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Using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is a popular method used for transferring data over the Internet. Most of the time you'll use FTP to transfer HTML files, images and scripts from your computer to your server.

To FTP to your server you'll need to acquire an FTP client. Please note that Windows users frequently have trouble with some FTP clients resuming an ASCII upload. Our FTP server software will automatically detect this behavior and fix it transparently.

There are a great many FTP programs available, some examples include:


After you've downloaded the program follow all the instructions for installation.

FTP Client Setup

The screenshots in this section are from CuteFTP but the principles apply to every FTP program.

To start your adventures in FTP you'll first have to open your FTP client. If you're using CuteFTP, you should be greeted with a window similar to the one below:

CuteFTP Site Manager Screen - 7k

Click on the "Add Site" button and a new window will appear. It will look similar to this:

CuteFTP Add Host Screen - 10k

  1. In the "Site Label" field type in your domain name.

  2. In the "Host Address" field insert your IP# or domain name(www.yourdomainname.com).

  3. The "User ID" and "Password" fields are case sensitive, enter both as you gave them to us.

  4. You shouldn't have to fill in anything else so hit "Ok" and you'll be brought to this screen:

CuteFTP Site Manager Screen - 6k

Hit the "Connect" button; CuteFTP will establish a connection to your server and display a screen like the one shown below:

CuteFTP FTP Screen - 13k

This window is divided into 3 sections. The top-most section displays all the commands that CuteFTP sends to the server. The right-most window displays what is on your server. When you FTP into your server you will see some directories. You'll want to put your files into the "public_html" or "webshare" directory. Lastly the left-most window displays what is on your PC. To upload/download files just drag-and-drop between the left and right windows.

Common FTP Errors

"I try to upload in ASCII and the transferred file is corrupt. Binary seems to work fine! What's going on?"

"Sometimes I upload an HTML file and it's corrupted at the end. Am I doing something wrong?"

Both of these errors are casued by the same problem. Some operating systems discern a difference between text and binary files. MS-DOS is one of them; text files in MS-DOS end each line with a carrige-return+linefeed. Windows-based machines have carried over this functionality, and as such ASCII files on these machines appear to be larger than the "same file" on a UNIX system.

What's actually occuring is your FTP client is trying to *resume* the ASCII upload. This is inappropriate for Windows-based machines; because ASCII files are different sizes on your machine than on the UNIX server, the FTP client is actually trying to resume from a point past the end of the file.

UNIX files can have gaps in them; these gaps are always NULL characters, and thus this behavior is not seen on downloads. But Windows machines can not have gaps. If you try and write to a file on a Windows machine at a point beyond the end of the file, the file will automatically grow; and in between will be seemingly random data.

The simplest workaround is to simply delete the file off of the server before uploading a new copy.

A more complete solution is to obtain another FTP client that knows that ASCII files cannot be safely resumed.

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