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A Primer On The Basics Of FTP Accounts

By Elad Domb

Many business people have heard web designers talking about FTPs but few are familiar with what they actually involve. FTP is a simple and very effective way of updating websites and adding information to them. To understand what FTP involves, it is helpful to first understand what exactly it is.

What Is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is the mechanism that is used to transfer information and data from a basic format onto a website so the information is published online. Most often, the FTP program allows the transfers of many files at the same time to the host server. This means that once files have been transfer via FTP to a server, you can immediately go online and be able to see the information on your website.

Who Manages the FTP Process?

Naturally, you do not want just anybody to be able to access and upload information to your site. FTP access is therefore controlled; in order to use the protocol, you need to have user rights which are password protected. Most hosting providers allocate user rights in the form of an FTP account. Usually it is the web designer who will have FTP access in the form of these user rights. When you are creating or updating any of the information on the site, you will send the details to your web designer and they will FTP the information onto your website.

Allocating Users for FTP Accounts

In order to facilitate the FTP process, you will first need to set up FTP user accounts for those people who will be working on the website and require access to it. Each user account will be made up of a unique user name and password. This will grant users access to a specific website on a specific hosting account. When an FTP account is created, a folder is created on the public html level of your website; however, it is not available to anyone using the Web. In order to access the pages, you would need to known the account details and specific address. The user that knows the account login details will be able to upload information to the site. It is possible to set up several different user accounts for the same website, providing access to different parts of the website. It is also possible for one user to have access to more than one website they are working on.

Setting up an FTP Account

The technical side of setting up a FTP account will depend largely on what type of server and software you are using. The actual coding is slightly different in each of the programs but the principle of setting up FTP user accounts is basically the same. When you purchase your web hosting plan, it will come with an FTP connection you can use to upload information to your website. An FTP account needs to be set up manually. This is generally done through the web-based FTP management system which is usually provided by the hosting company. Once logged into the management system, you will can create, delete or edit the FTP user accounts. Once this is set up, your FTP will be ready to use. Typically, the FTP will be located at your domain name. In other words, if you were to type in into your web browser, this will take you to the public FTP domain. Once there, you will be asked for a user name and password. When you have filled in these details, you will be able to view the files located in the FTP folder on the server.

Why Use FTP?

Some people may argue that FTP is not the most secure way to transfer files to a website. However, there is little debate that it is the most widely used mechanism to upload information onto a website. This is largely because it is the most proven method and subsequently, the most popular. The primary benefit of using FTP transfer compared to other web-based file managers is that the FTP type of connection facilitates uploading an entire directory tree at once. In addition, you stop the upload at any stage of the process and then resume it again at a later stage. FTP is used by CMS systems that use PHP applications, such as the widely known Joomla, evidencing its efficiency.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Domb, Elad "A Primer On The Basics Of FTP Accounts." A Primer On The Basics Of FTP Accounts. 11 Jul. 2010. 25 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Domb, E (2010, July 11). A Primer On The Basics Of FTP Accounts. Retrieved December 25, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Domb, Elad "A Primer On The Basics Of FTP Accounts"

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