FTP: an explanation and setup tutorial

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It’s an easy to way to bulk upload files to and download files from a web server. Every hosting provider (GoDaddy, Siteground, WP Engine, Kinsta, Bluehost, etc) provides the ability to use FTP.

In order to use FTP, you have to set up a couple things:

  1. Create an FTP account on the server you want to upload to and download from.
  2. Download an FTP client to connect to the server

Create an FTP account

How you create an FTP account differs from provider to provider. Listed below are links to some of the most common hosting providers. If you don’t see the name of your provider, just search {hosting provider’s name} ftp account, and the right article will show up.

  1. HostGator
  2. GoDaddy
  3. Siteground
  4. WP Engine
  5. Bluehost
  6. Kinsta

No matter what hosting provider you have, you’ll set up:

  1. A username
  2. A password
  3. The directory you want to log into (just leave this to default in most cases so you have access to your entire area of the web server)

You’ll need your website URL, the full username, and the password you created in order to log into your web server.

Download an FTP Client

There are a lot of FTP clients out there to choose from, but when you’re getting started, it’s good to go with a tried, tested, and free option: CyberDuck. It works on both Mac OS and Windows.

If you are on a flavour of Linux, go with FileZilla.

Setting up CyberDuck

Click the plus (+) sign at the bottom to add a new saved connection; this way you won’t have to keep adding your credentials every time you want to connect to your web server using FTP. Then you’ll fill out the Server URL (the URL of your website without the http or https), your username, and your password and close the window.

The web server connected in the Cyberduck app in the Mac OS

Then to connect to your web server, just double click on the saved bookmark, and you’ll be able to upload / download from your web server! You can drag any file into the web server or drag out any file or folder you want to download.

If you have questions or need a bit of a helping hand setting this up, send us a holler using the form below and we’ll help you out!

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