How to Set Up FTP on Your Hosting Account for WordPress

It’s a good idea to set up FTP for use with WordPress. Many web hosts offer FTP as part of their hosting packages, so just confirm that your hosting provider makes FTP available to you for your account.

Most web hosts provide cPanel — a hosting account management interface. cPanel is by far the most popular hosting account management software used by many hosts on the web. Others, such as Plesk and Netadmin, are widely used as well but aren’t as popular.

The following instructions use cPanel; if your hosting provider gives you a different interface to work with, the concepts are the same, but refer to your hosting provider for the specifics to adapt these directions to your specific environment.

By and large, the FTP for your hosting account is set up automatically. Follow these few steps to get to the FTP Accounts page to view and set up your FTP account:

  1. Log in to the cPanel for your hosting account:

    1. Browse to http://yourdomain.com/cpanel to bring up the login screen for your cPanel (where yourdomain is your actual domain name).

    2. Enter your specific hosting account username and password in the login fields and then click OK.

  2. Click the FTP Accounts link and/or icon in your cPanel to open the FTP Accounts page.

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  3. Check to see if you have an existing FTP Account.

    If you already have an existing FTP Account, you can skip the rest of these steps.

    If your hosting provider automatically sets you up with an FTP account, you see it in the Account Management section. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the default FTP account uses the same username and password combination as your hosting account, or the login information you used to log in to your cPanel in Step 1.

  4. (Optional) Create a new FTP Account.

    If the FTP Accounts page doesn’t show a default FTP user in the Account Management section, create one in the Add FTP Account section with these steps:

    1. Type your desired username in the Login text field.

      This creates the username of username@yourdomain.com (in which username is the desired username you typed and yourdomain.com is your specific domain name).

    2. Type your desired password in the Password text field and then retype it in the Password (Again) text box to validate it.

      You can either type your own chosen password or click the Password Generator button to have the server generate a secure password for you.

    3. Check the Strength indicator.

      The server tells you whether your password is Very Weak, Weak, Good, Strong, or Very Strong. You want a Very Strong password for your FTP account so it’s very hard for hackers and malicious Internet users to guess and crack.

    4. Leave the Directory text box blank.

      Leaving this field blank gives you access to the root level of your hosting account, which as the site owner, you want. Therefore, leave this field blank. (In the future, if you set up FTP accounts for other users, you can lock their access to your hosting directory by indicating which directory the FTP user has access to.)

    5. Leave the default Unlimited radio button selected to indicate the space limitations in the Quota text field.

      In the future, if you add a new FTP user, you can limit the amount of space, in megabytes (MB), by selecting the other radio button and typing the numerical amount, such as 50MB, in the text box.

    6. Click the Create FTP Account button.

      A new screen loads with a message that the account was created successfully; it also displays the settings for this new FTP account.

    7. Copy and paste these settings into a text editor, such as Notepad or TextMate.

      These settings contain the connection details you need to connect via FTP and looks like this (the FTP username, password, and server are specific to your domain and the information you entered in the preceding steps):

      FTP Username: lisa@yourdomain.com

      Password: {W?$s((7Tqi

      FTP Server: ftp.yourdomain.com

      FTP Server Port: 21 (your web server automatically assigns the FTP Port)

      Quota: Unlimited MB

At any time, you can revisit the FTP Accounts page to delete the FTP accounts you’ve created, change the quota, change the password, or find the connection details specific to that account.

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