FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a way to directly view, delete, and transfer files to your website server. It shows you every file that is on your server and allows you to view and modify your files directly and immediately. FTP is a great thing to know, especially if you own a website or are currently building one. We will be focusing on WordPress for many website related “How To” articles and this article will use the same CMS as an example.
FileZilla is a free open source software you will need in order to access your website through FTP. Being open-source, there is lots and lots of support also available online for the program. This is the software we will be using for this article however other programs are also available and use the same general concept. You can download FileZilla using the link below:
* You will need the FileZilla Client Download which works on all platforms. When on the FileZilla website, make sure you click the correct download button. You can also directly download the file using the link below:
Once you have downloaded and installed this program, you will need to determine what your FTP login information is. Usually this information is available directly from your hosting provider. Since we are using DreamHost for our website tutorials, we can setup the DreamHost FTP account using the steps below. If you are not using DreamHost, you can contact your hosting provider (iPage, GoDaddy, etc.) for this information or you can also use the support forums usually offered to find this information. You may also try checking the settings area for an “FTP” option where you can setup or access your FTP information.
Setting up FTP through DreamHost
1. Login to Dreamhost and using the left sidebar, click the “Users” drop-down button and then click “Manage Users”. This will show you all the users that are associated to different domains you have linked to your DreamHost account. We will be changing a setting with your user account so you can gain access through FTP.
2. You will be able to see users associated with your domain. You should also notice some text that reads “sftp”. If you already see only “ftp” then you can skip the following steps below.
3. Click the edit button next to edit the user with the sftp account.
4. You will want to change user type to FTP and copy the “Current Password” listed on the page. Once you have changed SFTP to FTP, click save changes and return to the user listings.
5. We have the username (name of the user) and the password (the characters we copied above). This is all we will need to connect. Open FileZilla and enter the information accordingly.
6. In the host text box, enter the full url of your website. The username area would simply be the user username and respectively the password that we copied before. Enter port 22 for the port number (this can be found on the DreamHost FTP support forum and other hosts may have a different port).
That is all! Once you click “Quickconnect” you should be able to successfully view your website root files and have FTP access to your website. From here, you can view all the files that make up your website. Note that you shouldn’t delete or change anything you are unaware of as you can damage your website. You can also create a backup of your website by simply copying all the files on your server and saving them to a folder on your computer.