Using FTP (with images)

Table of contents:

Using FTP (with images)
Using FTP (with images)

FTP is a transfer protocol designed to help move files from one location to another on a network. FTP is widely used to access the content of web servers, and many enthusiasts create FTP servers as a way to share files between their members. Although it is possible to connect to an FTP server through your browser, you will find that you have many more options if you use a dedicated FTP client. See Step 1 to learn more about how FTP works, how to access an FTP server, and how to set up your own FTP server.


Part 1 of 5: Understanding the basics of FTP

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Step 1. Learn how FTP is different from

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and is a connection method designed for moving files from a remote server to a local computer, and vice versa. While this is also possible with HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), it is not as robust as FTP. FTP is often used in a corporate and/or academic environment, and is the standard way to manage web page servers.

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Step 2. The different parts of an FTP address

When you come across an FTP address on a web page, they usually all look similar, with some slight variations. For example: This means that the host is and the port is 21. You will need both if you want to connect to an FTP server. If the FTP requires a username, it will look like [email protected]:21.

If no username is specified, you can usually enter "anonymous" as the username. Note that you are not exactly anonymous when you connect to a public FTP in this way

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Step 3. Determine how you want to make the connection

There are three main ways to connect to FTP servers: with an FTP client, your browser, or via the command line. Using a dedicated FTP program is the most commonly used, and is the easiest way to connect via FTP, and it gives you the most options and control over the whole process.

  • Most of this guide is about working with an FTP client. If you are interested in making an FTP connection via the command line, see the last part of this guide.
  • To connect to an FTP server via the web browser, all you have to do is enter the FTP address in the address bar, just like a regular website. You may then have to enter the login details before you can access the server. Using a browser is often a lot slower and less reliable than using an FTP program.

Part 2 of 5: Connecting to an FTP server

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Step 1. Download an FTP client

By using a client for the connection, you will often experience faster upload and download speeds compared to a browser. FTP clients also have several additional capabilities, such as being able to store server addresses and file queues. There are several clients available, both free and for sale. One of the most popular and free and open source clients is FileZilla.

FileZilla can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux from the website,

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Step 2. Fill in the FTP server details

Once you have installed the client, you can open the program and connect to an FTP server. If you are using FileZilla, there are 2 different connection options: Quickconnect or the Site Manager.

  • In the Quickconnect bar you can enter the FTP data of the servers that you do not use regularly. Type the address in "Host", your username in "Username", the password in "Password", and the port of the server in "Port". The Quickconnect history list only stores the last 10 connections.
  • The Site Manager allows you to save multiple servers for future use, and you can set many more connection options. Click the Site Manager button in the top left corner of the window, under the File menu. Click on the "New Site" button, and then fill in all the server information in the "General" tab. The "Advanced" tab offers the option to change your default directories, as well as the server's time zone. Use the Site Manager if you want to make custom settings, or if you plan to use a particular server often.
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Step 3. Connect to an FTP server

Select the server you want to connect to from the Site Manager dropdown menu, or enter the server information in the Quickconnect bar, and click the "Quickconnect" button. The client then attempts to establish a connection based on the information you have entered. You can follow the details of this process in the top frame of the FileZilla window.

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Step 4. Go to the FTP directories

Once the connection has been established, you will see the FTP directory tree on the right side of the window. The top frame shows the tree structure, while the bottom frame shows the contents of each folder. Every time you switch folders, a short command is sent to the server. This means that there is a short delay as you move from folder to folder. You can enter an exact location of a folder in the bar at the top, on the right.

If you can't access certain directories, you'll get an error if you try

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Step 5. Navigate to your local directories

On the left side of the window you will see two frames for browsing the folders on your own computer. This allows you to choose files to upload or locations for your downloads. You can type in the exact location in the bar at the top, on the right.

Part 3 of 5: Uploading and downloading files

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Step 1. Download a file from the FTP server to your computer

Navigate to the file or folder you want to download on the right side of the window. Find the location where you want to save it on the left side of the window. Click and drag the file from the bottom frame on the right to the bottom frame on the left side of the window. Your file or folder will be downloaded immediately.

  • You can see the size of the file (in bytes) in the "Filesize" column.
  • You can download multiple files during the same session by holding down Ctrl and clicking on each file you want to download. The files are downloaded one by one.
  • You can add files to your download queue by right clicking on them and selecting "Add files to queue".
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Step 2. Upload a file to the server

Go to the file you want to upload, in the left side of the window. Navigate to the location on the server where you want to place the file, in the right side of the window. If you have permission to upload files to the FTP server, you can also drag the file or folder from the left frame to the right frame in the window to start uploading.

  • Most public FTPs do not allow anonymous users to upload files.
  • Uploads usually take longer than downloads of the same size.
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Step 3. Keep an eye on your file sharing

You can do this via the bottom frame of the window. Here you'll see a list of files that are being sent or queued, along with their size, priority, and percentage of completion. You can also see which uploads or downloads have failed by using the tabs at the bottom of the window.

Part 4 of 5: Your own FTP server

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Step 1. Download the server software

Install the server software on the computer you want to use as a server. If you use the server for yourself, you can get by with an older, unused PC. If you're setting up an FTP server for corporate or team use, you'll want to make sure you have a dedicated computer with a solid internet connection.

  • FileZilla has a free open-source server version that is recommended for almost any FTP server application, except when the highest level of security is required.
  • If you plan to make your FTP server available 24/7, you need a dynamic DNS service that ensures that users always have the correct address of your server, even if the IP address changes.
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Step 2. Start the server software

When you first start the FileZilla server software, you will be prompted to connect to a server. By default, the "Server Address" will be set to This points to the local computer. There is no need to change these settings unless you are running a server on a different computer. In that case, it would be more efficient to install the server software on that computer instead.

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Step 3. Create users

FTP servers allow you to create different users with different permissions. This ensures that certain folders can only be viewed by certain people, or that different areas on the server are only accessible to certain groups. No one can connect to the server without users being created.

  • In FileZilla, click the Edit menu, then select Users.
  • Click the Add button and enter a name for the first user.
  • Check "Enable password" if you want to set that a password is required for the connection. This is absolutely recommended for security reasons.
  • Multiple users can be organized into groups, allowing further customization of the permissions system.
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Step 4. Set Up Shared Folders

Once a user is created, you need to set up the folders that users are automatically redirected to when they are logged in. Click on the "Shared folders" page, then "Add" to search for a directory on your computer. When you have selected a directory, that directory will be set as the Home Directory for that user.

  • By default, the user will have access to all subdirectories in a directory. You can change this by unchecking "+ Subdirs".
  • If you set multiple directories as shared for a user, then aliases must be set. This allows them to appear as two folders in the same location for a user. For example, if C:\users\Pictures is the Home Directory, and you want to go to C:\Music, then the alias must be set for C:\Music as /music. This makes it look like the music folder is also in the Home Directory, but it actually points to the C:\Music folder.
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Step 5. Set the permissions

In the Shared Folders page you can set the permissions that each user or group is given for that specific folder. By default, users only have "Read" access, so they can only download from the shared folder. If "Write" access is given, then the user can upload files to that shared folder. If the "Delete" permission is given, the user can delete everything in that shared folder.

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Step 6. Create an anonymous user

If you want to give everyone access to your FTP server, create a user under the name "anonymous" and leave the password blank. Make sure that the anonymous user does not have access to sensitive files, and that all other users are well protected with passwords.

Anonymous users should rarely, if ever, have Delete or Write permissions on an FTP server

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Step 7. Share the address

By default, the FTP server runs as soon as the program starts up. This means that once all permissions have been taken care of, you can start handing out the login details and make sure everyone can connect. If you have an FTP server running at home, then you need a dynamic DNS service, because your IP address will most likely change. It allows users to contact your server using a hostname instead of an IP address (example: vs.

This option costs money, but is very useful if you have a lot of people connecting to the server. You don't want to ask everyone to change it in the client every time the IP address changes

Part 5 of 5: FTP from the command line

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Step 1. Open the command window or the terminal

Windows, Mac OS X, and most Linux distributions include a command-based FTP client via the command window or Terminal.

  • To open the Windows Command Prompt, press Windows-R and type cmd.
  • To open the Terminal in most Linux distributions, press Ctrl-Alt-T.
  • To open the Terminal in OS X, go to Applications → Utilities and select Terminal.
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Step 2. Connect to an FTP server

The commands are the same for all command line FTP clients, independent of the operating system. To connect to an FTP server, press ftp After the connection is established, you will be asked for your username. If you are connecting to a public FTP, press anonymous and press Enter when prompted for the password. In other cases, enter your username and password.

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Step 3. Navigate through the available directories

You can navigate the FTP server in much the same way as on any Unix system.

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Step 4. Switch to binary mode

By default, you connect via FTP in ASCII mode, intended for sending text files. If you want to upload and download archive files, exe files, or media files, you need binary mode. To switch to binary mode, type binary and press Enter.

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Step 5. Download a file

Use the get command to download a file from the remote server to your computer. Place after "get" which file you want to download. For example, type get example.jpg" /> Use FTP Step 24

Step 6. Upload a file

Use it well command to upload a file from your computer to the FTP server. After the "put" command, enter the location of the file you want to upload. For example, type put c:\documents\homemovies\example2.avi to upload the "example2.avi" movie file from PC to FTP server.

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Step 7. Close the connection

type close to shut down the client. Any file transfer that is still in progress will be cancelled.

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