Tips on Using FTP

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a web protocol which enables the easy transfer of files between clients and servers. FTP allows you to directly access and modify (copy, rename, upload, update, delete, basically conduct any operation) files on your web server.

Web hosting companies generally provide FTP access to a specific storage space in which you can perform any type of file operation. You can upload data, delete existing data, copy data to your computer, and so on.

There are a number of software applications which help you conduct FTP operations efficiently, the majority of which are free. For example FileZilla is a free dedicated FTP software, which permits you to log on, transfer files, get statistics, and more. TotalCommander is a very powerful application which acts as a Windows Explorer replacement, allowing you to manage your files in two windows at one. At any time, in one of these windows, you can connect to any FTP server, and execute file operation, thus gaining a great amount of integration with your own computer files.

Web Hosts provide you with a user name, password, and FTP server address, which you need in order to connect into your account.

Using tools provided by the web host, you can create multiple FTP accounts to manage storage space, and you can administrate each account and set access level limitations.

FTP transfers are extremely useful when dealing with a large amount of files. If you want to upload multiple files at once, copy multiple files at once from the server to your local work station, or rename multiple remote files, FTP is the way to go.

Using HTTP to transfer files is slow and inefficient, and you are obligated to do all of the background programming to be able to use HTTP, since all the dedicated applications run on FTP.

Web hosts provide security for FTP transfers, not only by implementing a user/password system, but also by implementing procedures to regulate the flow of data while the user is logged on and the connection is active. Specific files can be denied and automatically deleted, based upon parameters set by web hosting admins. Antivirus and antimalware software can also be installed server side and can scan incoming data and block suspicious files.

In general, FTP connections that have been idle for a specific time are automatically shut down. This is because while the connection is active, the server and the client continuously exchange information. Shutting down idle connections saves bandwidth (both for the client and for the server), saves server resources and allows for a better overall control for server administrators.

Another interesting fact about FTP is that every action is monitored, so in case of any potential harmful activity, administrators can close connections instantly, so important data is safe from any hacking attempts.

With this in mind, if you have a large amount of data, and you need to transfer it to the server fast and efficient, FTP is the way to go. You can also access FTP resources with your web browser, by putting FTP:// at the start of the address instead of HTTP://.