What The Heck Is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In layman's terms, it means a way of tranferring files between computers on the internet. So if your computer is connected to the internet, you can use FTP to transfer files to and fro any computer in the world that is running an FTP server.
How much does it cost?
There is a free version for personal use. The free edition will do most of what you want, but if later you feel you need more functions, you can pay to register the pro version.
Okay now I know what FTP means, but where do I get it from?
Visit http://www.download.com and search for "ws ftp". This will return a bunch of results. If you're using win 95/98, get the 32-bit version. Download and save this program where you can find it later. There are many ftp programs out there, but ws ftp is the one I use.
After downloading, install it like you would any other program. Unless you have a reason to change the installation directory, let it be installed in the default directory. This directory is usually C:\Program Files\WS_FTP.
OK I'm done installing it, how do I set it up?
Look at the screenshot below. That is what you get when you run the program.
In the "Session Properties" window, click on the button "New".
- In the "Profile Name" window type a name you would like to call this connection. For example, let's say you want to connect to Microsoft's ftp server and get files from it, you can type Microsoft as the Profile Name. Basically, you can type anything into this window.
- In the "Host Name/Address" window, type in the address of the ftp server that you want to get files from. Such addresses are usually numbers like 188.8.131.528, but it can also be an address like joanserv.dyndns.org. You must already have the address of the ftp server u want, so type it in here.
- In the "User ID" window, type in the login name of the server you're trying to connect to. Usually when people advertise their ftp server, they give you at least three things, one of them is the login name, so type it in here.
- In the "Password" window, type in the password.
Sometimes you see something like l/p in ftp ads. l/p means login and password. So if you see l/p: joeblow, it means the login is joeblow and the password is also joeblow.
- One last thing you might see is "Port". Port 21 is the default for ftp servers. So if someone doesn't give you a port number, it means the server is on port 21. But if port is given different from 21, you must type it in, or else you won't be able to connect. To enter the port, look at the picture below.
Click on the Advance tab as shown, then in the "Remote Port" window type in the port of the server you want to connect to. If you don't what what port to put here, ask the person operating the ftp server you want to connect to.
- Click on OK.
If you entered all the info above correctly and the ftp server is running, you should be connected.
Ok I'm connected. Now how do I get files to download to my computer?
When connected, you get a screen like this
The picture shows two windows. The window on the left is your local computer, and the one on the right is showing the files and folders on the remote computer. You can browse both windows just as you would normally browse on your computer. So you can double click on the yellow folders to open them up until you get to where the file you want to download is located.
At the top of each window is a small curved green arrow. This arrow is used to go one step back. So use it whenever u need to go back a step.
When you get to the file you want to download, Click on the file once, then click on the arrow button as shown below
You can also begin download by double clicking on the file you want.
This is really easy, but i still don't know how to send a file from my computer...
The process is the same. Just browse in the left window to the file you want to send, then double click on it. Usually you can only upload to designated folders on a remote ftp server. So make sure you have opened the folder in the right window, before you try to upload. If you don't, you will get an error.
But wait a minute, what is all that ASCII, Binary, and Auto stuff at the bottom?
That's an important question. When you transfer files through ftp, you can send such files either as text or as binary. Binaries are pictures, movies, programs, etc. So make sure that you select the right radio button according to the type of file you want to transfer.
So what happens if I transfer a binary file as ASCII?
Let's say you download a picture and you had your ftp set at ASCII, when you try to view that picture, all you will see is gibberish, just a bunch of random text. Of course you don't want that, so select the right mode for each file. The "Auto" option can detect the type of file you are transferring and apply either ASCII or binary mode. But don't rely on this.
Thank you for this tutorial. Is there anything else I should know?
That is pretty much it! Easy huh... There are other things you could play with to suit you, but that is entirely up to you. If you want to do this, click on the "Options" button and see what is available.
Send me a feedback on this tutorial, so I can improve on it. Use the form below. Thanks.