This tutorial is also available in a video. Click here to view it.
There are some things that you just cant do without the aid of an FTP client. I have tried many FTP clients over the time and found one that i am quite happy with. It is simple to use and is not too confusing when you look at it.
I bring you FileZilla!
Items covered in this tutorialDownloading Installing Getting to know FileZilla Enable hidden files Maximum concurrent transfers Uploading a file Downloading a file Changing file permissions .
Firstly you will need to install the software on your computer. When looking at the FileZilla website you will be able to see various downloads for the same piece of software. You will need to pay close attention to the operating system that each of these downloads relate to.
For example, in the image below the downloads highlighted in yellow are for a Windows based system. The ones highlighted in blue are for a Linux based system and the ones in green are for an OS X based system. These links will always have the latest most stable version of the software for you to download. Please note that the versions shown in the image below were correct at the time of writing this.
Once you have identified the version that will suit your operating system, simply click the link. When you have clicked the link you will be taken to another page where it will prepare your download. You will see a small counter that is counting down from three. Once it has reached zero you will be prompted with a pop-up asking what you want to do with the download. Save the file on your computer so that you can access it in a few moments.
If for any reason that you are not prompted (like above) you can manually start the download. There are many reasons why the download may not start straight away but this is mainly down to security settings within your browser. We are not going to go and click all sorts of buttons to get this working automatically as we can just manually start the download. To do this, click the ‘Click Here’ link as highlighted below. When you click this link, you will be presented with a pop-up similar to the one above (depending on your browser).
Now we have downloaded the installation package, there is not really much to the installation. Install the software using all of the default settings that it provides for you. If you are comfortable with changing things like the location of the installation or what parts of the software to install, then by all means go ahead and make these modifications.
I think the easiest way to look at the program, is to break it down into sections and we can cover each of the sections one by one. I have highlighted each section in a colour which will correspond to a description below.
This is the area that you will enter login credentials to be able to access your server. These details will be available from your control panel and can be changed at any time. Once you have successfully logged into a server, it will be stored in your ‘Quickconnect’ menu for speedy access. You simply select the server you want from the drop down list and it connects. Please bear in mind that if you have changed your FTP password, the quick connect option will not work as it will be attempting to connect using your old password. Simply re-enter your details and your away again.
This area you will not need to worry about too much. As you are using FileZilla, information will be scrolling through this area. It will log every command/action that has taken place. If there is an error of any description, whether it be a login failure or an upload failure, it will be in this area giving you an idea as to why this command/action has failed.
This area is to browse files & folders on your local computer. This is where you can locate files (for example) from My Documents to upload to your server. You may look at the root of your C drive using Windows and only see a few directories. If you then look at the same location using FileZilla, you may see more files and directories that you would not normally see using Windows. That is because these files are hidden from normal view, however FileZilla can see hidden files on your local computer.
The green area is nearly the same as the blue area. The difference being is that the green area shows all files and folders on the remote server. This would be either your webhosting or your game server etc. This is the location that you have connected to by entering login credentials above. By default this area will not show hidden files and folders, but this can be enabled and we will go through that later on.
Finally, the pink area will show the current queue for either uploading or downloading. If you are uploading a new plugin for your server, you will see a list of all the files that are going to be uploaded and the progress of each of the files. There is a default limit for the maximum amount of concurrent transfers which is set quite low. This number can be changed, but we will go through this later on.
You may connect to a server and find that you can’t find a file or folder that you know should be there. This can be very confusing and pretty annoying if you know its meant to be there and clearly isn’t. One of the most common reasons for this is that the file or folder you are trying to locate is hidden. By default FileZilla does not show hidden files. To turn this feature on open the ‘Server’ drop down located at the top of the application and then tick the ‘force showing hidden files’ option.
Now when looking at your server, you should be able to see files that you couldn’t see before.
There is a default limit set for the maximum concurrent file transfers. This means that only a certain number of files can be wither uploaded or downloaded at the same time. If this option is set to 3, you can upload or download 3 files at the same time. If it’s set to 7 you can upload or download 7 files at the same time… you get the idea. You can change this number to anything between 1 and 10. Bear in mind that if you have a slower connection to the internet, having this set at 10 will severely decrease the speed in which each of the files are transferring at; so you will need to adjust this number to suit your connection.
Now we have gone over the basics of FileZilla, we can go through uploading some items. This is a very simple process and you should pick it up pretty quickly.
Login to the server that you wish to upload the content to. Firstly you will need to locate the contents to upload to your server. This is done by locating the file in the blue highlighted area as shown in a previous section of this tutorial.
After we have located the file or folder you wish to upload, you need to find somewhere to upload the files to. Cast your eyes to the remote server area which we highlighted green earlier and find the location to upload the file.
Now the next part can’t be any simpler! Right-click on the file to be uploaded or double click the file.
When you have selected upload it will add the selected file or files to the transfer queue which will look something similar to this.
Your file will not be uploaded to the remote server ready for use.
Downloading a file is also very simple. It is pretty much the same as above, but in reverse. You need to find the file you want to download in the remote server section and then find the destination for the file in the local computer section. Once you have found these two locations simply right click on the file to download and select ‘Download’. Again, the file will be added to the transfer queue the same as above and will be downloaded to the location you selected.
One of the things that you may come across when using an FTP client to upload files is amending the file permissions. This will be come more prevalent when uploading to your web space, but may be used when uploading to game servers. This is again a very simple and quick process.
As you are reading your documentation it may ask you to change the file permissions on a file and will give you some numbers such as 644 or 777. These numbers represent who or what can access the file and what they can do to the file. To set this you need to locate the file on the remote server and right click on the file and select ‘File Permissions’.
You will be shown the current permissions for the selected file. As you can see from the image below, the current permissions are set to 644.
To amend the permissions, simply type in the new permissions into the ‘Numeric Value’ box. You will see the tick boxes change according to the numbers that you have entered. I am going to change this particular files permissions to 777.
Once you have clicked OK, the permissions will be set. Depending on how many files you have selected will depend on how long this take, but this is not normally longer than a few seconds.