) In the Profile Name text, enter a name to give your FTP connection.

4) In the Host Address text box enter the address of the server you are connecting to (this can either be the DNS entry or the IP Address).

5) Enter the Port number that the server accepts FTP connections on (the default port for FTP is 21).

6) Tick the Use PASV option, if your computer is behind a firewall, which does not allow external FTP connections.

7) Tick the Use Firewall option if your computer is located behind a firewall.

8) Either enter a user name for the FTP login or tick the Anonymous option (the anonymous option will only work if the server is set up to allow anonymous FTP connections - if this is selected go to step 10).

9) Enter the user's password in the Password text box.

10) In the Initial path text box, enter the path on the server, where you want your connection to start at - this is optional.

11) In the Attempts text box enter the number of times to try the FTP connection if fails, you will need to have at least 1 in this text box.

12) In the Download path you can specify the path on your computer where to save the files downloaded from the server - this is optional, you can specify this later if you like.

13) To establish the connection with the server click on the Connect button.

How do I upload files using FTP?

Once you have established your connection with the server the next step is to upload your files to the server. The following describes how to do this:

1) Go to the path on the server where you want to upload your files to.

2) In the Tools menu click on the Upload button.

3) Select the file or files that you want to upload (to select more than one file hold down the CTRL key).

NOTE: You can also upload files by dragging and dropping them to the directory/folder on the server.

4) Click on the Open button. Your file will now be uploaded to the server. (You will see this uploading process in the dialog box.)

How do I download files using FTP?

You can also use FTP to download files to your computer from a server. The following describes how to download a file.

1) Make sure you are connected to the server.

2) Go to the file that you want to download.

3) Right click on the file and select Download To..

4) Select the path on your computer where you want the file to be saved to.

5) The file will now be downloaded to your computer. (You will see this downloading process happening in the dialog box.)

How do I end my connection?

You can end the connection by simply clicking on the Disconnect button on the tool bar or by clicking on Disconnect from the Tools menu.

About the Author
Submitted by Candice Humbley
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