What Does FTP Stand For?

It's a common web hosting term but what does FTP stand for?

I must confess that years ago when I hosted my very first web site I was confused to find out that I had to use something called an FTP client. What is FTP???

I had no idea what FTP was, how to find one - or how to use it when I did find it!

This was years and years ago but it still stands out in my memory!

If you are in this situation let me help you out.

Join me for an easy to understand FTP definition, as it applies to web hosting.

Although the term FTP might sound technical, complicated and new the concept is really easy to understand.

Once you have your website built, you need a way to transfer it out to your web host. Your web host will store all of your web pages on a server, so that they can be viewed on the internet by your website visitors.

Until your website is stored on your web host's server, you are the only one who can see it.

But how does it work? How do you get the files from one place to another?

FTP is the most common way to transfer your web pages between your computer and your web hosting company server.

FTP Definition

For our purpose, which is getting a better understanding of the web hosting process, what is the easiest to understand FTP definition ?

FTP is basically a special software program that transfers data. FTP programs usually run off a little console that shows two windows - one of all the files you have on your computer, and the other shows all the files you have stored on your web host server. You use commands or click and drag with your mouse to transfer files.

Files can be transferred from your computer to your web host server quite easily this way.

Everytime you update your web pages you will need to transfer these updates from your computer to your web hosting company server.

Tip -- You can also transfer your files that are on the web host server back to your own computer - this is good to know if your computer happens to crash and you have lost the latest copy of your website.

FTP software programs are also called FTP clients.

So what does FTP stand for?

File Transfer Protocol.

Now you are probably wondering...How do I get an FTP program?

Back to when I created my first website.... did I mention that I was very surprised and a little frustrated to find out that I had to find and use an FTP program to get my web pages on the server?

My web hosting company at the time did not supply or recommend any FTP programs so we were all kind of on our own!

But I put a call in to call Tech Support to ask for help.

Luckily they were pretty understanding and steered me towards some excellent FTP programs. I was so excited to finally see my web pages right out there on the internet!

There are many free FTP programs out there as well as more advanced paid programs.

One example of a free FTP program is FileZilla. It is available for free download.

Some FTP programs come in two versions - a lite version which is often free, and an upgraded version that you pay for.

Sometimes you can test out a paid FTP program on a 30 day free trial. This a great way to get a feel for the program and see if it would work for you.

Need more help?

Want to go beyond the basic understanding of FTP definition and "What does FTP stand for ?"

Check out our easy to understand guides to choosing an FTP program and how to use FTP and free FTP programs


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