Explanations for beginners

Explain FTP for beginners, and how to use it to manage your site files

Explain FTP for beginners

When you deal with your site files regardless of the content system you use (Wordpress, Joomla, or others), you will need a system that helps you manage your site files in order to upload, upload files or even modify them, and this is what you can do using the file transfer protocol FTP.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to communicate and transfer files between computers on the Internet, where users can transfer and upload files to and from your website, and thus through FTP, you can manage your site files with ease, where you can edit and modify files and create backups Transfer files from your device to the server and back.

In this article, we will talk about explaining FTP and the software used with it, as well as how to effectively use it to manage your site files.


What is File Transfer Protocol (FTP)?

To begin with, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, a protocol that allows you to transfer files from one device or system to another regardless of the operating systems used. With FTP, you can connect to WordPress files and folders, thus enabling you to make changes to your files from deleting, modifying and repairing.

You may not need to use FTP, as you can access everything you want, upload files, edit files, upload a template, etc. through the WordPress control panel, or through the hosting control panel (cPanel). But in any case, you will need to use FTP to facilitate the communication process especially when the size of your site database increases, and in some other cases.

With FTP, you can do several things, including:

  • Troubleshoot WordPress problems
  • Deactivate themes and plugins if you can’t access the WordPress dashboard
  • Transferring your website to another hosting account, as we explained in detail
  • You can install templates or install plugins instead of installing them from the control panel in the usual way
  • Customize and modify your site files, as well as databases
  • Download and install WordPress, and upload large and multiple files or folders.
  • Make a backup copy of your site, as we explained it in detail

How does FTP work?

FTP is based on the exchange of files over the Internet, with two main parts:

  1. FTP client, called a program (FTP client), which you rely on to transfer files
  2. FTP server, called the FTP server that stores and manages your files

Thus, the FTP client is used to upload files from the FTP server, and we also use the FTP client to upload or save files to the FTP server.

In order to start the file transfer process, you must install the FTP program on your computer, as this program allows you to connect to an FTP server and download and upload files to and from the server, as well as upload or modify and transfer files, and manage your site files completely through your username and password for your FTP account.

How do you use FTP?

If you decide to use FTP to manage your site, you can establish an FTP connection in three ways:

  1. Via the FTP command line, through the use of (Command prompt), in Windows, Mac or Linux, a method that requires some technical expertise
  2. Using the browser to connect to an FTP server, through a direct connection between your computer’s browser and the server
  3. Using the FTP client, or as it is called the FTP client, where you install the program on your computer and use it easily

The most common and easiest way is to use the FTP client which will be explained in the rest of the article.

FTP client

There are many options available to choose the right FTP client from which you install the client (the software) on your computer and then use it to access your site files. The most popular FTP clients are:

  • FileZilla , the most popular, works on Mac, Windows and Linux
  • WINSCP , which is specially designed for Windows users and supports FTP, SFTP and SSH
  • Cyberduck is a free client that works with Mac and Windows
  • Transmit , works with MACs

username and password


When you run an FTP client, you will need the username and password to host your site in order to register them and be able to access your site files, and you can get the username and password through your web provider or through the cPanel control panel .

Note: This information is sensitive and no one can access it except the hosting owner (site manager), through the hosting control panel, and of course, do not share it with anyone.

You can also create a new FTP account and data for some other users of the site administrators, through the cPanel control panel, where you have to go to the FTP Account and a new window will open for you through which you can add a new FTP account, as in the following picture:

What are the steps to get started with FTP

As we said, in this explanation, we will rely on the use of an FTP client, which is the easiest way of the various protocols to use FTP, and to start using an FTP client to connect to your site data, you will choose the appropriate FTP client first, and we advise you to choose FileZilla, as it is what we will rely on in this explanation.

1. Download and install the FTP client

You can download FileZilla by going to the official website , and then pressing the Download FileZilla Client button

You will be taken to a new page from which you can download the program by pressing the green button: Download FileZilla Client   to start the download process

After downloading and installing the program, you will find the program interface as shown in the following image

Then you will need to do the second step of connecting to the server

2. Connect to the server

The FTP client, which you downloaded in the previous step, will connect a computer to the server, so you will be able to transfer, upload and modify files through your computer that is directly connected to the server.

In order to connect to the server, you will need some information, such as:

  • Host : The domain name or IP address of the website
  • Username , which means the username of your site’s FTP account
  • Password, which means the password for the FTP account.
  • Port, which is a number attached to an Internet Protocol address, will often be 21.

Note: As we explained, you can get the username and password from the hosting service provider , or from the cPanel control panel, or this information is often sent to your email when you purchase the hosting.

3. Connect with FileZilla

Now that we have an FTP client, and we have all the information needed to connect to the server, you can start and run FileZilla.

You will find that the main interface of the program is simple, and all you need to connect is to enter the previous information that we explained in step 2, then at the top of the program click on Quickconnect

After that, you will see a set of commands being executed until the server is connected and your site files appear as follows

The connection is now complete, and you can transfer, upload and modify your files between your device and the server.

Note: You can also connect to the server, through the main interface of the program you have to go to File > Site Manager

A new window will open, click on New Site, then fill in the required fields

  1. Protocol , by which you specify the type of protocol used and in this case you will choose: FTP
  2. Host , where you will put the main address of your site (www.example.com), or put the IP address.
  3. Logon type , keep it as normal
  4. Username , in which you will put the username
  5. Password , in which you will put the password

After filling in the fields, we click on Connect, in order for the connection process to take place, and then you can work on your files

Transfer files between your computer and server

After you connect to the server through FTP, you can now control your site files through FileZilla, easily. In the left section you will find the files for your device ( Local Site ), and below it you will find the files of your site ( Remote Site ), as shown in the following image:

If you want to upload a file from your computer to the server, you have to right-click and then Upload

But if you want to download, modify or delete a file from your site’s files, you can, through the Remote Site section, right-click and choose what you want.

Managing WordPress files with FileZilla

With FileZilla, you can control everything related to your WordPress site, from downloading and installing WordPress to installing plugins and themes, modifying files and other functions.

For example, how to disable a specific extension within your site through FileZilla, by going to your site files on Public_Html   and then to wp-content and heading to the Plugin file and then you can choose the extension you want and change its name to a new name and thus the extension will be deactivated, as In the following illustration

FileZilla Seeting . Settings

FileZilla contains many options that allow controlling and dealing with files, etc., and we review the most important of them as follows:


Also, in the drop-down list you will find the most important options as follows:

  • Site Manager , where you can control the settings of the site and its connection information by adding (protocol type, username, password, etc.). 
  • copy current connection , to copy the current connection information.
  • Export , Import , to export and import settings.
2. Edit
  • Network configration, to configure the firewall and router settings.
  • clear private data , you can delete some information from settings, contact information, etc.
  • Setting, contains many settings that you can control the files and more

For example , if you choose the Settings tab

  • From the Limit Local Port option , you can specify the minimum and maximum port that FileZilla can run on
  • From the Reconnection setting option, you can specify the number of times to try to reconnect to the site
  • From the transfer option , you can control and specify the speed of downloading files, etc.
3. Transfer

Through this tab, you can control the quality of files through transfer type by specifying whether you specify them, for example (Ascii, Binary or Auto). As well as the option ( Manual Transfer ), you can control the settings for downloading and uploading files manually.

4. Server

Also, in the Server tab, you can reconnect, disconnect, or write certain commands through (Custom Command).

Of course, there are many functions that you can implement for your site through the FTP protocol, but we tried to cover the most important elements that you need to know in order to be able to use FTP effectively to control your site files, and in this way, you can send and receive files between your device and the server. As a website owner, or web developer, you must work and use FTP to access your site, as it will make it easier for you to deal with many issues and problems in managing your site files.

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