In a land far away and a time long ago, I was a UNIX System Administrator. It doesn’t get any geekier than that. Fast forward to 2008 and I’m obsessed with blogging. Who knew those geek skills would be useful in real life?
Business blogs are becoming more and more popular and a hosted WordPress blog allows the most flexibility. You can save a lot of $$$ if you learn a few basic computer skills. ftp is one of the most important .. File Transfer Protocol … it even sounds geeky, stay with me .. it’s quite simple.
The wikipedia entry says “File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a network protocol used to transfer data from one computer to another through a network, such as the Internet.” ftp is used to copy WordPress themes and plugin files from your computer to your hosts server.
The free utility filezilla makes copying files to your server easy. You’ll need to know the location of the files on your machine (straight forward) and on the hosting server – the wp-content directory. It will probably be in the /public_html directory. Look in the Files section of the documentation for your hosting company. As a last resort, e-mail the support department of your hosting service for the location.
It easier to unzip the files on your computer. You can do that now.
Put the unzipped folders in the same folder on your computer. It makes it easier to copy them to the host’s server when the time comes.
You need to check the welcome e-mail from your hosting company to see if they provided you with an ftp account.
If you need to create an ftp userid, it’s straight forward. Sign onto your administration account on your hosting server (that will be in the welcome e-mail) and navigate to the CPanel (control panel) .
In Cpanel (control panel), click on ftp accounts in the Files section. It’s easier to remember if the user name contains ftp somewhere in it. If you have multiple blogs like I do, I named my ftp accounts fpblogname and ftpblogname2 to make it easier to remember where I’m copying the files to.
The directory field entry is /public_html (or whatever directory the documentation/support e-mail identified as the root directory of your blog). Root directory just means the top level directory. On a Windows pc, think of C: as the root directory.
The hard part is over.
In filezilla, key in the host name – that will be your domain name, or it may be an ip address. An ip address looks like this xxx.xxx.xxx.xx where the x’s are numbers. Your host will have supplied you with that information. Next is the account information. (it will probably look like an e-mail address). Password is straight forward. Unless you’ve been given a port number, you can leave that field blank. Click on QuickConnect.
The good news is, filezilla remembers that information, so if you only have one blog, you can just click on the R on the tools menu to reconnect next time.
If your connection is successful, the last entry in the window at the top of filezilla’s display will probably say “Directory Listing Successful” or some other happy display. The most common error is the userid or password is incorrect. Don’t forget the @yourdomainname.com in the userid.
The left panel (Local Site) displays information about files on your computer, the right panel (Renote Site) will be blank with a +/ displayed. This is the “root” directory on your hosting server (probably /public_html). Click on the + to display the directories .. Viola!
On your computer, click on the directory name you unzipped the theme or plugin to. To copy the files, drag the directory name from your system and drop it on the appropriate directory name on the Remote site. You’ll be able to see the files being transferred in the window at the bottom of the filezilla display.
Pat yourself on the back.
Sign on as WordPress Administration and the themes and plugins you copied to your host site will be displayed.
How easy was that? Okay .. it’s your first time .. it gets easier :)