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FTP New User: An FTP Guide, Tutorial and Directory
for File Transfer Protocol

This is an FTP guide and tutorial for new FTP users about File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and an FTP tutorial about how to move files such as HTML documents between one computer to another computer over the Internet, using WS_FTP Software. There is an FTP directory which includes FTP-related links. If you have used your computer to download MP3 music, you have used the FTP protocol already. :)
Picture of an older version of WS_FTP Pro

What is FTP? Facts About FTP

FTP is a set of initials representing "File Transfer Protocol".
  • FTP is a computer network protocol for moving files from one computer to another computer over some type of computer-network connection (such as an Internet connection).
  • Students at a university or college will be given specific directions from their own campus about how to move files from one campus computer to another campus computer. The school network is a type of "intranet" or a private network. Only some pages of a private network might be open for the public to link to. Other pages may require user authentication (checking user name and password) for access. If an access number is required to access the Intranet of the school campus, that number should have no bearing upon the student's social security number.
  • FTP Connection Methods are described here at Wikipedia. FTP uses TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), RFC 1122, in the Application Layer.. IMAP and POP e-mail, Telnet, Gopher, DHCP, HTTP, SOAP, and other protocols also use TCP in the Application Layer.
  • FTPS (which means FTP over SSL) has been suggested as a possible means of overcoming some security issues. FTPS adds SSL or TLS encryption to FTP, as discussed in RFC 4217.
  • Overviw of RFC 959
    RFC 959: File Transfer Protocol
  • Download WS_FTP from Ipswitch.com/
  • File Transfer Protocol Tutorial: An Introduction to FTP from Hitmill.com, for students :)

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 Newer FTP Software.


Picture of an older version of WS_FTP Pro

WS_FTP Pro picture

(Use Internet Explorer to view the .bmp image). 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. If you are transferring an HTML file or HTM file, you would select the ASCII mode button but if you are transferring images, PDF files or other types of binary files, then select the BINARY mode button (refer to picture). Between the left screen and the right there are two different. The arrow pointing to the server is clicked to actually move a file to the server. You can also move an entire folder to the server but if you have mixed file types (some images and some HTML files), then select the AUTO MODE check box. If most of the files in your folder are images, also check the Binary option so that you have both Binary and AUTO selected when moving a folder of images. If the folder is predominantly HTML files, select the ASCII and the AUTO selections when moving your folder structure. After your site is established you will be primarily moving one file at a time and will not be needing the AUTO feature to transfer a single file at a time. If for some reason you need to copy a file from the server back to your own computer you would select either the ASCII button or the Binary button and then click on the arrow pointing to the client side, toward the left window (the left-pointing arrow). The arrows then, are what makes the program move the file one direction or in the other direction. It is just that easy. The hardest part will be in making the initial set-up of information for your log on process. You navigate each screen by clicking on drive letters and using folders and files just like you do when using Windows Explorer. (Macintosh users can look for CUTE FTP and I have listed some links below.)
Below is a picture of the first log on screen that you will see for WS_FTP. I stress that the information will have to be different for each user, depending on where their server is and information that you will obtain from your Web host company or Internet Service Provider. It depends on where your pages are being hosted. You "upload" your pages to the server. You have to have WS_FTP Pro or another FTP program installed on your own computer. Open the program and log on to the Internet in your usual way as if to check E-Mail. Once connected and online, enter your information onto the first screen (as pictured below).


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. You have to check with the Webmaster at your host site to get information about Host Name/Address, Host Type, User ID, and Password. Many ISP companies have an FTP FAQ (Facts) online, under their Tech.Support listings and it is always best if you look for some written documentation and learn about some answers before calling your tech. support for the first time, or before sending e-mail to ask. You can also ask about the FTP information at the time you set up a new account with the company. My 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.

Introduction to FTP

FTP Tutorials

Download FTP Client Software

WS_FTP Pro current version (Ipswitch.com)
Download free evaluation full version of WS_FTP Pro
(Windows 2000/XP/Vista)
CUTE FTP home page
Linux CLI: File Transfer Protocol (2004)
FETCH Softworks This is a Macintosh FTP Client
FTP software at Downloads.com
Search at TUCOWS.COM for FTP Client Software to Download
Pick your operating system, then select your location
and do a search, simply typing ftp into the search line

Other FTP FAQs
From Various Host Sites

You need to know that FTP directions will vary from server to server. Try to find the FTP FAQ at your own server after looking at a few of the samples of FTP FAQ sites, below. You may have to click on a technical support link first, or on a site map if you cannot locate the FTP help page at your own host's Web site.
File Transfer Protocol Tutorial(our own: FTP Tutorial)
Cyberheart.Netís FTP Tutorial
Geocities FTP Help Page
Anonymous FTP FAQ (www.bris.ac.uk)
Anonymous FTP FAQ Setting up Secure Anonymous FTP Site

FTP Search Engines

AllTheWeb LiveSearch(new) click on FTP Files tab

Miscellaneous FTP Topics



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(Reciprocal links have to be related links
and similar content, suitable for students)
Updated 18 September 2008
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