Quick Steps on setting up and transferring (FTP) files using FileZilla

by StressLessWeb on June 14, 2012

in Technical

I remember the first time I saw the ‘Transporter’ on Star Trek. To me the thought of being able to transport yourself magically from one place to another was just mind blowing. And the words ‘Beam me up Scotti’ will forever be stamped in my brain. I’m just hoping against hope that the transporter really gets invented it.

But do you know, that when your files are magically transferred from your local machine to your Web Server it’s very like the Transporter’. Instead of the Transporter we have FTP or File Transfer Protocol. And using FTP you can transfer any file from your local machine to your Web Server.

So let’s learn how we can easily transfer (FTP) your files

First off, you need a FTP client to transfer files to your web server. FTP clients are developed by many companies. Think of it as if ‘General Electric’ sold the Transporter to Enterprise on Star Trek.

I recommend using FileZilla. FileZilla is a free FTP solution. It is an open source software that is distributed free under the terms of GNU (General Public Licence). The ‘FileZilla Client’ software, can be easily downloaded from http://filezilla-project.org/. Now let’s get to the How.

In this tutorial we will cover 3 sections

  1. Setting Up the FileZilla’s SiteManger
  2. FTP (Transfer) a file to your WebServer
  3. Navigating to a folder on your Web Server

Setting Up FileZilla’s SiteManger – 1) Type in your Website Name

FileZilla SiteManager

FileZilla SiteManager

  1. After you start FileZilla click on the ‘SiteManager’ icon on the top left corner to setup your website. This option can also be found under File/SiteManager in the FileZilla Menu.
  2. Click on the ‘New Site’ button to create a new site.
  3. Type in your site name. This is just a name for you to easily remember your site. So if your site is  called ‘My website.net’, you could name it MyWebSite.net.

Setting Up FileZilla’s SiteManger – 2) Add the User Name and Password

Setup the User Name and Password

Setup the User Name and Password

  1. Make sure you on the ‘General’ Tab.
  2. Type in your website name. If your website is ‘mywebsite.net’ then type in that name.
  3. Change the ‘Logon Type’ to ‘Normal’. By default this will show ‘Anonymous’.
  4. Type in your FTP User Name and Password. This information will have been provided to you via email from your hosting provider, when you opened your hosting account.

Setting Up FileZilla’s SiteManger – 3) Set the local and remote directory

Set the Default Folders

Set the Default Folders

  1. Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  2. If there is a directory on your local machine from which you will normally transfer files, you can set this folder here. This helps in you not having to navigate to the folder every time you want to transfer files. Note: you do not have to enter a default folder. Also even if you do enter a default folder you can always navigate to a different folder when you are actually transferring files.
  3. Type in the default remote directory. This is the directory on your webs erver. Your website files will normally be found under the directory ‘/public_html/mywebsite’. If you know the exact directory that you normally transfer files to then type in the full path here. For eg. if you normally transfer files to the ‘audio’ folder then enter that as your default directory. It could look something like this ‘/public_html/mywebsite/audio’. If you are unsure of your directory just type in the main folder (i.e. ‘/public_html/mywebsite’) of your website. Note: you do not have to enter a default folder. Also even if you do enter a default folder you can always navigate to a different folder when you are actually transferring files.
  4. Hit the ‘OK’ button. Your website is now setup in FileZilla ready for you to connect and transfer files.

Right, now let’s look at how to actually transfer the files in just 2 steps.

FTP (Transfer) a file to your Web Server – 1) Connect

Connect to your Web Server

Connect to your Web Server

  1. Click on the SiteManger icon. This option can also be found under File/SiteManager in the FileZilla Menu.
  2. Click on your website name.
  3. Click on the ‘Connect’ button. A connection will be made to your webserver and new window will come up.

FTP (Transfer) a file to your Web Server – 2) Transfer your files

Transfer Files

Transfer (FTP) Files

  1. After you hit the ‘Connect’ button from the ‘SiteManager’, a new window will open up. On the left hand side is the file structure of your local machine. If you had setup a default directory for your local machine in the site manager, this folder will automatically open up. You can always navigate to another folder.
  2. On the right hand side is file structure of your web server also called the ‘Remote site’. If you had setup a default directory for your webserver, this folder will automatically open up. You can always navigate to a another folder. So as per our example used earlier, it will open to /public_html/mywebsite/audio.
  3. All the files found in the select folder (point 1) on your local machine will be displayed here. Select the one you wish to upload (transfer) to your web server. You can upload the files by right clicking on this file and selecting ‘Upload’. Or you can drag and drop the files onto the right hand side (point 4).
  4. All the files found in the selected folder on the web server. When a file is transfered (FTPed) from your local machine it will appear here.
  5. Clicking on this tab will show you a list of successful tranfers.

But what if you did not set the default remote folder in FileZilla’s site manager? Read on and learn to navigate the remote (web) server.

Navigating to a folder on your Remote (Web) Server

Sometimes it may be necessary to transfer (FTP) your files to a different folder from the one you set as your default in your SiteManger (described above).

So let’s look at how to navigate to the ‘Test’ folder on my site.

After connecting to the site here is what to do

NavigateToRemoteFolder-1

Navigate To RemoteFolder -1

  1. This box will always tell you the folder you are currently in. ‘/’ means you are looking at the root folder on the Web Server.
  2. In this box you will see all the files and folders on your Web Server (it is a file structure similar to your local computer). Besides all the other files and folders, you will always see 2 folders ‘public_html’ and ‘www’. Both these folder take you to the same place. Double click on the ‘public_html’ folder to go to the ‘public_html’ folder.
NavigateToRemoteFolder-2

Navigate To Remote Folder-2

  1. Notice that you are now in ‘public_html’ folder.
  2. Look for your website folder. It will normally be the name of your Website’. In this case my website folder is ‘stressLessweb.com’. Double click on this folder and you will be taken to all files and folders of your website.
  3. On every folder of your WebServer you will see these two dots ‘..’. These two dots represent the parent folder. So double clicking on ‘..’ will take you to the parent folder of the one you are currently in. This is good way to go back if you have made a mistake and wound up in the wrong folder.
NavigateToRemoteFolder-3

Navigate To Remote Folder -3

  1. Notice that you are now in your website folder.
  2. You will now see all the files and folders that are part of your website. Look for the folder that you wish to transfer (FTP) your files to. In the case I want to FTP my file to the ‘Test’ folder. So I will double click on the ‘test’ folder.
  3. As always the two dots represent the parent folder. So double clicking on ‘..’ will take you to the parent folder which in this case would be ‘public_html’.
NavigateToRemoteFolder-4

Navigate To Remote Folder -4

  1. Notice that this tells me I am in the ‘test’ folder.
  2. ‘try_ftp.php’ is the file I have transferred (FTPed) from my local machine by dragging and dropping it here.
  3. As always the two dots represent the parent folder. So double clicking on ‘..’ will take you to the parent folder which in this case would be ‘stresslessweb.com’.

So there you have it

In the above tutorial you leaned how to:

  1. Setting Up the FileZilla’s SiteManger
  2. FTP (Transfer) a file to your WebServer
  3. Navigating to a folder on your Web Server

And just like the ‘Transporter’ in Star Trek, your files will be magically transported or FTPed from your local machine to your web server.

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