A Beginner’s Guide to FTP & Filezilla

A Beginner's Guide to FTP & FIlezilla

What is an FTP Program used for?

Your computer is not connected to your WordPress site. WordPress files live in a directory on your host company’s servers. An FTP program lets you download and upload files between your host and your local computer. 

It isn’t wise to go to Appearance → Editor and mess around on a live WordPress site but people do it all the time. The WordPress File Editor is turned off by some hosts and security plugins for security reasons. We prefer it that way. It is better to learn to use FTP to transfer files and to edit the files with a File Editor such as Komodo Edit.

FileZilla is an FTP (file transfer protocol) program used for uploading files to web servers. Filezilla is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

How to Download Filezilla to your Computer

  1. Go to http://filezilla-project.org/ 
  2. Select the Download Filezilla Client (NOT the server)
  3. Select the download version applicable to you (Windows or Mac)
  4. When the file finishes downloading, click on the download and a window should open up. Select Run

Now follow the installation instructions→ accept the License Agreement and install using the option “for you as user only”. 

Getting Connected

Before you connect you will need to find your login details…

The FTP login is not the same as your WordPress username and Password. Every host is different — if your WordPress host is Flywheel you will actually need to connect by SFTP

If you are on shared hosting, you may have received a welcome email from your host with the login information.   You can log in to the cPanel if you wish to change the FTP/cPanel password but make sure you keep it strong.

Now, open Filezilla and add the login details for a New Site. Click on -> File (Top Left corner) -> Site Manager

  1. click on New Site
  2. Host: probably yourdomain.ca or ftp.yourdomain.ca
  3. Change Logon Type from Anonymous to Normal
  4. enter your username
  5. enter your password
  6. click connect

If you want to connect by SFTP change the Protocol.
The Port field may need to be set to 22 or possibly 2222.

Complete this document with your FTP login information – save this file to your computer, edit it with your information. This will ensure that you always know where to find this important information when you need it.

Here is a video that explains how Filezilla works:

You can use FTP to backup your WordPress uploads and theme folders and to start modifying your WordPress child theme.

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