Transferring Your Files with FTP
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) enables computers to transfer files across the Internet. FTP is intended to enable users to exchange files, while shielding them from the complexities of using different systems (such as Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX). If you’ve ever clicked on a Web page link that downloaded a file to your computer, FTP was possibly the mechanism that transferred it. (HTTP, the protocol used to transfer Web pages, also supports file transfer.) FTP is typically the protocol that Web developers use to upload Web pages to a remote server. Both computers in an FTP exchange must have FTP software installed on them to perform the
The following are the requirements for using an FTP utility:
· Your computer (the local host) must have FTP software and must be attached to a network.
· The computer to which you are attaching (the remote host) must also have FTP software and be attached to a network that is accessible from your network (via the Internet, for example).
· You must know the domain name (for example, ftp.acme.com) of the remote host. Alternatively, you can use the remote host’s IP address.
· You must know the account name and password on the remote host. The remote host’s administrator might have set up certain storage locations on the server to accept an anonymous connection. In many cases, for anonymous connections, you must provide the account name anonymous and provide your email address as the password. Usually, servers that support anonymous FTP have been set up to provide the general public with
access to download (and, in rare cases, to upload) files.
There are numerous software applications that you can install to FTP. Some of these applications support advanced features, such as multithreaded downloads (in which the program opens more than one connection to the server, and can download several files at one time, speeding up the time necessary to download a batch of files). Such programs also enable you to save a list of FTP sites that you commonly access, so that you can make a connection without having to enter a URL, directory path, account name, and password each time you connect. The following graphic shows a popular Windows FTP application called WS-FTP.
The WS-FTP application has two windows: the window on the left shows you the directories on your computer and the window on the right shows you the directories on the computer you want to interact with. Between the two windows are arrow buttons which point to each window.
To use WS-FTP to send a file from your computer to a remote computer, you simply navigate to the directory that holds your file, select the file (or files) and then click the arrow button pointing to the remote computer. Downloading a file to your computer works in the opposite fashion: navigate to the directory on the remote computer that holds the file you want, select
the file (or files) and then click the arrow button pointing to your local computer. The scrolling text box below the two windows that informs you if your file has been successfully transferred.
Most Web browsers also support FTP. You can download a file by simply clicking on a link that has an FTP URL (such as ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/deskapps/readme.txt), or you can enter an FTP URL right into your browser’s address bar.
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