I told you how to access your file manager to work with a single item on your server (like a plugin or favicon), but sometimes you need to work with files in bulk. To do this, you’ll need to know how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Basically, FTP lets you see the files on your computer and your server simultaneously. Then you can just drag and drop them from one to the other. I highly recommend becoming familiar with FTP as it is another one of those really-helpful-to-have skills.
For some reason, the term “FTP” strikes fear into many, but as you’ll see, once you’ve got an FTP client set up, it’s simple.
When to use FTP
There aren’t a lot of times you’ll use FTP, but one of the main ones is to back up your site’s files. Being able to download all files at once (uploads, plugins, themes, etc.) is handy.
How to use FTP
First you’ll need an FTP client which is basically a fancy way of saying you’ll need a program or application on your computer that will allow you to connect to your site’s server.
There are many free FTP clients available. Filezilla is a popular choice (here are some others as well). I use Cyberduck (download buttons are under the duck). Simply download the FTP client, run it and follow the instructions for setup.
1. Open your FTP client.
2. Enter your connection settings. These are details you’ll need from your host such as:
- Port number
If you don’t know these, contact your host. Explain that you’re trying to use an FTP client and ask them for the credentials you need.
3. Once connected, you’ll see a window with all the files on your server listed (much like you would see your files listed on your computer). Drill down if needed.
If you’re backing up your site files, the main folder you want to copy is the wp-content folder. Select it and either drag and drop it to a spot on your computer where you want to save the backup.