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Transfer Files by FTP with FileZilla

By 2007-08-20

If you have your own website, most likely you will be used to the regular task of transferring numerous files to the website from your computer. Whether it is an image, a document, a HTML page or a zipped attachment, it can be pretty tiring transferring them one by one if you are using a simple uploading tool provided by your web hosting company. This is where a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client comes in extremely handy as it can do a bulk upload of files from your computer to a web domain (or vice versa) at the click of a button.


At first I used FireFTP which is an excellent program but it is basically a Firefox extension built into your Firefox browser and I am a big believer in keeping Firefox extensions to a minimum, in order for Firefox to operate as fast as possible. For some unknown reason, I also felt umcomfortable having direct access to my website directory built into my internet browser. I am a big fan of stand-alone applications and when I found out there was also a portable version of FileZilla, I immediately switched to FileZilla. I loved it from the get-go.

Upon installing and opening it, you are asked for your FTP details. You can get these by looking at your web hosting page or asking your web hosting company for them (please note however that FTP transfer may not be possible for those with free hosting providers. When I had free web space with Yahoo Geocities, they forbade FTP uploads). Once you have your FTP details, enter them in the space provided at the top of FileZilla and click the button. After your web-host verifies your details, you will now have a direct link from your computer to your website directories. Plus from now on, FileZilla will remember your log-in details so you don’t need to enter them again (this can be disabled if you are concerned about the security implications).

On the left hand side of the screen, you will see the folders of your PC hard-drive. On the right you will see the folders of your website directory. To move files from one to the other, just click and drag them to wherever you want them to go and the folders will automatically update. You can also edit and delete folders and file names from inside FileZilla.

The only slightly annoying thing about the program is that if you are transferring a very big file, FileZilla times out and disconnects after 5 minutes, which means you have to log in again (but since the program remembers your log-in details, logging in only takes a few seconds). However, despite FileZilla timing out, the file transfer continues uninterrupted, which is a great feature. I’m sure there is a way to disable the time-out feature – I just haven’t found it yet. If anyone knows how to fix this, please do let me know.

FileZilla comes in a variety of languages, is completely free, supports encrypted websites (https) and a new beta version has just been released which shows the application is still very much in development. The interface is also simple, pleasant and very easy to use. I was very happy when a portable version for USB flash drives was released as now I can transfer files while on the move.

If you are a website owner, FileZilla should be your one and only choice for transferring files.


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