Quantcast How to set up FTP to connect to website servers? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
03-02-2009, 02:40 AM
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If you can use Windows or Mac OS X, you can use FTP. Setting up an e-mail account is harder.


What is FTP? How to Use FTP? Why Use FTP?

FTP is a "file transfer protocol". As the name suggests, it's a way to transfer files online. And similar to how most business check email, by using a dedicated email program, FTP is generally a task that uses a special program. In other words, not your web browser (Internet Explorer, for example) -- or the "Internet icon" as some people will say. There are any number of FTP clients out there, including both freeware ones, and commercial ones.

For Windows:
  • WinSCP, freeware
  • Filezilla, freeware -- passwords not secure/encrypted when saved
  • CoffeeCup Free FTP, freeware -- PASV only, so not good to connect to some servers (Windows IIS for example)
For Max OS X:
  • Filezilla, freeware -- passwords not secure/encrypted when saved
All FTP clients are relatively the same to setup.

You enter a few essential bits of data to connect to FTP:
  • server address, either name (ftp.servername.com) or IP (192.168.1.0)
  • username
  • password
  • sometimes servers require passive (PASV) mode be used, sometimes active mode is required
And then you connect, and you can drag and drop files back and forth in some sort of Windows-like GUI. It's more or less common sense.


Quick Guide on How to Use FTP with WinSCP:

Use the portable version that simply needs to be unzipped. I store all of my portable programs under C:\Portable\programname (If you really insist on using the WinSCP installer, do the custom install, disabling most of the "typical options" it wants to install, such as shell extensions and icons all over your menus and desktops. And set it to use Explorer GUI mode.)

When WinSCP starts, select FTP mode from the dropdown, and enter your IP address or hostname, username, and password. Then connect/login to the server.

winscp-newlogin.jpg

After you've logged in, you'll see this window, where you can transfer files. Left side is your computer, right side is the server. Just drag and drop (and wait).

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If you get an error trying to login, and you know the address/username/password information is all correct, then it may be an issue with the connection mode: passive mode FTP vs active mode FTP. Enable/disable passive mode when needed.

Checked/enabled = passive mode.
Unchecked/disable = active mode.

winscp-loggedin.jpg

If this is an FTP site that you'll use over and over again, you can "store a session" (save the login detail) for future reference. Then you'll just have double-click on the saved session, and only re-enter your password*.

* Note that saving passwords in FTP software is not suggested. As such, several FTP programs don't even allow the option of saving it. There is malware in the wild that scans computers for saved FTP details, and then uses it to hijack servers. Filezilla, for example, stores passwords "in the clear" (unencrypted) in plain-text files found in hidden files on your home/office computer. And many sites/servers have been harmed due to details harvested from infected computers.


Final Notes

This page used to have a somewhat comprehensive guide on using WS_FTP, but WinSCP and Filezilla are faster (and therefore better). The WinSCP guide above replaced the WS_FTP guide. The screen shots from the older How to Use FTP with WS_FTP guide is still attached below, should you want to see an example of what it looks like to setup WS_FTP.

If you have any questions about Filezilla, WinSCP, WS_FTP, or FTP in general, then post a reply here.


Attached Images
File Type: png ftp2.png (4.1 KB, 8 downloads)
File Type: png ftp4.png (15.8 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp5.png (18.6 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp6.png (17.9 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp7.png (18.8 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp8.png (107.4 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp9.png (96.3 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp10.png (4.9 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp11.png (10.6 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: png ftp12.png (15.7 KB, 6 downloads)

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Last edited by lordsmurf; 07-16-2012 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Added WinSCP notes, new screen shots 7/2012. -LS
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Someday, 12:01 PM
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  #2  
03-02-2009, 10:34 AM
Superstar Superstar is offline
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Quick question: when I download WINSCP, do I download the 4.2.1 Beta, or the 4.1.8?
Also, do I download just the installation package, or do I download the installation package, portable executable, and the source code?
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03-02-2009, 10:48 AM
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Two general computer tips, when using freeware, that will answer your questions:
  1. Given the choice between a "stable" version, and a "beta" version, you almost always want the stable/non-beta version.
  2. Only programmers need the source code, or bundles that include source code. The rest of us mere mortals simply need the executable installers.

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  #4  
03-02-2009, 10:59 AM
Superstar Superstar is offline
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Ok, I'll just do the installation package and version 4.1.8
-- merged --
Done. PM sent.
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  #5  
03-13-2009, 01:40 PM
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JonathanEntertainment JonathanEntertainment is offline
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I have used FlashFXP and still continue to use the software -- simple to use and can be used for a variety of platforms by IP and the ftp servers. It's nice and you can program many sites to connect to.
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  #6  
07-16-2012, 12:11 PM
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Added new screen shots and notes on passive mode for WinSCP.

-- Checked/enabled = passive mode.
-- Unchecked/disable = active mode.

Also attaching a backup copy of WinSCP portable to this post.


Attached Files
File Type: zip WinSCP-portable-v438.zip (2.55 MB, 1 downloads)

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  #7  
01-25-2018, 12:14 PM
reddygs reddygs is offline
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This post is very old. However no changes from the instruction point of view or usage.However, winscp FileZilla software versions updated.
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The following users thank reddygs for this useful post: lordsmurf (02-03-2018)
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