Upload Files To Your Website Using Free FTP

This guide will demonstrate how to upload files to your website. This is useful if you have a food menu file that requires changing every month and you wish to delete the old food menu and replace it with a new menu. To do this we will use a free program called Free FTP by Coffe Cup Software.

1) First of all you must download Free FTP by Coffee Cup Software and install this program onto your computer. During installation you will be prompted with a few message boxes, as you normally would see when installing any program. Here is how I recommend you progress through each box.

  • Click 'Next' when you see the welcome screen.
  • Accept the Licence Agreement and click 'Next'.
  • Keep the installation directory as shown and click 'Next'.
  • In the Pre-Installation options box, tick all the options except 'Quick Launch Shortcut' then click 'Next'.
  • If you are prompted that Free FTP will remove previous versions, click 'Yes'.
  • In the Ready to Install box, click 'Next' and the program will install.

2) After installation has completed, if the program does not open automatically then look on your desktop and click the 'Coffee Cup Free FTP' icon. When the program opens you should see a box like the one above showing a Tip of the Day. You can close this to begin using the program. I ticked the 'Don't show this message again' box to prevent any more tips showing each time I start it up.

3) Pictured above is the interface for Free FTP. The interface features buttons across the top panel to start uploading and downloading data. Notice the two white boxes that I have labelled 1 and 2. Their functions are simple, the left box (1) shows files on your computer and the right box (2) shows files on your website. Obviously we haven't yet set up a connection to your website and that is why the box on the right (2) is blank.

We need to log in to the website in order for you to establish a connection. To do this, click the 'Servers' icon with the graphic of a server on the top left of the button panel.

4) You will be presented with a set up box that looks like the one above. In order to create a new connection, click the green '+' sign and you can then enter the details of your FTP account. I will have supplied you with the FTP details which includes server, username and password information. Enter 'Website Server' as the Nickname for the connection and then enter 'ftp.strato.com' for the server information followed by your username and password and click 'Ok.'

5) You have now connected to your server! The files on your computer are on the left and now you can see the files on your website on the right.

How to upload a file to your website

To send a file from your computer to the website, use the left hand window to browse for the folder on your computer where your file is located. For example if you store PDF files of your menu in My Documents inside a folder called Menus then you use the address bar drop down menu above the box showing your computers files (It may show 'C:' until you change it) and click on 'My Documents.' The left window will now display the contents of My Documents. Double click on your folder called 'Menus' and you can now see the contents of the Menus folder. You will now see all your menu files.

Next you have to browse to where you want the file to be uploaded to on the website so we are now working in the right hand box. If the folder is located in a folder called 'menus' on the website, then double click the folder saying menus and you will be able to see the files inside which will contain your menus.

Click on the file you wish to upload in the left box and it will go blue, then make sure you will be placing it in the correct folder in the right box and on the button panel above you will see 'Upload.' Click 'Upload' and you will see details that your file has been uploaded on screen. Your file has been uploaded and you can then exit the program and start adding or editing your links on your website to make use of your new uploaded file!

Click here for my tutorial on writing links for URLs

If you have a file on the computer that has the exact same name as a file in the same folder on your website that you are uploading to, then the older file will be overwritten with the new one and all links pointing to the old file will now display the new file.

This is perfect if you are a restaurant and you always name your menu that customers view on the website: 'menu'. Every time you upload your newest menu from the computer, because it has the same name as the one on the website then it will replace it without you having to go in and change link names etc.

if you are having problems with FTP Uploading or have a question then contact me and I'll help you.


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This blog is written by Paul Nimmo, a freelance website designer and photographer based in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

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