What Is FTP or SFTP?

How do I use It
Secure File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol
Updated: November 14, 2021
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff

File transfer protocol is a set of rules that computers follow for the transferring of files from one system to another over the Internet. It may be used by a business to transfer files. Or site developers may use FTP to upload or download files from a Website's Server

What is FTP

FTP is an acronym that stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is a program that allows you to transfer files from one computer to another. Or for working on websites transferring from your device to a Web Server

For example, if you created your web pages on your computer, either using a text editor or some other web page editor. You will then need to transfer those pages to your Website. We can accomplish this very easily with an FTP client

What is SFTP

With an FTP program, a secure channel is not provided to transfer the files between the hosts to transfer or copies file from one host to another host or systems. It normally uses port 21 which is a non-secure port. It establishes the connection under a standard TCP protocol, in which it does not encrypt the data before sending

SFTP Stands for "Secure File Transfer Protocol". This protocol works the same as FTP but provides a Secure channel. SFTP establishes a controlled connection under SSH protocol, and it normally uses in port 22. SFTP encrypts data before sending files. It works on a "Transparent FTP Tunneling Method" for transferring of files. SFTP maintains full security of the data by using SSH keys

What is Anonymous FTP

Another method for using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). With "Anonymous FTP" you normally do not need to identify yourself before accessing files. In most cases, you enter the word "anonymous" or "ftp" when prompted you for a username. You can enter anything for the password, such as the word “guest”. In many cases, when you access an anonymous FTP site, you won’t even be prompted for any username and password

FBI Warns About FTP Server Vulnerability. The warning focused on the file transfer protocol (FTP) and the Anonymous FTP, as it is called, does not require any authentication. A security researcher, Minxomat after a quick scan found about 800,000 anonymous FTP services were exposed. And even the developers at cPanel Issue Warnings

Logging in to FTP

You will need an FTP Client and your FTP login credentials (Contact support if you do not have FTP login credentials)

Connecting via FTP

To connect to your website with FTP, you will need to input the required information as list below

Profile Name
This is just a reference name for your website

Host Name or Address
The name of the Server you will be connecting to. Usually this will be your Domain Name. But could also be IP numbers

User Name
The username for your FTP account

The FTP password created for you during sign up

Blog Hosting

FTP Folders

After you successfully connect to your website via FTP, you will see a series of directories or folders such as

The folders you will need to be aware of are within the folder named "/WWW" or "/public_html"
This is where you will want to upload all your files, images, scripts. Anything that you will want to view through your Browser or by the "Public"

Using Your FTP Client

This is general information for any FTP client. Yours may be slightly different, but all normally need the same info to work properly

Start your FTP client. You will see several boxes that will need to be filled out

The first is normally the Profile Name. This is simply a label to give to this particular website

Next box is the Host Name or Address. This is normally your Domain Name or IP numbers of your website. If you are not sure, ask your Hosting Provider. It will look something like this: [ftp.domain-name.com] Or just [domain-name.com]

The other information are your User ID and Passwords. These are again normally the same as the user-name and password that you gave when you signed up for the hosting service

You may want to click on the button that saves your password, so you will not have to type it every time

Once you have your settings filled out, click "Connect" or "OK". You will know this is complete when files from your Website show up on the right side of the screen

You may want to set up the folders on your Web Hosting service exactly the same as you set them up on your computer, so you will always remember to send your files to the correct folders

Transferring Files

The left side of the screen are the files on your computer. Find the file that you want to transfer by double-clicking on the folders until you get to your file

The right side of the screen are the files on the Web Hosting server. Go to the folder you want to transfer your files to

You can either double-click on the file you are transferring, you can Right-Click - Upload-File, or single click on it and then click on the arrow that points to the right side of the screen. Which ever way, you will now have a file on your hosting server

To move a file from the Web Server to your computer, do the same thing except click on the arrow that points to the left side of the screen or Right-Click -Download-File

You can also view, rename, delete and move your files around. If you need to create a new folder for your files, you can do that too by clicking on MkDir or Right-Click - New-Directory

Most all FTP Clients have a built-in Text editor where you can edit your files or web pages by hand

FTP Clients

File Transfer Protocol is necessary when you are trying to communicate with a Web Server for the purpose of uploading content, images, scripts or any type of file. It is the FTP client software that initiates and maintains the connection to the Web Server. This is one of the most popular ways when building or maintaining a Website. Especially when transferring large files. There are many different FTP clients that you can choose from. Some are free and some are paid versions

WinSCP A popular free SFTP and FTP client for Windows
Commander One for Mac A reliable FTP client for Mac OS
SmartFTP FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 more
CuteFTP transfers files between your PC and remote computers
Free FTP by Coffee House drag-and-drop FTP client that's as powerful as it is user-friendly
Cyberduckfor Mac and Windows with support for FTP, SFTP, OpenStack Swift, Microsoft Azure more
FireFTP [Firefox extension] a free, secure, cross-platform FTP/SFTP client for Mozilla Firefox
Transmit for Mac Transmit now connects to 11 new cloud services, like Box, Google Drive, DreamObjects, Dropbox, more
ForkLift For Mac advanced file manager and FTP client for macOS
FileZilla a free open source FTP and FTPS Server
WS_FTP Professional best-in-class security with the highest levels of encryption
Coffeecup drag-and-drop FTP client that's as powerful as it is user-friendly
FTP Voyager most powerful FTP client program for Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP
Core FTP Free FTP client software for Windows

cPanel: Uploading files with the "File Transfer Manager" available through cPanel

For a text editor, we recommend NotePad++. RSH Web used NotePad++ for coding all our web pages

Using Windows Command Line FTP

By default, FTP Client is available on Windows Computer. You can use FTP Commands on Command Prompt or PowerShell to transfer any data to and from a computer running a File Transfer Protocol Server
See the following URL for more on this subject see HowToGeek.com - Connect to FTP Server

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