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Getting started with FTP


The process by which files are transferred to the web server is called "FTP" (File Transport Protocol). You have unlimited access via FTP 24-hours a day. As such, you can create and maintain your web pages on your own computer and upload files to your web site at your leisure.

Internet providers such as AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy may have a built-in FTP interface. If you have a PPP internet account and need an FTP program, you can download software for either the PC (WS_FTP) or Mac (FETCH)from Shareware's web site. You may have to contact your local internet provider to inquire about compatibility. Microsoft FrontPage version 1.1 users whom have had extensions installed within their web site should use FrontPage to transfer files only.

Configuring Your FTP Software

The following information is contained within your account activation notice and is needed to connect to your web site via FTP:


The hostname tells your FTP software to connect to the web server upon which your web site resides. In general, the process of configuring the various FTP softwares is the same. We recommend WS_FTP for PC computer users and will be using it in the upcoming examples.

Each time you run WS_FTP the Session Profile window will be displayed. A profile contains the information needed to connect to your web site. Creating a profile now will eliminate the need for you to configure the software each time you wish to connect to the web server via FTP. To create a new profile, click the "New" button and enter a generic profile name at the top of the Session Profile window. Next, enter the userid, password and hostname for your web site as illustrated below.


Be sure to select "Auto detect" for the Host Type. (see Fig.1) It is best to select "Save Password" and "Auto Save Config" to maintain these settings for future use. All other fields can be left blank. You are now ready to connect to the web server. Click "Ok" to continue.

How to Transfer Files

When you connect to the web server, you will connect directly to the root ("home") directory of your account. WS_FTP will display a split screen where files on the left-hand side are within your own computer. (see Fig.2) You will see several folders on the right-hand side such as bin, cgi-local, dev, etc, lib, and stats which are landmarks suggesting a successful connection to your web site.


You can transfer files directly to the root level and/or create subdirectories. The only system directory that you may need to use is cgi-local; this directory is reserved for custom scripts. To make your home page load automatically, name the HTML document "index.htm" or "index.html" in lowercase and upload it to the root directory of your account. To upload a file or files, simply highlight the file(s) on the left and click the right-arrow button ("-->") in the center of the screen. Be sure to upload HTML documents and scripts in ASCII mode and images in BINARY mode. To transfer a file to a subdirectory, double-click the appropriate subdirectory to open it before transferring the desired file(s).

As soon as a file is uploaded to the web server, it is available for all to see. If, after uploading a file, you are still unable to see the updated file via Netscape, you need to clear both disk and browser cache. This function can be found by selecting Options > Network Preferences in Netscape. Remember that you must first be connected to the internet through your local internet service provider in order to connect to the web server.

Notes to Mac Users

    • Select "raw data" transfer mode when using Fetch to transfer both HTML and images.
    • PageMill may add either a .bin or .txt extension to your files which must be removed in order for such files to load properly.

Viewing Web Pages in Netscape Webmasters often modify an HTML document and reupload it to the server. After returning to their web browser they click RELOAD only to find the original document unchanged. This is a common occurrence for Netscape users and is easily remedied by clearing the browser's disk cache. This can be done in Netscape under Options > Network Preferences.

Changing File Permissions

Here's how to chmod a file in...

Windows: when in WS-FTP, right click on the mouse button; go to commands, then go to site. Type chmod 666 filename in the line provided.

Macintosh: when in Fetch, go to the Remote menu; go to Send FTP Commands, then type site chmod 666 filename in the line provided.

Below is a table explaining file permissions:

Magic Number Binary Representation Permissions
0 000 --- No permission
1 001 --x execute
2 010 -w- write
3 011 -wx write, execute
4 100 r-- read
5 101 r-x read, execute
6 110 rw- read, write
7 111 rwx read, write, execute

chmod on UNIX interprets the first number for owner (yourself), second number for group, and the third for others (everyone else). For example chmod 666 filename will change file permission to read, write for owner, group, and others.

More examples

chmod Permissions Meaning
755 rwxr-xr-x read, write, and execute for owner; read, execute for everyone
644 rw-r--r-- read, write for owner; read for everyone
666 rw-rw-rw- read, write for everyone

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