FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is a fast and secure (especially if you are using SFTP) way to transfer files between your computer and the server.
What is an FTP? According to Wikipedia,
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files between a client and server on a computer network.
In this FileZilla Tutorial, we will see how to manage/transfer files between your computer and the server using Filezilla which is a popular and widely-used open source FTP client.
Installing the Filezilla FTP Client
Download the Filezilla client, not the server. Installing Filezilla is straightforward, like you do with other software installation processes.
The next step is to configure the FTP client so that it can be used to communicate with our server.
If you don’t have the FTP account’s user name and password, follow the steps below (this is what happens to me most of the time)
- Go to Files > FTP Accounts in cPanel and you will see the list of accounts that have already been created.
- Go to change password and enter a new password. Note down that password.
There are two ways to configure an FTP client. One is to manually enter the details and the other one is to download the configuration file from Hostgator and import it into the Filezilla client.
Click on the ‘Configure FTP Client’ option in the FTP account you are going to use. You will find the manual settings to use if you are configuring the client manually.
#1 – Using Configuration File
Download the Filezilla FTP configuration file, either FTP or SFTP. It will be an XML file. Next, run the Filezilla program. Go to File > Import and select the configuration file that was downloaded and press OK.
Then go in to File > Site manager. You will see a new site is added with the information you imported. Click on it and change the logon type to ‘normal’ and give the user name, password and click OK.
#2 – Manual Configuration
Go to File > Site manager. Create a new site and give it a name. Use the manual settings data you found in the cPanel to fill up the fields.
- FTP Username: User name of your FTP account
- FTP Server: Hostname of your FTP Account
- FTP & explicit FTPS port: Use the port number provided here
Select the logon type as ‘normal’ and give the user name, password. Then click OK.
Establishing a Connection
To establish a connection with the server, go to File > Site Manager. On the left-hand side, you will see the new entry that we imported. Select it and connect. If you get a message about an unknown certificate, then press OK and proceed.
You will see the status of the process in the top window. Once the connection is established, there will be a status update as “Directory listing of “/” successful”.
Transferring Files Between Computer and Server
In the middle, you will see two columns as Local site, which is on the left and Remote site on the right. As the names suggest, you will see the files on your computer on the left and the files in your server on the right.
When you want to copy files/folders from computer to server, first, open the location of the server where the files/folders need to be copied. Then, select the files/folders from the left window and drag and drop in to the server. You can copy from server to computer using the same steps the other way around.
Once the copying has started, you can see the status of the process in the bottom. It will show what are the queued files and how many of them have been transferred successfully and what are the failed ones. If you see any failed transfers, then wait until the queue is finished and select all failed ones and re-queue them (select all the files and right click > re-queue).
Knowing how to manage files using FTP is useful, especially, when you upload themes and plugins to your site. It is the not the easiest but the most reliable ways around.