If you are reading this, you have most likely heard the phrase, “You just need to upload the file(s) to your server/host.” The fact is, hardly anyone knows what that means or how to do that before they are placed in the position of NEEDING to do that for their own website. My guess is that over 95% of Internet users are frustrated by that phrase, not to mention those who experience an anxiety attack at the acronym: FTP.
FTP does not need to be as mysterious or intimidating as it sounds. Here is your life preserver.
BASIC DEFINITIONS TO GET STARTED
First, let’s talk about some basic terms or phrases used in relation to FTP and uploading and transfering files from your computer to your website.
“FTP” is a geeky way of saying “transfer files from one place to another.” It’s the way you upload files (like HTML web pages and image) to your website. But technically speaking, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.
“Host” and “server” are used interchangeably in this tutorial. They refer to the place — both the computer server and web hosting company — where your website resides.
You will use FTP software to transfer files from your desktop computer to your website server.
OK, right along to the tutorial:
We love Firefox for both secure web browsing and also for web design and development.
To use FireFTP, you’ll need to download and install Firefox, then add FireFTP to it. So before you start, go get Firefox now.
Now, to install this powerful, free FTP application (FireFTP) is as easy as it gets:
- In Firefox 2.x, go to the Tools menu and click Add-ons (the next step is slightly different for Firefox 3.x/Mac Firefox versions, but nothing major).
- With Extensions selected at the top, click the Get Extensions link in the bottom right corner.
- That takes you to the official add-ons site where you enter “fireftp” into the search field at the top and click Search.
- The first result is your golden ticket to easy uploading and downloading from your host.
- Click Add to Firefox.
- After waiting the pre-programmed three seconds, click Install Now.
- It will require you to restart Firefox as the last step.
- All done! Congratulations on a successful installation.
USING FIREFTP TO UPLOAD FILES TO YOUR WEBSITE
Now that you have the tool, it is time to use it. Go to the Tools menu and click FireFTP. If you will be doing a lot of FTP’ing, you should right-click the Firefox toolbar, left-click Customize, and find and add the FireFTP button to your toolbar.
In the pull-down select Create an account… to set up a new host connection. You are prompted to give a custom name your connection, enter your server’s FTP address, username, and the password (if needed). Nevermind the tabs unless the connection doesn’t work, so click OK. Test the connection by left-clicking Connect. If it connects, you are all set and the Connect button changes to read “Disconnect.” If not, and you are sure all of the information matches up between the host information and what you entered. If your host does have extra security features, then explore the tabs to see which authentication your server requires.
Hopefully you are connected to your host now.
FireFTP logs you into the root folder on the host, so you need to go into the ‘www’ folder to access the real material for your site. This may vary depending on your host.
UPLOADING FILES FOR WORDPRESS
If you are running a WordPress site in the root directory of your host, all of the files listed under the main ‘www’ folder pertain to the site. Installation of WordPress creates three main folders (wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes) and most of the files below those folders in the root directory.
To upload new Themes, find and open the folder: wp-content/themes/
To upload new Plugins, find and open the folder: wp-content/plugins/
Here’s a video tutorial on how to upload and activatenew Themes and Plugins.