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Transferring Your Web Pages

You transfer your Web site files to your folder on your Web server using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Your Web host should provide you with FTP access to your site. This means providing you with a user ID and a password, as well as assigning you a password-protected folder on its server where you can store your HTML and other files. You might also be assigned an account name, although usually not. This allows you to use an FTP program to access your Web site's folder on the Web (and any folders you create within that folder) so you can transfer your Web site files from your local machine to your server.

Choosing an FTP Program

There are lots of different FTP programs available. Here are a few you might want to check out:

  • WS_FTP at (Windows/free to $39.95). There are two versions available, WS_FTP LE and WS_FTP Pro. WS_FTP LE is free if you are: a student, faculty, or staff member at an educational institution; a U.S. federal, state, or local government employee; or using WS_FTP LE at home for non-commercial purposes. To download WS_FTP LE 5.08, click the Downloads menu option, select Evaluation Software, and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the WS_FTP LE download link.

  • CuteFTP at (Windows/$39.95). Uses a Windows Explorer-style interface. Includes their CuteHTML HTML editor, a $19.95 value.

  • FTP Voyager at (Windows/$49.95). Also uses a Windows Explorer-style interface.

  • CoffeeCup Direct FTP at (Windows/$30). Includes a built-in WinZip archive utility.

  • FreeFTP at (Windows/free). A free drag and drop FTP program.

  • FTP Commander at (Windows/free).

  • Transmit at (Macintosh/$24.95). Transmit 2 is for Mac OS 10.1 or higher. Mac OS 9 (or earlier) users can download Transmit 1.7 (displays nag screens after 15 days).

  • Fetch at (Macintosh/$25).

  • NetFinder at (Macintosh/$35).

  • gFTP at (Linux/Unix/free).

  • glFTPd at (Linux/Unix/free).

What You Need to Know

When you sign up for your Web space account, your Web host should provide you with all the information you need to connect to your Web space folder using an FTP program. At minimum, you will need a host address, username, and password:

  • Host address. Your Web host will provide you with a server name or Web address that you can use to connect to your Web site. It will be in the form name.domain.category, such as or, for instance. If you have your own domain name, you might also be able to connect to your Web site by using your domain name. I can access my Web site, for instance, just by specifying or

    AOL users: Use as your host name.

  • Username. If you have received your Web space from a local ISP or a commercial online service, this will likely be the same user-name you use to log on. If not, it will be the username you requested and/or had assigned to you when you signed up for your account. (Your user ID is case-sensitive.)

    AOL users: Use anonymous as your User ID.

  • Password. Your password will keep others from accessing your Web site folders. As with your user ID, if you have received your Web space from a local ISP or a commercial online service, your password will likely be the same as the password you use to log on to the Internet. If not, it will be the user name you requested and/or had assigned to you when you signed up for your account. (Your password is case-sensitive.)

    AOL users: Use as your password. (Your Web site will be located at

Tip at has customized tutorials for using WS_FTP to upload files to the Angelfire, AOL Hometown, Bizland, FortuneCity, GeoCities, Tripod, and V3space Web hosts. Just click the Online Tutorials option on the front page, scroll down to the Customized Tutorials box, click the list menu and select a Web host, and then click the Go button.

In WS_FTP LE, the Anonymous check box should be unchecked, because you'll be using a username and password to log into your server account. To have WS_FTP LE save your password so that you won't have to type it in every time you log in, select the Save Pwd check box.


Checking the Save Pwd (Save Password) check box causes your password to be saved to your hard drive in an encrypted form. If you're on a network connected to the Internet, or have an "always on" DSL connection, you should be aware that this might be a security hazard. A hacker, for instance, might conceivably be able to gain access to your computer, search for any passwords stored on your computer's hard drive, and then use readily available tools to decrypt them. So, take your pick: security or convenience. If you choose to not save your password, you'll have to type it in each time you connect. For a personal site, this really isn't a big deal, because you're not likely to have anything worth stealing. But if you're selling products using a shopping cart application and storing customers' credit card information on a secure server, you'll want to zealously guard your account's password.

In most cases, you shouldn't need to know anything else to connect to your Web site using FTP. In WS_FTP LE, just click on the Connect button, input a profile name, and then input the host address, username, and password. Remember that your username and password are case sensitive.

In the vast majority of cases, that is all you'll need to access your Web site folders on your Web host's server using an FTP program. You should be automatically switched to your Web site folder when you connect. If you still can't connect, some FTP programs will let you specify the host type. In most cases, your FTP program should be able to auto-detect what the host type is.

In rare instances, a Web host might also provide an account name, in addition to your user ID, that you'll need to connect to its server. An occasional Web host won't automatically switch you to your Web site folder, in which case you'll need to know the remote directory path to your folder on its server. Your Web host should let you know if either of these is required.

If your Web site folder is located behind a firewall (most aren't), your Web host should let you know what other settings you'll need to connect to your site. If you're located behind a firewall, that won't interfere with your uploading files.

If you're an AOL user, the first time you use the "FTP" keyword to go to the AOL FTP client, a folder is created for you using your screenname at Your Web address will be, if you've saved your home page (or index page) as index.html. You can set up a separate Web site for each of your screen-names. Once your Web site folder has been created, you can use the AOL FTP client or any other FTP client to upload your Web site files to your Web site. For additional information on uploading files to your AOL Web site, see:


Generally, if you save your HTML file as index.html, it will be opened automatically in a Web browser when the folder in which it is located is accessed. Thus, if the full address of your Web page is, for instance, you only need to specify to automatically open index.html. Although index.html is the most common file name used for an "index" page on the Web (or a page that will automatically be displayed in a browser without having to be typed in a URL), your Web server might use a different file name for this. Other common index file names include default.html, welcome.html, and main.html. Your Web server might also accept several of these, although it will recognize one over the others if more than one is located in your site's folder.

Setting Other FTP Options

You can usually specify additional options that can be used when connecting to your Web site using FTP software. For instance, here are some examples of additional options that can be set in WS_FTP LE's Session Properties window that is opened after clicking the Connect button:

  • Initial remote folder. Under the Startup tab, you can specify an initial remote folder that can be used when connecting to your site. For instance, it is common for your Web site folder to include another folder, often called www, in which your actual Web site files are stored. To connect directly to that folder, you would specify www as your initial remote folder (or whichever folder name where your Web site files are stored).

  • Initial local folder. Under the Startup tab, you can also specify the local folder where your Web site files are stored. For instance, you might specify C:\MyDocuments\MyPages (or whatever path points to the location of your local Web site folder).

  • Advanced options. These should only be fiddled with if you're having difficulty connecting. For example, you can increase the number of connection retries (up to 40 times) if you're not always able to connect the first time. You can also increase the network timeout, if you need more time to connect. You can also specify a port number, if your Web site folder is using a port number other than 21.

  • Firewall options. If you're connecting to the Web from behind a firewall, you may need to specify additional options under the Firewall tab. Check with your system administrator or query your Web space provider's technical help for information on how to do this.

Some WS_FTP Tips

If you're a qualified non-commercial or educational Windows user, you can download WS_FTP LE directly from the Ipswitch Web site at and use it for free. If you're not qualified to use WS_FTP LE, you can download the evaluation version of WS_FTP Pro. Once you've connected to your Web site folder, here are some tips for using WS_FTP:

  • Forcing lowercase remote file names. Click the Options button and the Sessions tab to specify this. If you always make sure that your link URLs specify lowercase file and folder names, setting this option will make sure that your link URLs and the actual file names match. Remember, on a Unix server, file and folder names are case sensitive, so MyPage.html and mypage.html indicate different files.

  • Listing ASCII file extensions. Click the Options button and the Extensions tab to specify this. In Auto mode, WS_FTP LE defaults to transferring files as binary files. You need to transfer HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, and text files as ASCII files. Under the Extensions tab, you can list .CSS, .HTM, .HTML, .JS, .TXT, and .XML as ASCII file extensions. WS_FTP LE will then default, in Auto mode, to transferring files with those extensions as ASCII files.

  • Navigating folders. WS_FTP LE uses a two-panel interface, with your local folder displayed in the left panel and your remote folder displayed in the right panel. To open a folder, double-click on its folder icon. To step back up one folder level, double-click the green arrow at the top of either of the folder panels. You can also type a path above the folder panels to go directly to a folder (or you can click on a panel's ChgDir button to do the same thing).

  • Transferring files. To upload a file from your local folder to your remote folder, open both folders in WS_FTP LE, click on the file you want to upload in the left panel, select the ASCII radio button if it is an HTML file or the Binary radio button if it is an image file, and then click the --> button between the panels. To download a file, just do the opposite, selecting a file in the right panel and clicking the <--button. Hold down the Shift or Ctrl key to select multiple files for transfer. You can also transfer a folder and its contents.

  • Renaming and deleting files. Select a file or folder and then click the panel's Rename or Delete button to rename or delete it.

  • Creating folders. As your site grows, you may want to organize it in separate folders. To create a new folder, first open the remote folder where you want to create it, and then click the panel's MkDir button.

  • Deactivating double-click file transfer. By default, WS_FTP LE will transfer (upload or download) a file if you double-click on it. If you're worried about mistakenly transferring files, you can deactivate it. Just click the Options button, the Advanced tab, and select either View file or Nothing as the double-click action.

  • Specifying your e-mail address. When connecting to a Web server with the Anonymous check box selected (which will insert anonymous as the username), most FTP sites expect you to specify your e-mail address (or any e-mail address, for that matter) as the password. Click the Options button and the General tab to specify the e-mail address you want to be inserted.

  • Specifying your text viewer. Click the Options button and the General tab to specify which program you want to use as your text viewer. Just click the Browse button to navigate to and select the text editor you'd like to use. To view a text file (such as an HTML file), just click it and click the panel's View button.

  • Closing and Exiting. Click the Close button to close your session. Click the Exit button to exit WS_FTP LE.

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