How to FTP Files on Your Mac

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites are usually set up by companies or individuals to make it easy to exchange sizable files, such as videos or picture files, over the Internet. Your Mac has a built-in FTP server for giving other people access to your machine. You can also access someone else’s FTP site from your Mac.

To grant others access to your Mac, choose Apple→System Preferences and click Sharing. Select the File Sharing box and click Options. Click Share Files and Folders Using FTP. People on other computers can now share and copy files to and from your machine. You might also have to open ports in your router’s software to allow access.

Consider the security ramifications before allowing just anyone access to your machine. Right under the box you just selected is the warning, “FTP logins and data transfers are not encrypted.”

To access someone else’s FTP site, from the Finder Menu, choose Go→Connect to Server. Enter the server address in the box provided and click Connect. Depending on the server you’re attempting to connect to, you’ll likely have to enter a name and a password.

You may be able to drag and drop files from your machine onto that FTP server. But often you need help from outside software, such as the $25 shareware program Fetch, which allows you to dump files onto an FTP server. Other FTP choices include Transmit3 and RBrowser.

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