How to Upload Files To Your Web Site

Once you've built some pages for your web site, you need know how to upload the files to your web host.

The steps are:

  • Choose an ftp file transfer program
  • download it
  • set it up
  • upload the files to your website

Ftp programs and web hosts are all a bit different, so make sure you read their instructions.  I'll give a general overview of how to upload files, but your particular setup is likely to be a little different.

First Organize Your Web Pages

First, you need to organize your web site files. It's best to organize them on your computer the same way you intend to organize them on your web site. That way you can check that everything is functioning correctly before you upload your web pages. It makes uploading easier too.

You can organize the files in a few different ways. I think it pays to at least have images in a separate folder. If you plan on having other media or support files they should be in their own folders too.

All your web pages can be in the main directory eg, or for a large site you could put similar items into folders eg

FTP programs

To upload files (your web pages) to your web host, you'll need an ftp program which for some reason is called an ftp client. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which just means that you can transfer files between computers.

There are a number of ftp programs that you can download to your computer. Some are free, some aren't. Others are free for a non-commercial website, while commercial websites pay a license fee.

I've listed some popular free programs, and you can easily find more by doing a search.

I  use FileZilla which is an open source ftp program that is totally free for everyone. There's information on how to set up and use FileZilla here.

Other free programs that get good reviews are:

CoffeeCup Free ftp, Coreftp, Aceftp and Freeftp.

If you prefer a commercial program Smartftp is popular. It was free for many years, but no longer. A home user edition starts at a one time fee of under $40.

FTP programs generally have two panes, with one showing the files on your computer, and the other showing files on your web host. Transferring files from your computer to the web is just a matter of selecting and dragging the files from the local file pane to the web host pane.

Screenshot of FileZilla

Setting Up The FTP Program

Before you can use an FTP program you'll need to enter some information to set it up. The info should be in the welcome letter or thankyou page from your web host, and the ftp program should have help pages telling you exactly what is needed and how to enter it.

Names may change slightly from one ftp program to another, but typically you'll need to enter:

Profile name - A name you choose to identify the website you're ftping in case you have more than one.
– Often your domain name eg or
Username – The name you use to access your website's control panel.
Password – The password you use to access the control panel.
Port – Generally 21 for ftp, though you can possibly leave this entry box empty and everything will still work.

Ftp programs and hosts differ. Check their help pages to be sure you're doing the right thing.

Uploading Files

Once you've downloaded an ftp program and set it up with host name, password etc, you can connect and then uploading files is a simple matter of drag and drop.

Your web host will tell you where to place your files on their server.
Often it will be in the public_html directory or the www directory.

Go to the pane that shows the local files on your computer, navigate to the folder that contains your website and select the pages you want to upload. Then just drag the files to the pane showing the remote site – your web host, and drop the files into the appropriate directory.

Once again, check the instructions from your web host and ftp program, particularly if you have any problems.

Now you know how to upload your files. It's not that difficult if you take it step by step, and after you've done it once, it's quite easy.

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