Network Administration: FTP Site Access with a Browser

Modern web browsers include built-in support for FTP. Internet Explorer lets you access an FTP site almost as if it were a local disk. You can even drag and drop files to and from an FTP site.

To access an FTP site in a web browser, just type the name of the site in the address bar. If you want, you can explicitly specify the FTP protocol by typing ftp:// before the FTP site name, but that’s usually not necessary. The browser determines that the name you type is an FTP site and invokes the FTP protocol automatically.

The following illustration shows you how a typical FTP site appears when accessed with Windows Explorer on a Windows 7 system. As you can see, the files and folders appear as if they were on a local disk. Double-click a folder to display the files contained in that folder; download files by dragging them from the browser window to the desktop or to another window. You can also upload files by dragging them from the desktop or another window into the FTP browser window.

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If the contents of an FTP site don’t appear in the browser window, you may need to log on to the site. Choose File→Login As to display the Log On As dialog box. If the site administrator has given you a name and password, you can enter it here to access the site. Otherwise, select the Log On Anonymously check box and then click the Log On button.