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Basic instructions designed for beginners

FireFTP How-To for Beginners (8 Steps)

This tutorial shows how to use FireFTP, a free FTP program that works within the Firefox Web browser. The Help page from FireFTP is also very useful. If you're not using Firefox as your primary Web browser, I suggest that you switch immediately. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

File transfer protocol (FTP) is how we send large files from one computer to another using the Internet -- not an e-mail attachment.

The tutorial assumes that you have space on a Web server (host) available to you. Here's what you need:

  1. You would already have a login and password to access that space.
  2. You would also have an address for the space. This is the IP address or domain name of the host. Example:
  3. You might possibly have a default directory name (if you don't, then it is not required).

The preliminary step, of course, is to download and install the FireFTP add-on for Firefox. You can do that here. You will need to restart Firefox after you have installed the FireFTP add-on.


Open FireFTP in Firefox (see illustration below). Open the Tools menu to find it. (Here is a screenshot of what FireFTP looks like when it has been opened.)

How to: Open FireFTP

Above: How to open FireFTP.


Tell FireFTP where your Web space is and how to get in. First, click "Create an account" (see below). Second, fill in the host address, login and password. These were explained above. If you don't have them, you'll need to get them from your hosting provider or your corporate IT manager.

The account name can be anything.

How to: Create a new account
How to: Set up a new account

Above: After you click "Create an account," you will see the Account Manager dialog box.


The file you want to upload is somewhere on your own computer. Your computer is shown on the left side in FireFTP. Find the file there, and select it in the panel to the right, under "Name" (shown below).

How to: Find your local folders

Above: Find the folder on your computer where the files reside.

How to: Find your local file

Above: Find the file you want to upload.


To connect to the remote host computer, click "Connect." (If you are already connected, this will say "Disconnect.") The host is where you want to send (upload) your file.

How to: Connect to the host

Above: Click to connect to the host.


After you connect, the remote host computer is shown on the right side in FireFTP.

If this is the first time you have uploaded anything to a new host, you might not have any folders yet. To create a new folder there, position your cursor under "Name" (as shown below) and right-click (Win) or Control-click (Mac) to open a menu.

As you can see, I have made a lot of folders on my remote host. This is a good practice, because otherwise your Web site will be a mess. The folder structure on the host should be exactly the same as the structure inside the one folder you keep for that host site on your own (local) computer.

How to: Navigate on the host

Above: On the right-hand side of FireFTP, you'll see the folders and files on your remote host computer.


You must double-click the precise folder on the right side (the remote host). This tells the file where to go when you upload it.

If you fail to select the folder properly, the file might go anywhere!

How to: Select the remote folder

Above: Select and double-click the exact folder on the remote host site.


You have selected the exact file to upload (left side).

You have selected the exact folder to which the file will go (right side).

Now click the Upload button (shown below).

How to: Upload the file to the remote folder

Above: Click to upload.


If your file was uploaded successfully, you will see it on the right side.

Sometimes a file will not upload because you have exceeded your space quota on the host site. If you have repeated difficulty in uploading a file, that might be the reason.

How to: Select the remote folder

Above: The file (and its file size) can be seen on the right-hand side after the upload.

What is the complete URL for that file?

More information and assistance is on the Help page from FireFTP. This is the end of the tutorial.