FileZilla is one of the most popular, open-source file transfer applications on the market. It’s easy to set up and use within minutes, allowing you to upload, download, and manage files and folders between your computer and remote server. For those of you who are new to web design or web development, this complete beginner’s guide to using FileZilla will provide you with the knowledge for setting up and using this application quickly.
Installing and Setting Up FileZilla
Installing and setting up FileZilla is a rather straightforward process. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Just follow these steps to install it on your computer:
- Go to the official website for FileZilla, and click the “Download FileZilla Client” button on the main page.
- Click the “Download FileZilla Client” button to download the application’s installer. If you receive a pop-up asking you to select your edition of FileZilla, choose the one you want. In most cases, you will select FileZilla.
- The installation process for Linux can vary depending on the distribution you’re using. You can refer to your distribution’s package manager or software center to search for FileZilla and install it.
- Locate the installer file (usually in your Downloads folder), and double-click on the file to launch the installation wizard.
- Follow the on-screen instructions provided by the FileZilla installation wizard. Once installation completes, click the FileZilla icon to open the application.
Configuring General Settings
Now that you’ve installed FileZilla, it’s time to configure the general settings. While there are many options that you can configure, we’re going to focus on the basics in this beginner’s guide to using FileZilla.
Setting the Language
You can choose your preferred language from the “Edit” menu and select “Settings.” In the “Interface” tab of the “Settings” screen, you’ll find the language selection option. Set your language, and click the OK button.
(Optional) Proxy Settings
If you need to connect to FTP/SFTP servers through a proxy server, you can configure the proxy settings in FileZilla. You can access the proxy settings in the “Edit” menu and then “Settings” where you will find “Generic proxy” in the “FTP” tab.
(Optional) Selecting a Theme
FileZilla has different interface themes that allow you to personalize how the application appears. This option is available by selecting the “Edit” menu and then “Settings” where you will find “Themes” under the “Interface” tab. Set your theme, and click the OK button.
Connecting to an FTP/SFTP Server
You can connect to your remote server via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol). You may be asking what is the difference between the two connections?
With FTP, you’re using an unsecured protocol that transfers files in clear text, making it less secure. SFTP, on the other hand, is a secure protocol that encrypts file transfers via SSH (Secure Shell) for authentication and data protection. We recommend that you use SFTP in FileZilla for your file transfers.
Setting Up the Site Manager
We’re now going to show you how to set up and use FileZilla’s Site Manager to save your remote server login information. First, you need to gather the necessary credentials from your hosting provider or system administrator, which typically includes:
- Hostname or IP address: This is the address of the server where your files are located. It can be a domain name (i.e. ftp.example.com) or an IP address (i.e. 192.168.0.1).
- Username: This is the account name assigned to you by your hosting provider or system administrator.
- Password: The password grants you access to the server.
- Port: The port will be necessary for you obtain to access the remote server from your local computer, especially if you’re using SFTP. Your hosting provider or system administrator will give you this information.
Creating a New Site Profile
Now, let’s create a site profile in the Site Manager.
- Launch FileZilla, navigate to the “File” menu and select “Site Manager” from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcuts “Ctrl+S” (Windows/Linux) or “Cmd+S” (Mac), or click the “Site Manager” icon in the FileZilla toolbar.
- Click the “New Site” button to create a new profile.
- Create a name for the profile, such as the server name or any recognizable name.
- Enter the following information into each section of the “General” tab:
- Protocol: Choose the protocol from the “Protocol” dropdown menu (FTP or SFTP).
- Host: Type the hostname or IP address provided by your hosting provider or server administrator.
- Port: Enter the FTP or SFTP port provided by your hosting provider or server administrator.
- Encryption: For FTP connections, you can choose the encryption type. FTPS offers explicit (FTPES) or implicit SSL/TLS encryption, while SFTP uses SSH encryption.
- Logon Type: Select the “Logon Type” as “Normal”
- User: Enter the username provided by your hosting provider or server administrator.
- Password: Enter the password provided by your hosting provider or server administrator.
- Optional: Click the “Advanced” tab, and set the default local directory on your computer. You can specify a default remote directory by entering the path in the “Default remote directory” field.
- Click on the “OK” button to save the site profile.
Connecting to the Server
Now that you’ve set up your site profile in the Site Manager, it’s time to connect to the remote server by following these steps:
- Launch FileZilla (if it’s not already open), and double-click on the site profile you created. Alternatively, you can click on the “Connect” button in the Site Manager.
- Wait for FileZilla to establish a connection to the server using your credentials and connection settings.
- If you receive a connection error, double-check your login credentials to make sure you entered them correctly in the “General” tab of the Site Manager.
- Once connected, you will see the local and remote file panes listing files and folders. In FileZilla, the file directory of your local computer is the left window pane while the remote server’s file directory is in the right window pane.
That’s it! You’re now connected to your remote server and are ready to upload or download files and folders. We’ll show you how in the next couple of sections of this beginner’s guide to using FileZilla.
Uploading Files and Folders
To upload a file or folder in FileZilla, perform the following steps:
- Launch FileZilla and connect to your remote server.
- Locate the file or folder in the Local Directory Tree in FileZilla.
- Select the file or folder, and then drag and drop it into the desired folder in the Remote Directory Tree.
Downloading Files and Folders
To download a file or folder in FileZilla, perform the following steps:
- Launch FileZilla and connect to your remote server.
- Locate the file or folder in the Remote Directory Tree in FileZilla.
- Select the file or folder, and then drag and drop it into the desired folder in the Local Directory Tree.
Additionally, FileZilla allows you to upload or download more than one file or folder by using these methods:
- Ctrl or Command Key: Press and hold the Ctrl key (on Windows) or Command key (on Mac). Click on each file or folder you want to select for upload or download. Release the Ctrl or Command key, and then drag and drop the files or folders into the desired directory/folder.
- Shift Key: Click on the first file or folder you want to select. Next, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. Click on the last file or folder you want to include to select all the items between the first and last items. Release the Shift key, and then drag and drop the files or folders into the desired directory/folder.
Basic File and Folder Operations
While most of your use cases in FileZilla will be uploading and downloading, there are other basic operations you can perform. You can rename or delete files and folders, create new directories (folders), and navigate out of sub-directories to enter the parent directory. Consequently, these are tasks that you perform on occasion. So let’s dive into how to execute these file and folder operations in this beginner’s guide to using FileZilla.
Renaming Files or Folders
To rename files or folders, perform the following steps:
- Locate the file or folder you want to rename in either the Remote Directory Tree or the Local Directory Tree.
- Right-click on the file or folder and click “Rename” from the pop-up menu.
- Type the new name and press the Enter key on your keyboard. FileZilla will update the new name of the file or folder.
Deleting Files or Folders
Note: Please use caution when performing deletions, as files and folders removed from the remote server aren’t recoverable.
In order to delete files or folders, perform the following steps:
- Locate the file(s) or folder(s) you want to delete in either the Remote Directory Tree or the Local Directory Tree.
- Right-click on the file or folder and click “Delete.” FileZilla will delete the file or folder you selected.
Creating New Directories
In order to create new directories, perform the following steps:
- Navigate to the directory in FileZilla where you want to create the new directory in either the Remote Directory Tree or the Local Directory Tree.
- Right-click on an empty space in the file pane and select “Create directory” from the pop-up window.
- Type the name for the new directory and press the Enter key on your keyboard. FileZilla will create the new directory with the name you provided.
Navigating Out of a Sub-Directory into a Parent Directory
At times, you have to navigate out of a sub-directory into the parent directory. There are two ways for doing this:
- Method 1: Click on the topmost level folder icon with two trailing dots (“..”) in FileZilla.
- Method 2: Use a keyboard shortcut: “Alt+Up Arrow Key” (Windows) or “Command+Up Arrow Key” (Mac).
FileZilla is a reliable and user-friendly FTP client that makes file transfers between your computer and remote servers easy and pain-free. Now that you’ve read through this beginner’s guide to using FileZilla, you have an understanding of how to connect to your remote server and perform basic file and folder operations.