In current times if you want to transfer a file to a friend, you can just attach it in an email and send it off. With high speed bandwidth being so cheap and plentiful to the home user, transferring a file in this manner is usually more than adequate. What if you needed to transfer the file to someone immediately; there could be no delays, it has to be fast, and the files you are transferring may be very large. In a scenario like this, email will most likely not be adequate. This is because most email providers limit the size of your mailbox on their servers, the size of attachments you may receive, and that there is no guarantee when you send email how long it will take for the recipient to receive it or if it will even get there. This is where FTP comes in.
What is FTP
FTP stands for the File transfer protocol and is used to transfer files between an FTP server and another computer. In the past, FTP was much more common than it is today and was the dominant file transfer mechanism on the Internet. If you needed to transfer files between two computers, you would use FTP to do so. FTP is still very popular today when a service requires that a lot of files be hosted for other to people to download. FTP also tends to be faster than other contemporary methods of transferring files because it was designed to do so.
Even more important, FTP support Automatic Resume. This means that if you are downloading the latest new game demo that is over 600 megs, and for some reason the download stops in the middle of the transfer, the ftp client will attempt to on the next download of the same file, to continue from where you left off. This feature can save you a huge amount of time but is generally only found in specialized FTP client software and not in your browser software.
How to Connect to an FTP Server
There are two approaches to allowing users to connect to an FTP Server. The first is to make it so anyone can log in anonymously, otherwise known as anonymous FTP, or you can assign user names and passwords to people that they must use to log in to the server.
The two most common ways to connect to an FTP server is with your Web Browser or with a FTP client such as FileZilla. To connect to a FTP server with your browser you would prefix the hostname you are connecting to with the ftp:// protocol statement. For example, ftp://www.bleepingcomputer.com. It would then try to connect anonymously. If the server you are trying to connect to requires a username and password, you can do so in the following format:
It is recommended when you do connect with a username and a password that you do not put the password in as well, otherwise it will show up in your browser's history. Instead do this:
This way your browser will prompt you for a password and you do not have to worry about it being stored in your history list, which can potentially be a security risk.
The other method is to use a FTP client that is designed specifically to connect to FTP servers. These types of software are generally the best as they have been streamlined for speed and support a lot of the advanced features like automatic resume. You should browse through the list of FTP Clients and find one you like.
How to Transfer Files
Whether you are connected to an FTP server via your web browser or an FTP client, you will be presented with a list of folders and documents that have files you can download to your computer. If you are using a web browser, you will click on the file you would like to download and it will prompt you to save it or open it. Unless you really know what it is you are downloading, you should save it to a directory that you will know how to find later, and open it from there.
If you are using an FTP Client, you will be presented a list of the files that you can download. You should first specify where you would like downloads to save to, and then you can double click on the file to start the download. When you are done downloading, you can shut the FTP client and open the file from where it was stored.
Now that you know what FTP is, you will probably notice it more often. If you would like to ask some questions or discuss this tutorial, please do so in the computer help forums.
Bleeping Computer Basic Internet Concepts Series
BleepingComputer.com: Computer Support & Tutorials for the beginning computer user.
For many of us, the Internet and Web Browsing has become a daily activity. Whether it is for checking stock prices, buying food, doing work, ordering books and music, or just to browse a favorite site, web browsing has become an institution in our lives much the way television is. Have you ever wondered how this whole web thing works, though? This tutorial is designed to explain the history and ...
When using the Internet most people connect to web sites, ftp servers or other Internet servers by connecting to a domain name, as in www.bleepingcomputer.com. Internet applications, though, do not communicate via domain names, but rather using IP addresses, such as 192.168.1.1. Therefore when you type a domain name in your program that you wish to connect to, your application must first convert ...
In this tutorial we will discuss the concept of Ports and how they work with IP addresses. If you have not read our article on IP addresses and need a brush up, you can find the article here. If you understand the concepts of IP addresses, then lets move on to TCP and UDP ports and how they work.
You may have noticed when browsing Bleeping Computer that there are these little orange RSS buttons all over the place. You may haved wondered what these were and, being an adventurous sort, you click on them and your screen becomes filled with strange codes that make no sense to you. I know you are confused, but there really is a good reason for these buttons. These buttons are called RSS feeds ...
A common question that many people ask is what is the ~ file that you occasionally see on your desktop, Documents and Settings folder, or other location on your hard drive. This brief tutorial will explain what this file is and give suggestions on how to use it. When you edit a contact in the Outlook Express Windows Address Book, or WAB, a file named ~ may be created. This file is simply a backup ...