You Must Have FTP
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is Not Optional
Before signing a hosting contract, make sure the service you are planning to use allows FULL FTP access to your website! By FULL FTP I mean you must have the choice to use any FTP client (or at the very least those FTP clients considered reliable, and in common use by the industry).
A FTP client is simply the term for a ftp program. (In the same way MS Office Outlook is considered an e-mail client). FTP clients are used to copy files from one location to another over the internet. Filezilla is a commonly used open source FTP client for Windows.
Some web design applications have built-in FTP clients e.g. Dreamweaver. Content Management Systems e.g. WordPress permit file uploads, but are not FTP clients – An FTP client must be standalone, and not dependent on the website. If a CMS website crashes, FTP may be the only way to recover the site; if the CMS is the client, and the site is down, you cannot replace the files easily.
Not all Hosting Allows Full FTP
Although it is unusual, there are hosting services that do not allow FTP, and some that have only limited FTP access. Some provide what they call FTP, but is not true FTP. An example of this is a hosting service that provides limited access to files and folders, but each file has top be uploaded/downloaded individually – that is not FTP, that is a file manager.
Other hosting services do not accept FTP connections from all clients – I had a large site transferred to a so-called high-end service provider where I could only do FTP using a web browser – the site had been built and managed in Dreamweaver for Mac, and the Windows based hosting server would not allow Mac/Dreamweaver to connect until their technical team were eventually told what to do to the server settings to allow a Mac to connect.
What to do if Your Hosting does not allow FTP client access.
Get another hosting service immediately. there is really no other option. Even if you don’t intend to use FTP yourself, should your site have problems and you need to hire a webmaster to sort things, FTP will be required.
Before signing up for a hosting package, always confirm with the hosting company that you can use an FTP client of your choice. If they tell you the service only has a built in FTP (file manager) and clint connections are not permitted, don’t host with them under any circumstances. There will more than likely be other restrictions placed on what you can do.
Be especially careful if you use a Mac. Although since Mac OS10 there are fewer problems connecting to a Windows server, the Windows servers still need to be correctly configured (something that seems to be outside the realm of things taught by those ridiculous MCS* courses). Of course one could only wonder why a Mac user would want to host their site on a Windows server – Linux is the better option for web servers, and costs less.
- Complete Configuration of FTP Server (linuxzynga.wordpress.com)
- Seven steps for dummy’s to the online battlefield (mytechsearch.wordpress.com)