Connecting to your site using an FTP client

Using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) you can easily upload large quantities of files to your site, including web pages and images. This system uses a specialized FTP server that links directly to your site's database. By connecting and uploading files via FTP, you can take full advantage of the underlying Content Management System and reduce production time. If you are new to working with FTP, read Understanding FTP.When you use FTP, you are essentially using the same file transfer process used by the File Manager in the Admin Console.

If you work with Dreamweaver, you can also use the Dreamweaver authoring environment (the Files panel) to upload site files.To learn more, see Uploading files with the File Manager and Dreamweaver

If you do not have full permissions to administer your site, be aware that your user account must have the FTP permission enabled; otherwise attempts to upload files to the remote server will be ignored. If you are not sure if you have the necessary permissions, contact your site's administrator. When this permission is enabled, you'll have the ability to create, edit and delete all content types using FTP. It is a powerful tool, which comes with a great deal of responsibility. Take extra care whenever using FTP to ensure that existing data on the live site is not accidentally overwritten or deleted. If you do not currently have permission to use FTP, ask your site's system administrator to grant you FTP privileges.

 

Connecting to the host server with FTP

The host address that you'll use to connect to the host server is the same as connecting to your site. It is not necessary to add the ftp prefix to your domain name when connecting via ftp. The host address you'll use looks just like your web address, without www, like this: 

my_domain_name.com.

If you are hosting more than one site on this system and you use the same username to access the Admin Console for each one, you'll update your login name to specify which site to upload the files. To login using FTP to one of your sites, you'll append your site's  domain name to your email address.

For example, if your domain name is http://my_domain_name.com and your email address is: email@my_domain_name.com then your username will follow this structure:

my_domain_name.com/email@my_domain_name.com

Note: If your site is still a trial (and its final domain name hasn't yet been added to the system) then you'll need to append the current trial site URL you use to log in. In this case, the username will look more like this: 

my_trial_site.worldsecuresystems.com/email@my_domain_name.com

You'll use your existing password; when connecting via FTP, you'll use the same password that you use to log in to the Admin Console 

 

Understanding FTP clients

There are many free third-party FTP programs that you can download and use for free. Be aware that some are platform-specific, and download the software that matches your operating system. A partial list is provided below:

You can find other FTP clients by searching on the following terms using your favorite search engine: Download free FTP client.

While the interfaces may look different, they all work the same way. Usually you can see two panels (a list of the files currently residing on the remote host server, and a list of the local files that exist within the local root folder of your site on your machine). You'll use the credentials (described in the next section) to log in, and then click a connect button to see the remote files. 

 

Credentials to use when logging in with an FTP client

When you use a third-party FTP client, you'll need to enter the login details to connect to the host server and update your live site. 

Use the following syntax (replacing your site's name with my_domain_name.com and your email with email@my_domain_name.com) to log into your site via FTP:

  • Host: my_domain_name.com
  • Username: my_domain_name.com/email@my_domain_name.com
  • Password: The same password you use to log into the Admin Console
  • FTP Mode: Passive

Note: If you are still unable to connect, verify that the network you are using does not have a firewall set up (such as a corporate office, a government agency, etc.) because this could also result in FTP connection issues. If you suspect that you are behind a firewall, try connecting outside the office, using a different network. 

 

Supported file types

The FTP service for this system supports uploading files that use the following file extensions, among others:

  • .htm and .html
  • .txt
  • .css
  • .js
  • .pdf
  • Images (.gif, .jpg, .png)
  • Flash files (.swf)
  • Media Files (.rm, .wma, .mp3, .flv)

You can also upload these file types using the File Manager in the Admin Console.

Many other file types are allowed, so try uploading your file first, to see if it works. If you cannot upload a file type that you think should be supported, contact the Support team with your request.

 

Uploading files using FireFTP (a free, cross-platform Firefox browser add-on)

You can download the Firefox browser and the FireFTP add-on for Firefox, which is a utility that adds FTP functionality within the browser's interface. It works on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. This is not trial software and does not require any other programs to work. Using FireFTP, you can upload, download, delete, rename files with ease, just as you work with local files on your computer. Follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Firefox browser
     
  2. Visit the Add-ons page and install FireFTP by clicking the Add to Firefox button.
     
  3. Choose Tools > FireFTP to launch FireFTP in the browser.


     
  4. In the top left corner, use the   menu to select Quick Connect.


     
  5. In the QuickConnect window that appears, enter the Host, User Name and Password for your site in the provided fields. 


     
  6. Click the Connection tab and verify that the Passive Mode option is enabled.


     
  7. Click the Connect button to connect to your remote site. The page updates to display two panes. The left side displays your local site files and the right side displays the files that are currently uploaded to the remote host server.


     
  8.  To upload a file from your local machine to the remote server, select the file in the left pane and click the arrow pointing to the right. This causes the file from your local root folder (the folder on your computer that contains all of your site files) to be published to the live site. 

    Note: Be aware that if you upload a file with the same file name as an existing file on the remote server, the live file will be overwritten by the new version of the file that you've just uploaded. This is expected (and works the same way as when you move files on your computer to other folders). This behavior enables you to update web pages on the live site. However, you can also accidentally override pages on the live site, so be careful to only use the same file name if you intend to overwrite a remote file with a newer, edited file from your local machine. 
     
  9. To download a copy of a file from the live site (remote folder) select the file name in the right pane and click the arrow pointing to the left. This causes the selected file to download to your computer. When you plan on overwritting a file, it is a best practice to download the existing file from the remote site first (so that you have a backup of it locally) so that if things go terribly wrong, you can always re-upload it and undo the changes you make. 
     
  10. To delete a file in either the local or remote panes, right-click (or Control-click) the file name and choose Delete from the menu that appears.

      
     
  11. When you are finished uploading files, click the Disconnect button and then close the browser window.

To learn more about working with FireFTP to upload and manage site files, see the tutorial on the jtoolkit website.

To get instructions on uploading files via FTP using the Admin Console or Dreamweaver's Files panel, see Uploading files with the File Manager and Dreamweaver

If you are having issues, read Troubleshooting FTP connectivity issues.

 

 

Using FTP to upload files versus editing working/live web pages in the Admin Console

When you log into the Admin Console and choose Site Manager > Pages, you can select specific pages and make changes to them. When the changes are complete, you have the option of Save or Save and Publish. The Save and Publish button uploads your changes to the live site, pushing the updated page live. When you click Save, the system saves a working copy of the page, to retain the changes you made, but does not update the live site. That way, you can return to the page later and continue editing it. 

When using FTP to upload web pages, the workflow is different. Uploading the files is essentially the same as clicking the Save and Publish button, because the files you upload to the remote server are instantly published. When uploading files with FTP, you do not have a button with the option to save the changes without publishing them; instead you simply work with the file on your local machine and do not upload it until your want the changes to be published to the live site. 

This behavior is consistant with the usual web production workflow, when using any FTP client (or Dreamweaver) to upload site files.

Since all uploaded files instantly affect the live site, it is important to understand this responsibility. Tread lightly when uploading pages, and only upload them after you've tested the pages locally in a browser and confirmed they are ready for public viewing.

Additionally, if you are the site administrator, only grant FTP permissions to site users that understand how FTP works and are careful not to delete files from the live site (or overwrite them). To ensure the site does not encounter issues, only assign FTP permissions to those users who are familiar with the process of uploading files via FTP and the ramifications of modifying files on the remote server.