FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a method to transfer files from one computer to another. Nowadays the most common application of FTP is the maintenance of web site files on the web hosting server. FTP is an Internet Protocol just like the familiar HTTP which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol.
FTP is in-built in most modern operating system. For example, on the Windows XP system, you can access FTP through the command prompt but this requires the knowledge of FTP commands – refer FTP basics and command line options.
A relatively easier way to use FTP is with web browsers. You can type in the FTP or server address in the “Address” field of Internet Explorer and connect to your web hosting server. Refer Using Internet Explorer as an FTP client – a Free FTP client.
However, if you are serious about maintaining your web site, I would definitely recommend getting a dedicated FTP program also called an FTP client. Thus, if you want to use FTP on a routine basis or you are a budding web developer, cast your inhibitions aside and make your life easy with FTP software.
If you have hired a professional web developer to develop your web site, you don’t need to worry about FTP because they would put your web site online. However, do ask for a copy of your web site (a copy of all files of your web site) on a CD/DVD from the developer – and occasionally get updates from them. But if you are one of the meticulous type, I suggest you get a copy of stable FTP software and take routine backups of your web site. It’s a fairly easy process and you can refer to other articles on this web site if you ever need help.
Finally, I have detailed articles on FTP, and you can quickly find them through the search (below).
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