Launch A Website Quickly with FTP

Q: Hey Chris. I have HTML files. How do I get them on the Web?
A: FTP (Read more for how to get started)

1. Before You FTP, You Need Hosting

The first thing you need is A PLACE TO PUT THOSE FILES. Where is that place? Answer: hosting. I set up a basic tutorial on how to get started with Hostgator (a cheap and reliable hosting solution). Other hosting companies I recommend are listed on the Suggested Web Hosting Page.

Ok, so we have a host. We did that. What’s next?

Your host sent you a “Welcome” email. In that email there is a username, password, and a bunch of other details. SAVE THAT EMAIL. Archive it. Put it in Evernote. Google spreadsheet. Whatever works, you want to be able to find this easily in the future.

2. Download and Install an FTP Client 

Choose one here. But the short of it is that I recommend Cyberduck (for free)… or even better Transmit if you have a few bucks to put into this.

3. Add Your Credentials

You need to add: username, password, domain name. Where do I get that? It’s in your hosting email (see step #1 above)

Here’s how FTP setup looks in Cyberduck:

Here’s how FTP setup looks in Transmit (the same concept as above, but in a different program)

4. Move Your Files From Your Computer to Your Server

Below is a simple example screenshot using Transmit. It’s pretty much the same with any FTP client. Alternatively, you should be able to drag files right from your desktop (or the Finder) onto the server. Dragging the opposite way? Bingo.. it downloads it.

Q: I used Cyberduck. 

A: That’s not a question. But if you chose Cyberduck do yourself a favor…

Go to “PREFERENCES -> TRANSFERS -> PERMISSIONS” and uncheck the “Change Permissions” boxes.

Explanation why you are doing this: By default Cyberduck changes your permissions and you’ll have an error uploading PNGS. So, save yourself the trouble later on and make it look like this…

Q: I get FTP. What is SFTP? 

A: It’s just “secure” FTP. You know, just like “http://” and “https://”. If you choose to setup SFTP with your hosting provider, make sure you also chose that setting in your FTP client. It doesn’t cost anything extra to setup SFTP… so I say, sure why not do it.

Q: Thanks Chris, but, but, but… can I use GIT instead? 

A: Sure, but FTP is great for beginners. Git is probably unnecessary if you’re just starting out. And besides, I still use FTP for small projects and for throwing files on the Web quickly.