The main objective here is for you to understand the following elements:
- What FTP means.
- What FTP software client to use.
- How to access and transfer files to/from your web hosting account via FTP.
- What files and folders make up the core WordPress content management system.
- What happens when you add new domain name names to your hosting account.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which is the standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. In relation to web based content management system like WordPress it basically means the method in which you transfer files from your computer/tablet/device to the your hosting account (where your website is stored).
First, let’s take a few minutes to understand exactly what your root directory is and why you need to know about it. Let’s use the file structure of your computer to help understand this. Think about the “My documents” folder on your computer. Consider this to be your root directory – where you store all of your personal files. The same principal applies to the root directory of your hosting account. Once you have WordPress installed onto the primary domain name in your hosting account all of the core files that make up WordPress plus any other files you add to your site are stored here in the root directory.
When you use the “one click” WordPress installation process that is provided through most hosting companies all of the files automatically get placed inside the root directory for you. Sweet! This is a big plus for you. This means that you do not really need to worry about where the files are. However, it is still the intention of this post series to ensure that you are knowledgeable enough to understand how the process works.
The time may come where you need FTP access to your root directory and/or other files within your hosting account. All this means is that you need direct access to view, upload, and perhaps delete files. To do this I recommend using FileZilla which is a free FTP client. You simply go to http://filezilla-project.org/ and download FileZilla to your computer.
Once it’s downloaded and you open up the software you will notice at the top under the main toolbar it asks you to input your host, username and password. Your host will be your domain name – mydomainname.com, your username and password are the same ones you use to access your Bluehost or alternate hosting account. You will also see a port input box which you can ignore for now.
Once you enter this criteria then you can click on Quickconnect. Once you are successfully connected, the left hand window will contain access to your computer system files while the right hand side will contain the files in located within your hosting account.
Let’s talk about the files inside your hosting account first.
The very first folder you see should just be a folder with … beside it. This means you are at the very root of of your hosting directory. Following that you will see a list of other random folders that automatically get created once you open your hosting account. Scroll down until you see the one called public_html and click on it. What you see now is all of the files and folders that are currently being stored under your main domain name – the root of your hosting account.
If this is a brand new account for you and you have only installed WordPress then you should see folders called wp-admin, wp-content, wp-includes and then a few straggling files that are below these folders. All of these files make up the core WordPress software installation.
Going forward if you purchase other domain names and then access your hosting via FTP then these new domain names will show up here as well. They will have a folder that is named after that particular domain for example, mynewdomainnam. If you install WordPress onto that domain name then all the WordPress files will automatically get stored within that new domain name’s folder.
Have questions or tips about FTP access?