When you’re working with tech professionals you may have heard the three letter acronym “FTP” thrown around. Simply put, it’s an age old system of transferring files through the internet, but it can be so much more. We’ll walk you through what FTP is and how to use an FTP program to transfer files.

What is FTP?

FTP is an acronym for “File Transfer Protocol”. As the name suggests, FTP is used to transfer files between computers on a network. You can use FTP to exchange files between computer accounts, transfer files between an account and a desktop computer, or access online software archives.

Your Host FTP Information

What you will be looking for in your admin account for your host is the “FTP information” or “FTP login” information that your host should provide. Calling customer service is sometimes a quick way of getting this information, or you can click around in your admin area to find it yourself. Sometimes it is prominently placed and easy to find, some hosts make it a bit more difficult.

It will look something like this:


FTP Program

There is a lot of FTP software available on the market. Some free, some you have to pay for. It is all a matter of personal preference, and ease of use. I have been through many throughout the years – I have used add-ons for Firefox and Chrome that will work and are free, I have purchased programs, and have downloaded free versions. Currently I use Classic FTP but mainly because it came with another program I purchased from NCH. Windows users can also use Smart FTP or FileZilla. When I had a Macintosh I used Cute FTP – which is still pretty popular among the Apple crowd as is Fetch.

Using FTP


Most FTP programs are much the same. You will be prompted to connect by entering the server address, the username (or User ID), and the password. All this information you should have found in your hosting company’s admin or account management section.

Once connected you will see two screens with arrows that pointing from one screen to the next (both directions). In one screen you will open up the location of your files on your computer that you want to transfer, and in the other screen you will see your directory on your hosting account with any existing files.

Simply highlight the file(s) you wish to upload and either drage and drop them into the next window, or click the arrow to start the uploading process.

It’s that easy!

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About the Author: Jennifer Mathews