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How to upload files to your host using FTP

f you’ve recently moved to your first hosting package you may be struggling to get to grips with getting the files you want online. This guide should explain how you upload your blogging files and images online to the webspace you have with your hosting space. If you still have some questions at the end of this guide please let me know and I will clairfy and update this post accordingly :)

Step 1 – Choose your FTP Client

In this example I will be using Netfile however the steps I will be showing you are applicable to most FTP clients. The client you use really is a matter of preference. I personally prefer Netfile and it’s the one ive grown accustomed to however there are many other popular FTP programs like like Cute FTP and Smart FTP which are also pretty good. is the best place to search for FTP software.

Step 2 – Input your blogs hosting details

Add your detailsMost FTP clients work in the same way. They ask how to connect to the hosting space you have and then give you the option to save this information in a profile attached to the site so that you can connect to your website next time without having to input the connection details again.

Here is a summary of the information you need enter to connect. I red titles are the areas your info has to be 100% correct to connect to your host.

  • Site Profile Name : This part allows you to name the connection. The name is irrelevant really and is just a way for you to remember what site/blog the connection is for – you could call it ‘My Blog’ or ‘Monkey Monkey Splash Splash’ – it really doesn’t matter…..although if you call it the latter you might want to seek medical help ;)
  • Address : This is where you tell the FTP client what server on the web you are trying to connect to. You do this by either putting in the main address of your blog or the ip address of your server (which you will have details of in the confirmation email sent to you by your hosting company). It doesn’t matter what you use as both refer to the same server on the internet.
  • Port : You don’t need to worry about this at all as its always 21. You can see some basic info about this here.
  • Initial Path : The initial path section allows you to connect directly to specific folders you want on your host. This can be incredibly handy if you have a lot of subdirectories as you can set up multiple profiles to connect to all the different areas of your site. For example, if I wanted to create a connection directly to the forums section of BloggingTips I would enter /public_html/forums/ in this section.
  • Anonymous FTP Site : If you click this box then you will not have to input the username and password however, most hosting packages require you to connect securely so this will probably not be used that much.
  • User Name & Password : When you purchase a hosting package you will get login details sent to you by email. 99% of the time the username and password you need to enter here is the same as the username and pass you need to access your hosting admin area (eg cpanel) however 5 or 6 years ago I had used a host for a few months which gave me different login details for accessing the hosting admin area and accesssing the ftp area so in the offchance your hosting company does give you different logins, this information can be found in the hosting information email sent to you after you purchase the hosting (if you still cant find this information contact your host).
  • Description : This adds a description to the connection profile. I’ve personally never used this however some people might find a use for it.

Upload modeMost FTP clients let you decide how you upload the files. You may upload using Auto, ASCII or Binary.

You should always set this to auto unless the installation instructions of a script say otherwise. ASCII files are simply text files and binary files are images however auto can tell the difference the majority of the time. There have been scripts I have installed the past that have to be uploaded in ASCII mode but in such a case the website always tells you such so leave this in auto unless requested to.

Step 3 – Connecting to the correct area

When you connect to your host you are not taken directly to the main folder of your blog which has all the files, you are taken to the folder directly above it. The top folder of your hosting area has various areas including stats, email account info and whatnot. The folder where you upload all the files to your live website is here too. With the majority of hosting websites this directory is callled public_html however it can be called anything. If public_html isn’t there then consult your host to determine where your main directory is stored (public_html is nearly always used with linux hosting, windows servers sometimes use something else like www).

The highest level of your hosting space not being where you upload your website files is something that causes a lot of problems for new webmasters. The most common error is uploading all files to this area or a random subfolder instead of under public_html.

Have a look at the screenshot below to see what I mean :

Always make sure you upload to the right directory

You will notice that there is a trash folder, temp folder, email folder as well as some other files. This should be the kinda thing you see if your host is using cpanel.

If you want to upload index.php then you need to upload the file to public_html/index.php for the file to be live on your blog/site. If you upload it to /index.php or /tmp/index.php then the file will not be displayed on the internet.

Remember the ‘Initial Path’ section in the connection details. If I had to enter /public_html/ for the BloggingTips connection then when I click connect I would be taken directly to the folder which has all the files for the blog and forums.

If you look back at the screen print you will see a folder called www. You can also upload files to this folder (nearly always!). The www folder simply redirects to the public_html folder – ie. you could upload your index.php file to the www folder but the relative path should still be something like /home/blogsite/public_html/index.php. This is simply because www is simply a shortcut.

In Summary, always make sure you upload to the correct file directory – this is nearly always public_html but check with your host if it isnt there.

Step 4 – Uploading your files

UploadAt this point you should now be at your main file directory so its just a matter of choosing the files you want to upload, right clicking on them and then choose upload. A lot of FTP’s work a little different and have your hard drive folders and your web space folders side by side in a vertical display with an upload and download button in the between. It really doesn’t matter how your FTP does this – all you need to do is click and upload.

Some FTP’s allow you to overwrite files automatically when you click upload. If your FTP lets you do this I encourage you to choose to manually check all uploads as it’s very easy to click on the wrong file for upload – this is when you appreciate the skip button!!


That’s it – You should now be able to upload the files you want to your hosting space!

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