Long before Dropbox, FTP pages had become household terms. “the cloud.” FTP is a long-established standard that allows file transfer over the Internet. FTP standard is a File Transfer Protocol. For the distribution of applications, documents and other files, many companies, including Microsoft and the Internal Revenue Service, use FTP pages.
You also get access to an FTP site, even though you often need a user name and password without special permission. Your web browser is the fastest way to download files on an FTP site. You need an FTP client program to upload files.
Anonymous FTP Site
Most public FTP sites don’t need an account and allow you to log in anonymously instead. In most cases, you will not need to log in, while in other cases, you will need to enter your username and email address as a “anonymous” password in order to connect to FTP. If the FTP website is restricted, mostly on commercial websites or university websites, the site administrator may prompt you to provide your assigned username and password.
Web Browser Access
Your web browser is probably the easiest way to link to the FTP site. When you see a link on a Web page to the FTP site, simply click on the link. Enter it in your browser’s address bar if you have only the FTP site address. Use ftp:/ftp.domain.com format. If a username or password is required in the web, you will be prompted by your browser. When you are on the web, click on a folder or link at the bottom of the page to see its contents. To start the download process, you can click on a file. You cannot upload files to the FTP site, which is the principal downside to using your web browser. You need an FTP client for this purpose.
How to Access FTP Servers in Windows’ File Explorer
You can link to FTP servers using the Windows File Manager–known as the File Explorer on Windows 10 and 8 as well as Windows Explorer on Windows 7.
- Click on the “This PC” or “Computer” button to log in to an FTP server, open a Windows Explorer or File Explorer window. Only right-click the “Add a network location” pane and select.
- Go through the wizard that appears and select “Choose a custom network location”.
- Enter the address of the FTP server in ftp:/server.com form in the dialog “Specify the location of your website.”For example, the FTP server for Microsoft is ftp.microsoft.com, so that if we were to link to that specific server we would enter ftp:/ftp.microsoft.com here.
- You may also check the “Log on anonymously” box and sign in to the server without a username and password if you don’t have a username and password. You have restricted server access–usually, you can download openly accessible files but not, for example, upload them.
- Enter your username here if you have a username and password. You will be asked to enter your password when you first link to the FTP server.
- Now a name for the network location will be asked for you. Enter any name you want – with this name the FTP site will appear, so you can easily remember which one.
- When done, the FTP Site appears in the panel of this PC or Computer under “Network Locations.” Copying and pasting files into and out of this folder will download files and upload files.
Mac OS X
You can navigate an FTP site from a Finder window directly by using a Mac. Click the “Command-K” button and ftp:/ftp.gnu.org enters the FTP site address. OS X is opening a new FTP site Finder window. This window can be used to drag files from and to the FTP site.
Other FTP Clients
How to Access FTP Servers in the Command Prompt
In the Prompt command window you can also do this with the ftp command. This command is included in Windows.
Open a Prompt Command window to do this. With Windows 10 or 8, right-click on the Start button or on your keyboard, press Windows+X and choose “Prompt order.” Check for “Command Prompt” in the Start menu on Windows 7.
Type ftp and click the Enter button on the prompt. The prompt is turned into an ftp> prompt.
Open form followed by FTP web address to connect to a server. For instance, you would type for connecting to the FTP server of Microsoft:
Then a username will be prompted. Type in the site’s username and password. If you don’t have any, “Anonymous” and a blank password can be entered to see if anonymous access is possible from the FTP server.
Once you’re connected, you can navigate the FTP server with the
cd commands. To view the contents of the current directory, type:
To change to another directory, type the
cd command followed by the name of the directory. For example, you’d type the following command to change to a directory named “example”:
To upload or download files, use the
For example, to download a file named example.txt in the current FTP folder, you’d type:
To upload a file stored on your desktop named example.txt to the FTP server, you’d type:
When you’re done, just type the following command and press Enter to close the connection:
Although applications like Cyberduck or FileZilla have plenty of advanced features, both of which are excellent choices for simple FTP browsing, uploading and downloading, which are not integrated in Windows.