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FTP client software for transferring files to and from your web site

INTRODUCTION

FTP Client software allows you to connect to your web hosting account and upload / download files to and from your account. You can also use the "File Manager" tool in your cPanel which is very easy, but for advanced users sometimes FTP software offers extra advantages. Many webmasters and web site owners use FTP software when they need to transfer extremely large files or entire folders full of lot of files at once.

There are many FTP Client programs out there for you to choose from and most of them have similar functions / setting options. There are Free apps and Paid apps. There are apps just for PC, just for Mac, and even some for both.

You can use any FTP client software you wish (CuteFTP, SmartFTP, Transmit, the list of popular choices goes on...) but in this article we're going to use the free FTP client "FileZilla" for our example because it's one of the most widely used and because a lot of the settings in FileZilla would be the same or very similar in other FTP Client software.

IMPORTANT PREFACE

Important note for ALL users - We recommend that you avoid using the automatic FTP setup feature in your cPanel because it will most likely default your FTP client software to use SFTP Protocol and you'll have trouble connecting, as SSH port connections are not permitted. (We would remove that feature from your cPanel but if we did it would remove other important features). You should instead set up your FTP client manually using information from this article. And yes - you can still achieve a secure encrypted connection using the "explicit FTP over TLS if available" protocol which we've noted in the steps below and additional toward the bottom of this article.

VERY Important note for FileZilla users - If you recently downloaded FileZilla from SourceForge (or CNET, etc...) then you may have received some unwanted software (Adware/Junkware) along with it, especially if you did not opt-out of the extra software bundled with it during the installation process. We regret to report this as FileZilla has for many years been a very reputable top recommended FREE FTP client software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While FileZilla still is one of the best free FTP clients available, it is unfortunate that you have to be very careful not to install the "Optional" bundled junkware that comes with it. It is for this reason that we no longer provide a direct link here on the HelpDesk to download FileZilla. We still use FileZilla ourselves because when we started it didn't have any unwanted software bundled to it, and the automatic upgrades feature does not add any unwanted software at this time. We remain hopeful that FileZilla will eventually offer a download that is not packaged with added unwanted software and we'll update this article with links if they ever do.

FTP SETUP STEPS - USING FILEZILLA AS AN EXAMPLE

1. Assuming you already have it installed - open FileZilla and open the "Site Manager" feature.

2. In the Site Manager , click the "New Site" button and assign the new entry a Name (your domain name would make sense).

3. To the right of your new entry you'll see various settings. Start with the "General" tab selected.

Under the "General" tab, make the following settings:

  • Host: ftp.example.com (replace example.com with your domain of course)
  • Port: 21
  • Protocol: FTP - File Transfer Protocol
  • Encryption: choose one of these two options - "Use only plain FTP" or "Use explicit FTP over TLS if available"
  • Logon Type: Normal
  • User: Enter your hosting account master username (unless you're setting up an additional FTP account that you created)
  • Password: Enter your hosting account master password (unless you're setting up an additional FTP account that you created)

4. Now click the "Advanced" tab and make the following settings:

  • Server Type: Default (Autodetect)
  • Leave Bypass proxy NOT CHECKED (in most cases)
  • Default local directory: This optional setting allows you to set which folder on your computer to auto navigate to when connecting
  • Default remote directory: /public_html 
  • Use synchronized browsing is OPTIONAL and most users leave it unchecked
  • Adjust server timezone offset: also OPTIONAL and most users don't use it

5. Now click the "Transfer Settings" tab and make the following settings:

  • Transfer mode: Default (for most users)
  • Limit number of simultaneous connections - make sure this box is CHECKED
  • Maximum number of connections: 4 or lower (contact us if want a detailed explanation)

You can now click "OK" or "Connect" and FileZilla will save your settings in the Site Manager so that you can easily connect with just a couple clicks every time.

You can also create as many FTP connections for as many sites as you need to in the Site Manager. Very handy for users with multiple sites and/or FTP accounts.

ACHIEVING A SECURE CONNECTION USING WITHOUT SFTP SSH ACCESS

Our servers are configured to allow you to FTP over TLS encryption for added connection security. If you want a more secure FTP connection than "Plain FTP" you should use the following Protocol and Encryption settings in your FTP client software:

Protocol: FTP - File Transfer Protocol

Encryption: Use explicit FTP over TLS if available

NOTE - after you make the setting, the first time you use FTP to connect you'll receive a pop-up notice that says "The server's certificate is unknown".  The reason your FTP software thinks it's "Unknown" is because the certificate is for the hostname of the server and not your domain name. In other words - when your FTP client connects using TLS and examines the security certificate, it sees that your domain name is different from the hostname of the server and therefore thinks the cert is "unknown" when in reality it actually is known and perfectly fine. Simply put a check mark in the box next to "Always trust certificate in future sessions" and click OK to make this popup go away.

Click Here to Watch Full Software Setup and FTP Use Example

Click Here to Watch How to Set Up Extra FTP Accounts




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