August 10, 2022, 03:56:13 AM

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Learn FTP The Easy Way

I've bet you've heard a lot about FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and using it to upload files to your server. Most people are afraid they will mess something up or already have made a few mistakes. Well, here's an easy way to practice FTP and the best part can't mess anything up!

Most hosting have cPanel, or something similar, so let's login into that. If you are unsure of how to do that, please contact your hosting for details. The same login information should be in the "Welcome Email" that was sent to you when you first purchased your hosting account.

You will need a FTP program to upload and download files. How to use a FTP program is not the scope of this tutorial and may possibly be covered in a future tutorial. Besides, how to use and support for FTP programs are usually covered on their respective websites. That being said, here are a few free ones:

FileZilla - My personal favorite.


CoffeeCup Free FTP

Core FTP

Cyberduck - for MAC computers.

So, login into cPanel or whatever your server software is and go to "FTP Accounts" and click on it. It will take you to a screen where you can create new FTP accounts for people to FTP files to your server.

The screens in this tutorial may or may not look like what you see on your server.

Here's the "Add FTP Account" screen. Please note the red warning boxes on the right side of the image below for the "Login:" and "Directory:" fields. The warning boxes will only be seen if you try to type in something in a field that is not allowed.

For security reasons, I've masked my server path with asterisks " * " for the "Directory:" field. You will see your actually server path on that screen. Please take not of it as it is important to remember it for later use on your forum.

Type in the username you wish to use in the "Login:" field. Please note that after you type in the username and click on another field (or anything else), you will notice that the "Directory:" field will now automatically include "/public_html/"login". "login" will be the login name that you've provided in the "Login:" field.

If you have entered a username in the "Login:" field correctly, you'll see a little green check to the right side of it. You'll also see that the "Directory:" field has changed to include a preset path for this user. This means that your username and the directory will be the same making it easier to remember.

This is VERY important! Why? Because you will NOT be able to upload anything anywhere other than the "Directory:" path...the directory which is the same as your username. This will protect your forum and everything else on your server when someone uses this FTP account.

Now, just add a password...remember it or write it down or you will not know what it is later! Set a quota (how much server space they are allowed to use for their uploaded files) then click on "Create FTP Account". Now, if you scroll right below it you'll see a listing of the current FTP Accounts which should include your newly created test account.

To find the settings to use for your new FTP account just click on "Configure FTP Client" on the far right of the screen.

When you click on it, you'll see a new section appear below the FTP Accounts section or you will be taken to a new page, depending on how your hosting has configured cPanel. Either way, you should see something very similar to the image below. Again, depending on how cPanel is configured you may see different FTP programs listed in this section.

"Manual Settings" shows you exactly what settings you should be using in your FTP program to access your server. "SFTP" is a secured FTP access much like "https" when you use online banking or shopping to protect your information.

Clicking on "FTP Configuration File" or "SFTP Configuration File" that will allow you to download a configuration file for your FTP program. You must put the downloaded file in the configuration directory of your FTP program in order for it to work. If you do not see the program you are using or cannot get the downloaded configuration file to work, just use the info directly under "Manual Settings" and enter it into the appropriate settings of your FTP program.

Now you can play with it (and learn) until your heart's content! ;)
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