Using FTP clients is remarkably simple. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and its easier to show some basic functions when using ftp clients than to describe them. In very simple terms, using FTP clients consists of setting up the client to communicate with your web server and then uploading and downloading files between them.
Setting up your FTP client to connect to a Server:
While the above picture is from a CuteFTP screenshot, it is representative of the setup for most clients. Essentially, the client needs to know where to go to connect to your web server and then what your username and password for the server is. Your web hosting company provides the FTP server information to you as well as your username and password. Once the information is filled in, you need only press connect and the FTP client takes you to your web server. Note also, the option to login anonymously. You can use your FTP client to anomymously login to any number of sites that support it to download files from their servers.
Using ftp clients to transfer files:
Another screenshot from CuteFTP. The screenshot is a bit compressed to fit into my typing space but the image is illustrative of the simplicity of the FTP client. In the left window pane is your computer. You can browse to any folder on your computer and the left window pane will show the directory you are working in locally. In the right window pane is the server you are connected to. Like any other computer, the server has files within folders. The FTP client allows you to browse to the folder you want on the distant end. When you have browsed to the appropriate folders for your client end and the distant end you can now select files and drag them from one window to the other or use the upload and download arrows. Files can be transferred in either direction and many FTP clients have a sync function that figures out what needs to be uploaded or downloaded to make the local and distant end folders identical in content.
There is more to using ftp clients than this short guide but gives the basics. The full functionality of CuteFTP or other clients can be found by reading their respective manuals. Suffice to say that there is great power and flexibility offered by thes programs with variations on their use limited only by your imagination. FTP clients don’t care what the file is or how big it is. You can use them to upload and download web pages to keep your web page up to date as a webmaster or you can use them to download music for your personal collection.