FTP means File Transfer Protocol, and it basically serves as a method of transferring files from one computer to another over a network. This network can be online, such as with america online, over a direct connection, such as ethernet, or any other way of two computers being connected.
Once the computers are connected, such as you are online with a cable modem or DSL, you can open your ftp program of choice. The campus program in room 239 EBUII when this page was written was WS_FTP, for the mac you can use FETCH or FILEZILLA or CYBERDUCK, and actually FILEZILLA is available for Windows and Linux as well at the same download site for free!
Almost all ftp programs have a similar form:
1)you connect with a series of form fields which you fill out. These tell the computer where the computer is that you want to connect to and transfer files back and forth with. It is similar to an address of a home. The form of this address is the following:
server (or "host name"):
this is the location of the computer which will contain all the files that one sees looking at a web page. It will look something like : "www.alexscoolserver.com"
User name (or "login"): This tells the server computer who you are, which will give you certain rights with regards to changing things on the computer. However, the computer still needs to make sure that you are who the login says, so you need a password, which is next...
Password: This tells the server computer that you are OK to connect and to change things. If anybody could connect, there would be problems with people changing things they shouldn't.
2)Once you have connected, you can now change files- copy them to the computer (upload), or copy from the computer (download).
Note that what you leave online is what the public sees when they go to your website. When you want to make changes to your website, what is important is that you change the files how you want on your computer, then go online and upload the files (make sure they are linked together with the main index page so people can view them). That's it.
An effort to maintain a simple organization for the online website space will make it easier for you to make changes and maintain the site. Group your site into different directories (a simple structure) like "images" and "pages" and "downloads," etc.
Remember to name your initial file "index.html" and then any web browser will automatically open your site when the link to your site is clicked from whatever link connects to it or from a search engine result (such as google).
Also, remove any spaces in the name of any file you have as part of your site, as that will not link properly.
again, the connection address to put into your ftp program of choice is :
username and password
directory: if there is a sub-directory