FTP software

Somewhere along the line you are going to need to learn and use ftp software.   FTP stands for file transfer protocol – and is for publishing files onto your website.

Although dealing with hosts and servers is pretty frightening initially, I know it scared the pants off me at the time, if you can understand the structure of folders and that sites are userid and password controlled then it is pretty easy. Pick up one of these to investigate.

[WS_FTP Home->http://ipswitch.com/]  Blindingly simple – that’s why I use it!

[Filezilla->http://www.filezilla.sourceforge.net/] from Sourceforge  – but this one is free!

If you end up with large collections of files to upload that take a lot of time (bearing in mind that your upload connection speed is likely to be substantially less than your download speed) then take a look at 3dftp.com.

This is much faster and accelerates file transfers by automatically transferring multiple files simultaneously, in parallel.  Unfortunately, it’s a paid product but, as always, you get what you pay for.

Simple FTP, may be a security issue as it sends the username and password and all the content as clear text, that is, unencrypted. ‘Anyone with a strategically-placed protocol analyzer can see the name and password’ – said a geek friend of mine and who am I to argue!

Even though this is beyond my pay grade, so to speak, in understanding what he is talking about it is easy to see that a geek with a bad attitude may well be able to set something up to read the content of such files during transmission.

Add in the unfortunate habit of many users of using and re- using their favourite passwords and you have the potential of having a large chunk of your online presence stolen without even knowing it was gone until nasty things started happening.

I’m told that FileZilla is very fast, uses SFTP and is also free as remarked above.  So may well be a preferred solution.

Alternatives to FTP

Should you want to get to the bottom of this sort of stuff then my friend says that both SCP and SFTPare similar in function to FTP but use Secure Shell (SSH) authentication and encryption.

If you use a Unix-based server, you should be able to invoke scp or sftp from the command line. For more information about SecureShell, see the OpenSSH http://www.openssh.com/ Web site and http://www.troubleshootingnetworks.com/ftpinfo.html by Priscilla Oppenheimer

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