Posts Tagged "FTP clients"

How to Upload Files to Your Web Space

Without content, your web space is useless. But how do you upload that content?

File Managers

The most common solution provided for uploading files to your web space is an online file manager, integrated into a control panel such as cPanel. Using this couldn’t be simpler. You just enter the file manager from your web browser and navigate the on-screen directory tree to your desired location, before you use the point-and-click graphical interface to upload your files.

Unfortunately, there are still web hosts that don’t provide online file managers—and even if you have access to one, they’re not the fastest way to upload heavier amounts of data. As a matter of fact, many have fairly small file size limits.

FTP Clients

So you need to use FTP, the standardized File Transfer Protocol, a facet of the Internet’s fundamental technological layer that was created for exactly this purpose. You have several options here.

Most modern web browsers can connect to an FTP server, as long as you identify the FTP protocol in the URL bar by replacing the standard http: string with an ftp: string. For example, tells your browser to connect to the server associated with the domain name using the FTP protocol.

However, relatively few browsers actually support uploading files out of the box. Most of the major web browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, only support viewing and downloading files. Even among the few that include upload functionality—for instance, Internet Explorer—it’s still relatively simple, and not suited for tasks more complex than uploading one or two files at a time. For heavier work, you’ll need to use a standalone FTP client.

FTP clients are software built exclusively for handling the uploading and downloading of files from FTP servers. There’s no shortage of quality options for you to choose from. Every major operating system has a variety of perfectly good FTP clients. So don’t worry about the machine you’re using—whether it’s Windows-based, Linux-based, a Mac, or running something more obscure, you’re going to be fine. You can even find and download FTP clients that will run on iOS or Android.

GUI-based tools like FileZilla are generally the easiest to learn. Command-line FTP clients can be incredibly powerful, but they’re also confusing for anyone who’s not used to working with command-line tools; they’re only recommended for experts.

You start out by logging into the FTP server using the username, password, and FTP host name you’ve been given by your host. User interface varies from client to client—but most modern ones take after the operating system GUIs, and you can get used to them in minutes. Navigation works in much the same way as in your file browser; many clients even support drag and drop or cut and paste directly from that. It’s quick, easy, and painless.

To close, here’s a quick list of some of the better free graphical FTP clients available on Windows and Mac OS X. This should help you to get started. Any of these will support all the features you technically need; which one you use depends on the graphical interface you prefer or additional features you want.