PDQ Library:  FTP

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol". An FTP client is a program that can publish files to your Web site while your computer is connected to the Internet either from a dialup connection or a LAN (check with your LAN admin to see if FTP is allowed or if you are behind a firewall). You can run any FTP program at the same time you run a browser or email reader. An alternate method is HTTP publishing using a web browser.

Web Hosting

You must first get Web hosting service to get space to store your Web site files that is viewable on the Web. Note that "free" hosting usually comes with costs - advertising, junk mail, etc. Your Internet connection provider may give you free personal Web space, but never use this for business. A business should register a domain name so the site will have a permanent name on the Web. A domain name is the smallest cost (less than $25/yr). Web hosting can cost from $50 per year to "What do you want to spend!" Shop online for reliable web site hosting service with the features you want at a competative price, and buy the domain from the same company.

Ottawa's community network at www.ncf.ca is an ISP that offers dialup and DSL connections plus web site hosting. They provide a subdomain (i.e. YOURBIZ.ncf.ca). An account also includes personal web space, and they even provide a spam-proof mail form you can easily put on your web page - very nice.

Web Site Publishing

You need software to create web pages and work with images (I won't deal with that here). Once you have created your Web site pages and images, you should test your Web pages. Then you need software to publish (upload) your files to your web host (web space). Here are a few of the many free options to publish your site.

  1. FireFTP addon (extension) can be added to your "Firefox browser". Features include uploading files and folders, directory comparison, syncing directories, SSL encryption, file hashing, etc.
  2. Microsoft's "Internet Explorer" browser can be used to publish files. Type "ftp://xxxxx.com" into the location bar (your web host can provide the address required for HTTP publishing). It will prompt for your Username and Password. Once logged on to your web site, you can Drag'n'Drop your files and folders.
  3. "FrontPage" comes with Microsoft Office. A "light" version is included with Windows XP.
  4. "WS_FTP" is a solid transfer application that millions have used. The last free version for personal use was version 5. (see below)

    Setup for WS_FTP LE:

    • "Session" = enter the name of your company.
    • "Host" = enter the host name of your ISP's FTP server given to you.
    • "Remote Directory" = enter the path given to you by your ISP.
    • "Username" = your ISP login name.
    • "Password" = your ISP password and check the "save password" box if you are sure no one else will use the software. Leave both blank to enter your password every time you connect to publish files.
    • "Local Directory" = the path of the directory on your home computer where you store your Web site files. Be sure to only use this directory for these files.

See a list of my favorite software.

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