Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

How to create and manage FTP accounts

File Transfer Protocol explained

Article comments

FTP is one of the many three letter acronyms you are likely to come across in everyday computing life. It stands for file transfer protocol, and is a fairly geeky term that describes the technology used for copying a file from one computer to another via the internet. Using FTP software, you can upload a file to another computer, then download that file to another machine.

If you've not come across the term FTP before, your first reaction might be: 'But that's what email is for!' And you'd be correct. Email is widely used to transfer files between people. FTP doesn't duplicate this function; it offers an entirely different set of functions.

Anyone who manages a website will probably use an FTP server to upload files from their local PC to the machine that holds and provides user access to the website. They might use dedicated software for this task or, as we demonstrate in our walkthrough, perform the transfer through a browser.

Related Articles on Techworld

I frequently used FTP when I was writing Brilliant Laptops. Rather than email across completed text and images, I uploaded them directly to the publisher's computer system using FTP. This made it easy for several people to access the files at once.

FTP can be useful if an ISP or email client restricts the size of files that can be transferred. A client of mine has a 10MB limit on individual emails, for example, so I use Dropbox when I need to send larger files. Dropbox isn't an FTP server or an email client, but it's a great alternative for sharing files. Another great alternative is YouSendIt.

Step by step

In the following workshop, we'll show you how to set up and use an FTP server using FireFTP, a free plug-in for the Firefox web browser.

Step 1. There are several ways that you can upload a file via FTP. Many free and paid-for dedicated client programs are available, or you can simply use your web browser. Here, we'll use the free FireFTP Firefox plug-in to transfer files. Click Add-ons in Firefox's Tools menu, then search for FireFTP.

Step 2. Select FireFTP in the list of available add-ons and click the 'Add to Firefox' button. When the installation options box appears, click Install. Installation takes only a few seconds, after which you'll be prompted to restart the web browser to complete the changes. Click 'Restart Firefox'.

Step 3. Open Firefox and click Tools, FireFTP to launch the add-on. A file browser window will appear within the browser, displaying files stored on your PC in the left panel. The right panel will be empty for now, and will become populated with files when you connect to an FTP site.

Step 4. Next, you'll need to create a FireFTP account. Click 'Create an account...' at the top-left of the window. FireFTP requires you to enter some information so it knows how to log into your account. First give the account a memorable name, then add the host, login and password details.

Step 5. You can leave this field blank if you'd prefer to enter your password each time you enter an FTP site, rather than have FireFTP log you in automatically. For FTP sites that don't require a password, use the Anonymous login option. The account name will now appear at the top-left of the page. Click it and choose Connect.

Step 6. You'll notice that both panels in the FireFTP file browser window will now be populated with files. The left panel represents local files, the right displays those stored on the FTP server. You can browse through and open files on either side simply by double-clicking them.


Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *