So you want to connect to a server that uses the File Transfer Protocol? Okay, here's how:
  • Make sure it is a ftp server you are trying to connect to and not some other type (like the more secure scp file transfer protocol or the http protocol that web servers use).
  • You need to know the address of the server you want to connect to. This may be something like if you were trying to connect to the gnu ftp, or which is just the numerical equivalent for the same site.
  • You may have to know a port number if the server is not using the standard port (which is port 21). Many illegal ftp sites have their ftp server listening to a different port (like port 666 or 2001 or whatever).
  • You may have to have a username and password if you are looking for something that is not an anonymous ftp.
    If you have the info above and you're connected to the internet (and the server is connected and running, and the great internet gods are willing) you have everything you need to connect. You can do that a number of ways:
    Option 1: using a web browser like Internet Explorer:
  • Open the browser
  • In the address space, where you probably see something like, delete everything that's in there and replace it with your information from above with one of the following formats for an anonymous ftp
    or for a private ftp.
  • Press enter.
    You should be connected
    Option 2: using a text based client that comes as part of Windows (or unix or linux or several other operating systems, but I hope you can ftp if you're not using windows.)
  • Get to the command prompt (you can do this by going to Start-->Run and typing command or cmd.exe depending on the version of windows you are using)
  • at the command prompt, type your info from above in the following form:
  • Press enter.
    even if it is anonymous, it will then prompt you for a username and password. (for an anonymous host use anonymous for the username and your email (or someone else's) address for the password.
  • Press enter after each thing you enter
    You should be connected
    for a help on what commands to use type help, but you can generally use ls, put, get, cd and quit as well as several others.
    Option 3: graphical ftp client:
  • Download a graphical client from or somewhere else (wsftp, leechftp, and several others are good and free for most use).
  • Install your new client
  • launch your new client
  • Read the documentation provided for how to continue with your particular client.
    Congrats. Remeber to use ftp to transfer large files because it is much more efficient than email and and some other protocols. See also scp, ftp, port, server, client and gnu.