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How to FTP

Tutorial on CuteFTP v2.8


There are many different kinds of FTP software available but for this tutorial I will be going over CuteFTP which is the software I use. I will also be doing a similar tutorial on the use of WSFTP which is another very popular FTP software.

If you are currently using some other brand of FTP software then don't panic, the principles involved in FTPing are the same for all software.

First of all let me define FTP and what it does. FTP stands for File Transfer Protical. Proticals are a sets of rules and directions that your computer follows to perform certain functions. In this case you will be transferring html documents and images you create on your computer to the web server where they can be seen on the World Wide Web (www).

  • Getting Started
  • Log-In to the server
  • File Types
  • Tips and Shortcuts


    (Step 1) - Getting Started

    When you open CuteFTP you will get a screen that looks something like this depending on what version you are using.

    Start-up Screen

    The small window in the center of the screen is the FTP Site Manager screen. This is where you will login to your site and edit your login settings. You will see three buttons that have the option of "Add Site", "Delete Site", and "Edit Site". Click on the "Add Site" button and you will get this screen.

    Add Host Screen

    You will need to put in the following information.

    Site Label
    The site label is just that, you are labeling this site login on your computer. You can call it anything you want but I usually call it the site name. For instance my site label for RetailSignShops.com is Retail Sign Shops (I'm so creative). This is what you will see in your list of login files.

    Host Address
    Place www.retailsignshops.com in this space.

    User ID
    This is the username you chose when you set up your hosting account.

    Password
    Again this is the password you chose when you set up your account.

    Host Type
    Select Auto-Detect from the pull down menu.

    Initial Remote Directory
    Leave this blank.

    Remote Directory Filter
    Leave this blank.

    Local Filtering
    Check this box.

    Initial Local Directory
    This is where you are storing your files on your computer. I have my files stored on my C drive in a folder called "html". In that folder I have a subfolder called retailsignshops so my Initial Local Directory looks like this, C:\html\retailsignshops. Notice I have used back slashes in the directory path and not the forward slashes normally associated with the web.

    Local Directory Filter
    Leave this blank.

    Login Type
    Check the Normal button

    Transfer Type
    I check the Auto-Detect box. I will go over the two types of
    files transfers and why each of them is used a little later. Click here to read more about Transfer Types.

    Now click OK.

    Return to the Top.

    (Step 2) Log-In to the server.

    If you just added a site and you clicked the "Ok" button you will be back to the FTP Site Manager Screen. The new site label that you just created should be on the right hand side of the screen. NOTE: You can get back to the FTP Site Manager Screen at anytime by pushing the F4 key on your keyboard. The screen will look like this. Since I work on multiple web sites my FTP Site Manager screen has has a long list of site labels on the right hand side.

    FTP Login Screen

    The FTP Site Manager Screen is where you will login to your web site so you can transfer files. You can do this by single clicking on the site label you wish to login to and clicking "connect", or you can simply double click the site label of the site you want to login to. If you have entered your information correctly you will see a screen like this.

    I have my setting to show my local files on the left and the server files on the right. Read you manual to make these setting.

    You are now ready to transfer your files to and from the web server. You can click on a file and drag it to the other site to make a transfer or you can double click the file to make the transfer. Remember this is a two way street. You can send files from you computer to the server and you can retrieve files from the server onto your computer.

    Return to the Top.

    (Step 3) File Types

    There are two types of files that you will be transferring, Binary (Image) and ASCI (text). When set on Auto-Detect you computer will determine what type of files you are transferring and automatically select the right mode to transfer them in. It does this by looking at the files extensions. If your file is a .html or .txt file it will select ASCI mode and make the transfer. If you files is a .gif or .jpg file it will select Binary.

    Most common files extension are already loaded into the software but there are some that are not. If you are having trouble with your files corrupting when you transfer them then make sure the file extension is in the directory.

    If you need to add a file extension to the list then select FTP in the upper left corner of the main screen, then select Settings, then Text file extensions and add your new extension to the list.

    Return to the Top.

    (Step 4) Tips and Shortcuts

    Always, always, always make back up files. I always transfer the file I am going to work with from the server to my computer first thing. This will insure you are always working on the latest version of the page. Then after I have made changes to the file I rename the file on the server and upload my revised version. For example if I am going to work on the index page I will transfer it to my computer, make my changes, rename the file on the server to index_02_05_00.html then transfer my changed index.html file back to the server. This way if I have made a mistake I can always go back to the original document.

    F key functions

  • F1 Help
  • F2 Removes the Name, Size, Date, and other headers from the desktop.
  • F3 Brings them back.
  • F4 Brings up the FTP Site Manager screen
  • F5 Refresh
  • F6 Shows the server files only
  • F7 Shows your local files only
  • F8 Directory Information
  • F9
  • F10 Adds status bar to the bottom.
  • F11 Directory Comparison Options

    Shortcut Keys

    You can single click on a file then right click and you will see the options. Here are a few shortcuts to that process.

  • Ctrl + N Will allow you to rename a folder or file
  • Ctrl + M Will allow you to create a new folder
  • Ctrl + D Change Local Directory
  • Ctrl + L Define Filter

    Return to the Top.



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