Using FileZilla To Upload a Website.

Posted on October 23rd, 2015


Once you have purchased hosting and a domain name, you will want to get some content onto your site. One of the best ways to do that is with ftp. Although many people use a script in their hosting account’s control panel to install a content management system such as WordPress, and then create all their content through the editor in their WordPress installation, there are definite advantages to being familiar with ftp. Ftp is a very robust protocol which is great for large uploads. You can even pause an upload, take your laptop away from your internet connection and resume the upload when you return. If a rogue plugin or a piece of bad code you inserted into your theme’s function file keeps your WordPress dashboard from opening then you can delete the plugin folder with ftp or correct the error in your functions.php file through an ftp program.


The most commonly used ftp program is Filezilla. It is completely free, full of features and well supported through a peer forum. Go to  to get it. For now, you want Filezila client. If you prefer a zip file to the setup.exe method of installation you can click on the ‘more download options’ link.


Once you have installed the program, enter  your domain name, user name and password, and click on quickconnect. Unless your hosting company instructed you to use a specific port in your welcome email, you can leave the port setting blank.


You will see two windows. The one on your left is your local computer and the one on your right is the file structure at your hosting company. You can drag files between the two windows or double click on them to upload or download them.


You can also accomplish this by right clicking and selecting upload or download. Often the files that display on the web will need to go in the public_html folder on your server. This will vary with different hosting companies.



Here is a test document you can upload. (just paste it into a text editor change the save option from text to all files, then save it as test-upload.html):

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN” “”><HTML><HEAD> <META HTTP-EQUIV=”Content-Type” CONTENT=”text/html; charset=UTF-8″><TITLE>Test upload</TITLE><STYLE TYPE=”text/css”> body{font-family:Verdana,Geneva,sans-serif;font-size:18px;line-height:1.3em;color:#000000;background-color:White;}</STYLE></HEAD>

<BODY><H1>Test upload</H1>

<P>… Change the content here!</P>




If you prefer not to type your information each time then you can use the site manager. Reach it by selecting file|site manager. Choose the general tab, again enter your domain name where it says host.




Now go to the Login Type drop down box,  change it to normal and enter your user name and password. Hit OK to save or CONNECT to connect and save. If your computer is ever lost or stolen you will need to change passwords immediately as these are stored on your drive in clear text. A great advantage of Filezilla is that it can be installed on a thumb drive giving you access to as many sites as you have stored in your site manager from any computer you plug into. Read through one of the tutorials available on the web on how to do this as there are a couple tricks involved.


Once you are more familiar with Filezilla you should browse through all the settings to see what they do. I would also do a search for ‘filezilla tips’. Even experienced users will often find there are ways to work more efficiently  that they have missed. To get you started I’m going to give you 4 of mine:

  1. sftp, go to the protocol dropdown box in your site manager and change it to sftp. You will usually need to find out which port they want you to use and fill that in. This will make it much harder for others to intercept and read your password information.

  1. advanced settings and browse to where you want it to open on the local side, then type in the path to the directory on the server that you will be using.
  2. editing|settings|file editing and look for file associations. Enter the path on your hard drive to your favorite text editor. Here is how I set mine:


It’s important when editing web site code to have an editor such as notepad++ that will show line numbers. When you right click a file on your web site and select edit, a temporary copy is made on your hard drive. If you save it or close it after you edit you will be prompted to upload the edited version. If you choose yes the current copy  on your site will be replaced by the new version.

  1. Copy url(s) to clipboard. Now I edit the url from an ftp address to a site address:



change the first part


Filezilla has one other drawback besides the security issue that arises when you use the site manager. You cannot move or copy files on your site. In order to move a file from one folder to another you must first download it and then upload it to the folder that you wish it to reside in. Then you delete the original file on your server. For this reason it is easier to use the file manager in your control panel when moving files from one directory to another on your server.

If you are moving files between one server and another you can either download all of them to your local computer and then upload them to the second server or use a different ftp program such as Bitkinex.


With Bitkinex you can open connections to two different servers and move files directly from one window to the next. Bitkinex will appear to move file directly between servers although it is really making a temporary copy of the files on your computer and then uploading to the second server.


Bitkinex is a little less intuitive to Filezilla so I suggest you have some experience with using Filezilla first.

To actually move files directly between servers you would need shell access (which some hosting companies will enable upon request) and a program like PuTTy. The level of knowledge required is much higher.



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