Have you been using your browser to upload files to your website? If you have a web host like Hostgator (affiliate link), you could use there file manager to upload files using your browser. Or if you’re running a WordPress site, maybe you’ve been using the Media uploader to move your files from your hard drive to your site.
FTP – An Easier, Faster and more Powerful Way to Upload and Download Files To Your Site.
What is FTP? The acronym stands for File Transfer Protocol – but before everyone’s eyes start to glaze or you start to drift off (too late?), all you need to know is that an FTP Client is an app you can use to connect directly to the files of your website and navigate through them as easily as you do, the files and folders on your hard drive.
With an FTP client you can look at every file and go through every folder on your hard drive. You can create new folders, delete files, etc…
Here’s a screenshot, an example of what you would see when you have access to your website using an FTP app.
(This is Fetch, an FTP app for Mac)
You see the folders and files. Everything that you can access on your website.
You could double click on the folders to open them up. You can drag files around, and most importantly you can upload and download files, transferring them quickly and easily between your computer and your website.
Size Does Matter
Using a web browser, you’re typically limited to an upload size of 64mb (often less). If you work with large audio and video media files you know what a pain this is.
Using an FTP app you’re not limited. This makes it much easier to upload large media files, mp3 or videos.
And using FTP is much faster than a browser. Time is money.
Get More From Your Hosting Storage Space
You could even use an FTP client to setup your website’s storage space as a place to store large files or even host files that you want another person to download.
For example, you’re in Las Vegas and you’ve got a 50mb zip file full of plans, videos and other files for a particular project that you need to get to your partner in Chicago. Using FTP and your website, this would be easy.
- access your website with your FTP app
- select the 50mb zip file on your hard drive and upload it to your site
- once the file has completely uploaded send your partner the link to the file you just uploaded.
The link would look something like this: http://you-website.com/filename.zip
Now your partner can click on that link you just emailed to them and they can download the file to their hard drive. The don’t need ftp or any access to the files on your site. The link is all they need. Don’t worry, this won’t give them access to anything else on your site that isn’t publicly viewable.
Fetch and Filezilla
Fetch only works on Mac OS, so that will make the choice clear if you’re a Windows user. It is also a premium app and costs around $30.00. I’m a Mac user and I love fetch. Very clean, simple and easy to use.
Filezilla is a great option if you’re looking for a free option. Filezilla works on both Mac OS and Windows machines. Filezilla is a cool utility and the fact that it’s free and works on both Mac and PC makes it very cool. However, if you’re a Mac user I would really recommend at least trying the free 15 day trial of Fetch before you rule it out. While Filezilla is a great option, to me the interface is a little more cluttered that the UI of Fetch.
Check them out for yourselves, and happy file transferring!