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Introduction to FTP

What Is FTP?

FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. As the name suggests, it is used to transfer files between computers on a network, between an account and a desktop computer, or access online software archives.

FTP for Beginners

What is FTP, and how does it work?

One or two actions happen when transferring files using FTP:

Uploading - this happens when you transfer files from one computer to a server.

Downloading - happens when you transfer a file from a server to your personal computer.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) - is the Internet language used to carry out commands. FTP uses this language to transfer your files.

Always consider the security of your files whenever you transfer or download files using FTP. Take note that not all files from the internet are safe from harm. There could be viruses to these downloaded files which may harm your personal computer.

You need an FTP client to use FTP. This may help in making it safer and avoid your computer from getting viruses and malware. Though some FTP clients ask for a higher price, others offer absolutely for free. 

Though not necessary that everyone has to have a FTP client for transferring files, it makes everything easier when it comes to uploading and downloading files.

Here are the list of articles related to FTP that were compiled for customers: File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Articles

FTP Getting Started

FTP is what most web developers use to upload their files, pages, and pictures to the internet. There are many different FTP programs available, some free, some paid, and some just better than others.

By default, an FTP account is automatically created when registering a hosting package here in HostGator.

More information about the FTP can be also see on this page:

FTP Getting Started

Creating an FTP Account

The following FTP information can be found in the Welcome email we send after you pay for your new hosting account. Your FTP username and password are the same as your login credentials for cPanel. 

Article on creating an FTP account in cPanel, as well as a video tutorial on creating an FTP account can be seen on this article.

How to Create an FTP Account in cPanel


FTP Settings, Managing WordPress FTP Accounts, and Connection Troubleshooting

Setting up, managing an FTP Account and connection 

The article contains general instructions for all FTP programs. While these directions will work for most FTP programs, they do not all operate exactly the same.

The following FTP information in the article can be found in the Welcome email we send after you pay for your new hosting account. Your FTP username and password are the same as your login credentials for cPanel. Click the link below for complete instructions.

FTP Settings and Connection

Manage Optimized WordPress FTP Accounts

The link below includes the step by step guidelines in doing the following for OWP FTP Accounts:

  1. Create an Account
  2. Login to an Account
  3. Change Password
  4. Change Quota
  5. Delete an Account

How to Manage Optimized WordPress FTP Accounts

Connection Troubleshooting

There are a few reasons why your FTP application could be slow or frequently disconnecting. This could be due to your passive settings. You can check the article below so you can start troubleshooting for the issue.

My FTP is Really Slow or Disconnects Often. Why?

Uploading content using FTP, and errors when uploading files

Uploading the website

You can upload your files directly through cPanel using the File Manager. File Manager is a web interface that allows you to manage all files associated with your account. Take me there.

Uploading through FTP Client is the other way of uploading your files to your hosting account.

The article provided below includes step by step instructions on uploading a File Using File Manager. This also has a good source of video tutorial on uploading of files.

How to Upload a File Using the File Manager?

For step-by-step instructions and complete details on uploading your site using either of the two, click the article below:

Upload Your Site - Expanded Hosting Startup Guide

Uploading Your Web Site - Reseller Startup Guide

Secure FTP


SFTP - SFTP is FTP Using SSH. SFTP is allowed on any server, and you can connect with PuTTY or WinSCP over port 2222 (port 22 for Dedicated and VPS accounts).

FTPS - FTPS is FTP Over SSL or TLS. Also, remember that FTPS is allowed on Dedicated and VPS servers only. 

The link below also provides details on Linux Shared, Reseller, Windows Shared, and Dedicated Servers FTP logins and settings. These settings are used to access these servers via FTP.

Secure FTP, SFTP and FTPS

FTPS, SFTP, and the differences between the two

When considering the method or option for transferring files, it is always recommended to choose a more secure one - meaning, avoiding the basic FTP protocol. This means that both FTPS and SFTP provide strong protection with its authentication process which FTP is not capable of providing to users.

FTPS uses multiple port numbers, assigning the first port for the authentication and passing command and opens another port number for the data channel.

SFTP uses only a single port number for all communications related to SFTP, making it easy to secure since it is much usable with firewalls. With this, SFTP is recommended.

How do I start using SSL with FTP?

When you are ready using FTPS and SFTP, click the link below. It provides the logins you needed when you access your cPanel.

How Do I Start Using SSL with FTP?

Common FTP Errors

FTP Timeout and Uploading Issues are some of the most common errors you will encounter when using FTP.

My FTP is Really Slow or Disconnects Often. Why?

Click here to see the List of FTP server return codes and their purpose

Troubleshooting FTP issues

Part of Troubleshooting for the issue is related to changing FTP account credentials. See this article for Plesk 10: How to change your FTP account credentials - Plesk 10

421 Connection Error - Our Shared and Reseller plans allow up to 8 simultaneous FTP connections from 1 IP. If you exceed this amount, you may run into this type of error which are often caused by Idle FTP connections. This is the full article for this error: How to Control FTP Sessions

Connection issues - Too many FTP connections at one time can result in connection issues. To prevent this, FileZilla allows users to limit the number of simultaneous FTP connections. Limiting the Number of Simultaneous Connections in FileZilla

Other helpful article about troubleshooting FTP. FTP Troubleshooting: Applying a Methodology

FTP Client Recommendations


WordPress Users:

The other list available are listed in this page: Comparison of FTP client software

  1. WinSCP
  2. Cyberduck
  3. Transmit
  4. Free FTP
  5. FileZilla
  6. WS_FTP Professional