FTPs, or File Transfer Protocols, are useful programs that help you to manage and transfer files between your computer and your web server. Using FileZilla or other FTPs makes file management incredibly easy, especially if your host doesn’t offer cPanel. FTPs can be used to edit, create, move, copy, and/or delete files on both your computer and your server, and so are incredibly useful tools for keeping your files organized.
If possible, it’s recommended that you use SFTP instead of plain FTP. The “S” stands for SSH, and it’s more secure than the older FTP because it uses SSH to transfer files to your host. Without this feature, an FTP has a completely open connection, which means other users on your server can see your information while it’s being transferred. At this point, most WordPress hosts only let you connect with SFTP, but it’s worth it to double-check before you start looking for clients.
When we talk about “FTPs,” we’re usually referring to (S)FTP clients. These are programs you can connect to your WordPress account to help you manage your site’s files from your web host’s control panel. By far, the most popular of these programs is FileZilla, but there are a number of FTPs out there for you to browse and choose from. Regardless of which program you choose, the first step is to install the program onto your computer. Free, open-source programs (like FileZilla) rely on advertising to pay the bills, so it’s definitely important to make sure that you decline the offer to install any “special offers” that will inevitably appear as a prompt somewhere during the installation process.
In order to connect your FTP to your WordPress site, you’ll need to get your port number, IP address, and SFTP username and password from your host. Most hosts already have an FTP account set up for you, so these credentials should be fairly easy to obtain. In cPanel, you can find your FTP credentials by first going to Files > FTP accounts. If you’re not sure where to find this information, or if your host doesn’t use cPanel, simply ask your web host where they are located. If you don’t automatically have an FTP account set up, it’s very simple to create one. Once you have all of this information, you can open your newly installed FTP and enter the information where prompted. This information will give the SFTP client full access to your WordPress site’s files, which you should see appear in the interface once the client has connected.
And it’s really as simple as that! Once your FTP has been connected with your site and located your files, you’ll see them appear in the FTP interface, where you can feel free to upload, download, edit, move, or delete files as you wish. This will make it a lot easier to manage your site. The FTP client you choose will allow you to use your preferred text editor to edit files, rather than using WordPress’ default editor. FTPs allow you to transfer files directly from your local staging environment, upload files in bulk, and import files from GitHub or other external sources directly into your WordPress site.
While all FTPs are set up a bit differently, most of them divide your folders and file locations into “Local Site” and “Remote Site” categories. The Local Site area shows you all of the files on your computer, while the Remote Site area shows you all of the files on your server. FileZilla shows both of these areas side-by-side on the home screen, with a display at the bottom of the screen where you can see the status of all your file transfers. Regardless of how your particular client presents these two areas, using an FTP makes transferring files between your computer and your server as simple as dragging and dropping files from one area to another. Once you’ve made your transfers, you can organize and categorize your files in whatever way is easiest for you. What would otherwise take hours of work can be done in just a few minutes.