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Learning to Fly a Kite: Using an FTP Client to Make Your Website Do What You Want

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I thought that I could share some of my misadventures in developing my web presence with others, so they could learn from my mistakes. I like exploring my world, and I enjoy discovering how to do something for myself. When it came to creating a website, I saw the situation as no different from any other, so I delved into the work. My problem of not fully understanding what I was doing gave me confidence that I would succeed though.

My main concern has always been the navigation on my static site. I felt that I had a good deal of useful information, but that a visitor could not readily find it. I learned the HTML code, so I could correct this situation, but the site building program did not allow me to access the code. I tried various means, looking into ways to edit the files on my site through the cpanel. Nothing worked. I felt that the blog format offered more possibilities. Each section of the site would be its own post. I could quickly add information to a topic by creating another post, and I could expand the range of topics. I had already noticed that my blog posts from another site were gaining more attention from search engines than my static site, so I thought the blog format would be an immediate SEO boost (I will write about my search engine optimization (SEO) travails on another post; I am sure that if you have a website that you know of these terms, but I encountered so many new people here who do not, so stick with me and my definitions). These ideas culminated into this site.

While creating this blog, I discovered how I could have corrected my original problem on the static site by using an FTP client. I knew the term FTP Client, but I thought that I was using one. I had gone through my cpanel to upload files and make corrections, which I had accomplished well on occasion. I thought this was the client. Alright, hold down the snickering, I admit to being dumb on this point. When I had scoured various books, there was no clear picture of what this client was, and these tomes just said to follow the directions of the program, big help. When looking for a theme for this blog,I found that I had to upload it, but I finally discovered that the FTP Client was a separate program from my cpanel.

This is when I discovered Filezilla. I cannot sing its praises enough. I love the open source movement, whether that comes to open software, open architecture, or open management systems. I could go on with my thoughts on that subject, but that should be another post too. Firstly, FTP stands for “file transfer protocol” and an FTP Client is the software that allows you to do this. Filezilla is a free program which you can make a donation to help the developers out. Here is what you are going to need to know for uploading files to your site:

  1. your sites host
    location. You host your site with a company; lets call it
    superiorhosting.com, and you have a site called mysite.com. When you
    log onto your cpanel to set up your e-mail accounts and such, you
    will notice that you are going to a site that does not have your
    site’s name, but the hosting company’s name followed by some type of
    identification number. For example, it could be

  2. Your access information.
    Simple enough, it is the username and password that you use to
    access the cpanel.

  3. The port that you will
    be connecting through. You will be connecting to the site through a
    specific door, the port, that is determined by your host. Your
    hosting company will probably have this number listed on the FTP
    section of your cpanel, so poke around until you find where it is
    written down.

Once you have connected to the site, your client will have at least two boxes that show what is on your computer and what is on your site in the way of files. It will look just like the explore function on your pc. Now you need to find the location of the file that you wish to upload on your computer, and you will need to find the location on the site to place it. You need to find the public_html or the www files. These are the locations which have files that can be viewed by the public. You may need to pick a specific file in the public_html location, so you may have to look around or have some knowledge about placement. How my blog looks is called the theme. I downloaded this theme from a site that has a collection of WordPress themes (WordPress being the platform which my blog uses). To make the them available to me, I have to upload it to a wp_contents/theme folder, so I have to find that folder for the upload. Uploading is just click and drag that we are all familiar with.

Alright, many of you webmasters can have a laugh now at my inexperience, but I thought this would be good to know for someone starting out, so I am sharing. What is your favorite FTP Client?

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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