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File Transfer Protocol Tutorial
Introduction to FTP

An introduction to FTP, a File Transfer Protocol tutorial with an introduction to FTP for students new to File Transfer Protocol and for new FTP users wishing to move files on the Internet or other computer network.

Facts About FTP:

FTP are initials for "File Transfer Protocol". FTP is a protocol for moving files from one computer to another computer over some type of network connection. Students at a university or college will be given specific directions from the school about how to move files from one campus computer to another campus computer. The school network is a ype of "intranet" or a private network. Many pages are closed to the public.
Normally on a network such as the Internet, a "client" computer uses the FTP Client Software program to request a file from another computer (or "server") on the Internet. The file is moved (downloaded) to the requesting computer. If you have an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and an Internet account you may want to "upload" your own Web page files to the Web server at another location. Again, the same FTP Client software program is used to "upload" files as is used to "download" files. Uploading refers to moving files from your own "client" computer to a "server" which is a specialized network computer.
FTP software programs are available as freeware, shareware, or commercial programs that you may purchase over the Internet and download to your own computer. Occasionally, you may find an FTP Client software program "shrink-wrapped" and packaged, on a shelf in a computer software store but more commonly this type of software is purchased online. Once downloaded, you install the software with the directions you obtain from the purchase site. One common FTP program, and the one that I happen to use and to like is an FTP Client software program for PC computers. It is named WS_FTP Pro and is available from Ipswitch.Com You may download a free 30-day evaluation copy of WS_FTP and use it before deciding whether or not to purchase it. The names and links to some other FTP client software programs are listed below, under the heading: Download FTP Software.


Picture of WS_FTP Pro

WS_FTP Pro picture


The left screen is on the client machine (your PC files and drive letters); the right screen is on the server and are the Web site folders the way you set them up by transferring files. The ASCII mode button and the BINARY MODE BUTTON are gone now in this newer version of WS_FTP Pro. Now just the arrows are used to transfer files back and forth between the server and the client machines. In older versions you had to also select the ASCII mode button for transferring the HTML code and the Binary mode button for transferring an image. PDF files also transferred using the Binary mode button.
When you first set up your hosting account, and pay the fee, your hosting company will email you the information needed for setting up the log on for transferring your files by File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Keep your FTP host name, user name and password in a safe place for reference... once you use it a lot, you will memorize the information.
If you are attending a college and need FTP, the college will have their own proprietary tutorial and instructions for your own specific campus. Each student will have their own password and information should not be shared between students.

WS_FTP log on screen information shown

This is the logon screen from an older version of WS_FTP Pro. Some of the same information is used in the new versions but the log on screen appearance has modernized. I do not use the tabs of Startup, Advanced, or Firewall when I log on to upload files. The Profile name can be anything you want to use as a casual name for your account. Schools, hosting companies, intranets usually all have their own FTP FAQ somewhere in their Technical Support listings and it is best if you read and know this information before trying to call for Tech. Support for the first time. The information you are calling about may have been in the FTP FAQ and therefore saved you a phone call.
My Web hosting company e-mailed me an information packet when I first signed up so that I had this FTP information at hand when I was ready to use it.


Summary: Steps to Using FTP to Move Files

  • Start with signing up for a hosting account somewhere, like a paid account with a username and password. There are a few free hosting sites available. Use Google.com to do a search for a Web hosting site.
  • The FTP Client Software: WS_FTP Pro is available from Ipswitch.com. This is the site where you can also download the 30-day evaluation copy of the FTP client software program.
  • Study the FTP Related Links to have any additional questions answered, or return to the main HTML page.


Download FTP Software

Transmit 2 (FTP Client Software for Mac OS X)
Fetch (FTP Client for the Apple Macintosh)
Cute FTP Professional (Apple Macintosh)
WS_FTP Professional (PC Computers)
Tucows.com Downloads Click first on your operating system at this site, then in the Find box, type FTP and click on Go. You can select one of 3 operating systems: PC, Macintosh or Linux.

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Updated 17 Sep 2008
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