How to use FTP or SFTP to upload files to WordPress

What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is a fast and convenient way to transfer files over the Internet. For this reason many webmasters use FTP for uploading their websites files on their hosting accounts.  In this article, you will learn how to use FTP to upload a plugin to WordPress and how to change the permissions of each individual file.

What is SFTP?

SFTP or Secure File Transfer Protocol transfers your files and your password over a secured connection, and should therefore be used instead of FTP whenever possible. Most hosting providers offer support for SFTP connections, though you may have to contact them to enable SFTP on your account.

Why does FTP is important?

Sometimes you install and activate plugin by using WordPress Dashboard to check if it is compatible with an existing plugin. And the incompatibility may cause a white screen of death throughout the site which locks you out from doing anything. To get rid of it, just login and delete the plugin by using FTP or SFTP connection.

When you are trying to paste a code from any tutorial into the functions.php file of your theme, you may lock yourself out if you paste it in the wrong place or use a code that is semantically wrong. By using FTP you may get out of this problem.

Why upload WordPress files using SFTP other than FTP?

Most of the FTP Client users connect to their server via FTP. But this method uploads your files in plain text format which poses a security risk. SFTP eliminates the security concern of using FTP. It encrypts both commands and data, which prevents sensitive information like database name, username, password, host, table prefix, etc. from being transmitted over the network in clear format.

How to connect via FTP or SFTP using FileZilla?

  • Download FileZilla and install it.
  • To Open Filezilla go to Start > All Programs > FileZilla.
  • Click on Site Manager at top left corner of program of the File menu.

upload files via FTP through filezilla 1

  • Click on the New Site button at the bottom left of Site Manager Window.

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  • Select a name for your site so it displays on the left.
  • Now you need to fill in your FTP account information in the box on the right side of the screen.
  • On the right fill in your Host. Generally your url or site’s ip address without any http://www. For example: wp-solution.com.
  • Now enter the Port number that your hosting provider uses to connect via SFTP. Generally 22 but HostGator uses 2222.
  • Click on the dropdown next to Protocol and choose FTP – File Transfer Protocol or SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol.
  • Click on the dropdown next to Logon Type and choose Normal.

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  • Enter in your User name and Password.
  • Select the Connect Button to test your SFTP connection.
  • Type your password and click OK.

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  • When the server connects the first time via SFTP or if you change your host name, you will get the following. Click Yes or OK to accept.

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  • If you successfully entered all of your information, you will be connected via FTP or SFTP.

If you have failed to connect with SFTP, communicate with your hosting provider whether your web server is SFTP enabled or not and also verify that you have the right port number. Hosting company may ask you to enable SSH on your server but it may erase all your site content or database.

If you are having the service of GoDaddy and it does not work, try Server Type FTPES – FTP over explicit TLS/SSL and use the port 21.

The good FTP or SFTP clients are:

Filezilla -works on all operating systems.
FireFTP -works best on PC but also works on MAC after much patching.

Cyberduck -works on Mac only.
WinSCP -works on Windows Only.

Notepad ++ -works on PC only but has also has a great live edit mode.

CODA -paid software for MAC, but has awesome live edit mode.

Take your WordPress security seriously and make your blog a safer place for yourself and your visitors.

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How to use FTP or SFTP to upload files to WordPress

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