15 June 2005

Data Freeway

FTP stands for file transfer protocol. It's the standard for sharing files (of any format) between different operating systems. It allows a webmaster to communicate with the server hosting her homepage.

FTP clients
are programs that allow a webmaster to upload or edit the files of a web page. Unlike "normal" files like your term paper (that you wrote in MS Word), the files that are incorporated in your webpage reside on another computer—an FTP server. FTP servers are also called hosts. You are only going to need an FTP client if you have a web page. Even then, you may not need one: this site can be maintained without an FTP client. Most personal web publishers, like Nucleus CMS, Movable Type, bBlog, WordPress, b2evolution, boastMachine, Radio, and Drupal* have file uploading built in. Likewise, Macromedia Dreamweaver has an FTP client built in.

However, these are often inadequate. Movable Type only allows one to upload files; taking them down or editing them, or re-arranging the file system (like, for example, putting images in subdirectories) is impossible. I've never used the other publishing CGI applications, so I can't comment about them.

For those of you who—like me—always want free stuff, there is a free download of an excellent FTP client available:

So now you know. I've been using this one for several months and I think it's superb.
* List of web publishers and links via Wikipedia

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