When you visit your website, you may notice your website browser’s address bar has: http://www.google.com in it. Note the http://.
HTTP stands for hyper text transfer protocol. It is a communication protocol that is used by websites and the website browsers to communicate with each other. So http is used for browsing websites.
HTTP’s sister is called FTP: file transfer protocol. FTP is used for transferring files between web servers and computers.
If you or your website designer manages a website, it will often be handy to have access to the files living on your website.
If you do want access to the file on your website, you will need to use an FTP client application. Common FTP applications are:
Once you’ve downloaded your FTP client software, you will need to create a connection to your website. For example, in FileZilla, click File > Site Manager > New Site. You’ll need to enter the following details:
- Host, e.g. ftp.yoursite.com
- Protocol: e.g. FTP
- Encryption: e.g. Use explicit FTP over TLS if available
You can obtain the values for these fields either from the initial email you received from your web hosting provider, or by contacting the web hosting provider specifically.
Once you’ve entered the values, click Connect, and hopefully your FTP client will connect over the FTP protocol to your website server.
If you do connect successfully, your FTP client will be presenting to you the live files on your website.
Do not delete, rename, or alter any files unless you specifically know what you’re doing, and you have made a backup of any file you are deleting/editing.