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Uploading Files with SmartFTP

by David Watson

Uploading your web site to a web server is actually quite an easy process. In fact, it is rather similar to copying files between different folders on your local computer. The only real difference is that files are being copied from your computer (the local computer) to a web server (the remote computer). Files are copied from a local computer to a remote computer over the internet using a special protocol known as FTP (File Transfer Protocol). In order to do this, you need to use a software application known as an FTP client. There are lots of FTP clients about but the one we're using here is called SmartFTP. If you wish, you can download SmartFTP for your own personal use from the SmartFTP web site.

SmartFTPStart SmartFTP by double-clicking the program icon, shown on the right.When the application launches, you may see a Settings dialogue box. If this is the case, just click the OK button to accept the current settings. There should be no need to change anything.

The first thing you need to do is to display the Local Browser, this is a window that displays the contents of your local computer, a bit like the Windows Explorer. From the pull-down menu, select FTPLocal Browser. Using the folder view window, navigate your way to the folder where you keep your web site files. The application window should now look something like the one below.

Local Browser

The second thing you need to do is to enter 3 pieces of information in the toolbar at the top of the application window.

  1. Enter the address for the server you want to contact in the "URL" box. For example, if you are uploading files to an account at Tripod UK, the address would be
  2. Enter your member name in the "Login" box. This is the name you chose when you set up your account.
  3. Finally, enter your password in the "Password" box.

A Gentle Reminder: Quite obviously it is very important to keep a record of the member name and password you chose when you joined your web host. If you forget your member name and have no record of it, you will not be able to access your files on the web server. If you forget your password but know your member name, you can often reset your password by answering a simple security question. See your web host for details.

You do not need to enter any other information, leave all other boxes blank. You are now ready to connect to the web server. Click the Connect button Connect or select FTPConnect from the pull-down menu.

SmartFTP now attempts to contact the web server using the address you gave. Once a connection has been made, SmartFTP passes your member name and your password to the server when it asks for them. If all your details are accepted, a new remote window will open and you will see your own personal web space on the remote computer.

If for some reason you are unable to connect, double check that all your details are correct. Many web servers are case sensitive and so you must enter the member name and password exactly as you entered them when you joined your web host. For example, CADTutor is not the same as cadtutor. If you are sure all your details are correct and you still can't connect, the web server is probably busy or temporarily down. Try again later.

Once you have connected, the application window should look something like the one below.


To upload your files to the web server, simply drag-and-drop them from the Local Browser window to the remote computer window just as you would in the Windows Explorer. In fact, most of the standard Explorer operations can be undertaken on your remote files. You can rename them and delete them. If you are updating files that already exist on the server, just drag-and-drop them in the usual way and choose "Overwrite" when prompted.

As soon as your files are on the web server, they are on-line and accessible to the world. Fire up your web browser and check your site to make sure it all works as intended. For example, if your web host is Tripod UK, enter in the browser address window to see your site.

When you are finished organising your remote files, just close SmartFTP in the usual way, no special log off procedure is required. You can connect again any time you like to update or add to your web site.

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