Understanding FTP: File Transfer Protocol

Kathleen Farley
A free video tutorial from Kathleen Farley
aka Robobunnyattack! + co-founder of Audiohackr
4.5 instructor rating • 9 courses • 16,581 students

Lecture description

What is FTP, and how do you use it? In this lesson, you'll learn:

  • The purpose of File Transfer Protocol
  • Where live HTML and CSS files are stored, or "hosted"
  • What kind of software program you need to use FTP
  • How to use an FTP client (like Cyberduck) to connect to a web server
  • What three pieces of information you need to connect to a web server


Download a free FTP client:

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English [Auto] What does it T.P. And how do I use it. OK well first of all what does FGP B stands for file transfer protocol. So what does that mean. Well think about a file transfer it's got something to do with obviously computer files transfer transfers just moving things around. And protocol protocol is just a method or a way of doing something. So file transfer protocol just basically means a way of moving computer files around. And where are we moving them. We're actually moving them from computer to computer specific types of computers between servers between your computer usually and another server and the server is just a special computer it's just built to host and serve files two to two others. Usually we're talking with a web server it's a computer that's built to hold files that are then given or provided to people on line. So that's where you host web sites. That's what FGP is in a nutshell. But why do we care about this and how do we use this and why would we use this. If you think back to let's say whenever you're building or when you've been looking at Web sites OK what sites are hosted on servers they're hosted online. OK. On these computers that are connected to the Internet and they are and that's basically when I use a web browser to go to a specific address in this case I'm going to sandbox dog robo bunny attack dog calm then. What's happening is that all these files the Tim and the CSSA files that make up this page are hosted on a server. And what I'm doing is I'm just asking hey can you let me display that on my computer and it just connects and it just downloads it to my web browser and I can look at the Web page that's fine except and we've been building a page here's an example where we've been building a page locally and I can open this up and it doesn't look the same yet but that's fine. I can open this up in my browser but you can see here that this I'm just looking at this locally. I can't you know go to a different computer. At least not a you know like say my friend's computer in a different place at a different house and I can't pull up this file obviously right because this file is just living on my computer it's just local. OK. What if I want to put this on the web I need a way to get it to a web server. And the way that we get this file to web server typically is by using A.P. or a file transfer protocol so that we can transfer these files specifically all the files inside here. To a web server that's going to be able to turn around and serve these files to the Web surfing public. OK. So what do we need to do to actually use file transfer protocol. Remember file transfer protocol. It's not a program. It's not it's not a software application. It is actually just a method. OK. But in order to use this method we need a specific type of computer program and that computer program is called an FPP client or file transfer protocol client. And there's tons of them around. And the one that I use is called Cyber duck and it's got a little ducky icon right here and you can download it for FREE. Show you where it is at Ciber duct C.H.. It's available for Mac or Windows. So take your pick and download for free. It's an excellent program. There's tons of other clients out there too. Another one that's a very very popular is called philes Zilla. And it's excellent as well. I happen to really like cyber ducks simply because it has a very very easy interface a very intuitive graphical user interface or goofy. And it's I find it's really good for beginners and well even for non beginners like because I use it all the time I have to admit I just got used to it and I really like it. So you download and install cyber for free and once you've got it installed you can start it up. And this is the first window that you get. OK if you don't get it just click on File new browser and this always pops up a new browser for you right here. This is called the browser. And this program. OK cyber duck is going to help us transfer files from our computer to a web server. Ok. Now the first thing you need to do is you need to open up a connection in order to do this. And I'm making the assumption at this point and see if I just hover over this open connection button right here a little tool tip appears it says connect to server and that's exactly what I want to do. We want to connect to some other server and then move our files back and forth to there. Now I'm proceeding here with the assumption that you have a web server or someone has set up a web server for you and because you're going to need some information to do this. OK and here's the information you need you're going to need the name of your server. Ok if you don't have this information you don't worry about it. I mean I want to walk through it and and hopefully it'll make sense to you. The second piece of information need your attorney it was called an FPP username. And third you're going to need an empty password with those three pieces of information the server name the username and password that's going to allow you to log in or connect to this other server and then VFP using cyberattack. So this let me show you how it works. I'm going to go ahead and them first of all I'm going to actually open up a little text file that I have here that contains that information. I've got a little I'm just made just for ease of use here. I've got a little text file here that just contains all the info VFP info I need my server name which is going to be Roble Bunnie attacked my user name which has just Roble buddy and my password which is this long ridiculus password right here and there's a reason why we want it long and ridiculous and I'll explain later. So now let's show you how this works so I want to open up a connection. I'm going to ignore everything here as as nice and shiny as this looks just ignore it all. OK click on open connection and then this new little window appears. And here's a trick. You want to make sure that FCP is selected once in a while. I've seen this happen where I don't know something else will get selected by accident and the people are trying to log in using this and it really messes them up so make sure that this says FGP. OK if you are indeed doing a an FCP transfer Anvar to type in the server name here and I'm actually going to type it in. But you know I'm actually a bigger fan of cutting and pasting because cutting and pasting means fewer mistakes and this really matters if you get this wrong or if you put a space here or something like that that's going to screw you up. Likewise with the user name robo bunny ok. Make sure that's accurate and capitalization counts. I think I'll just assume it does passwords. You know honestly don't try to type this. We're going to copy it. I just double clicked on there to select everything and going to do command C to copy it. Or you could just do that and copy and paste this in here exactly. And of course it doesn't. This is for security is not going to show it to you. Be careful because you know an extra space at the end or something like that. Like let's say you actually. Sorry I don't mean to be obvious here but see if you did that see the problem's going to happen with that extra space there and that's going to screw you up. So make sure that you've actually pasted the correct password and make sure that add the key chain. If you're on your own computer it's fine to do this but if you're on a public computer make absolutely sure that add to key chain is not checked because what that's going to do is if you added to the key kitchen is going to save your password and your log in information in the key chain and you definitely don't want Dachs you don't want other people. The next person to use a computer to be able to access your web server. That's a bad thing. OK so now we're going to click connect and watched you on here. Lots of stuff passes by there quickly. Sorry I know that was really fast. I wish we could do instant replay. We can't. It's not that exciting anyway so don't worry. But this is that down here when all those words pop by. That's telling you the activity that's happening. So that's cyber logging in and doing all that fun stuff and everything. So what are we looking at right now. We're just looking at your server your web server and there's going to be some stuff here that doesn't make sense don't worry about it. Logs mailorder these are all folders. You can open and close these folders OK like this. Don't worry about the logs in the mail order OK but Sandbach start Roble. But he had talked a code that looks familiar doesn't it. Well yeah because that happens to be hey where's where's my browser. There it is. That happens to be this right here that just happens to be the way I've got it configured. I've got it so that the folder inside this computer that holds everything here happens to be called sandbox reboot. And you talk about com. I mean that just makes sense doesn't it. Right. So yeah you can open this up like that to see what's inside or you just double click on it and that moves you into that directory you're just surfing through it just think of this as being kind of a I don't know just you're just surfing through the file structure of the directory structure on another computer. That's all it is because remember server is just a different computer. This isn't your computer anymore. This is somebody else's computer. And that's. And you can use these arrow buttons here too to go back and forth and look at these files. This is actually the index study Chimo filed. This is right here that we're looking at. In fact I could just type index dot each team now and it just ends up right here. It's the same file and it tells you there are five files there. I don't know what else to tell you if you want to know the address. It's always going to be listed up here. So you sandbox don't open your TalkTalk com. That's pretty much it. Next cast. I will actually show you how to move files on and off and actually transfer files upload and download files to your server using this program and using the file transfer protocol. But really I just want to show you how to log in that's a very important skill. Logging into your actual web server. And if you don't disconnect always good idea to disconnect at the end just click on the disconnect button and then you're done. And then you can close that and you can quit the program. OK. That's all for now. I hope that was useful. Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time.