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Uploading Files Using FTP

What is FTP, and what does an FTP client do?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is the most widely-used protocol designed for transferring files from one machine to another. It allows you to design your site locally (i.e. on your personal computer) and upload it to our servers when it is ready, among other benefits. Most FTP clients also allow you to create directories, rename and delete files, and set file permissions.

However, for increased security when transferring files, we recommend using SFTP (SSH FTP), which comes standard with most FTP clients. SFTP creates a secure "tunnel" via SSH2 and then uses the standard FTP protocol to upload and download data within that tunnel.

Who can use SFTP?

SFTP can be used with your main account login but not with additional FTP logins. Additional FTP logins are set up to only use FTP without SSH.

Where can I get an SFTP/FTP client?

Below are a few Open Source SFTP/FTP clients for both Windows and Mac users.

Windows SFTP/FTP Clients

Mac SFTP/FTP Clients

Of course, you can use the command line FTP program bundled with most newer PCs or Mac computers. However, if you are uploading many files at once, or are new to using SFTP, it may be easier to simply use one of the graphic clients listed above.

How do I use a graphical SFTP/FTP client?

While all graphical SFTP/FTP clients are different, they ask for similar information. Take a look at the screenshot from the SFTP/FTP application Cyberduck below:


Remember to select the SFTP option for increased file transfer security. The SFTP/FTP client will also ask you for the server name. The server name is the name of server or computer with which you wish to connect. In the screenshot above, gamma.pair.com is just an example. You should substitute your actual server name.

Your server name can be found in your pair Networks Welcome message or in the Account Control Center (ACC). Your server name will be in the format username.pairserver.com, where "username" is your pair Networks username.

Most SFTP/FTP clients allow you to choose an initial directory. To default into your Home directory, set the initial directory to: /usr/home/USERNAME/. To default into your Web directory, set the initial directory to: /usr/home/USERNAME/public_html/.

Make sure that you replace "USERNAME" with your pair Networks USERNAME. You'll also have to enter your pair Networks password. Also, be sure to note the trailing "/" on each of the above directory paths.

After you've entered all the information, you'll be connected to the server. Most of these graphical clients will allow you to drag and drop files from your computer to the server and visa-versa. Review the SFTP/FTP client's help documentation for more in-depth instructions.

Below are a couple common questions that come up when customers begin using SFTP/FTP clients for the first time.

My SFTP/FTP client "autodetects" ASCII and BINARY files. Should I use that?

Yes, you should use this feature if you are a new SFTP/FTP user, but understand that it's an imperfect feature. The "autodetect" feature of most graphical FTP clients works by learning what file extensions (.html, for example) indicate text files and which indicate binary files.

In particular, if you plan on using autodetect make sure that .pl and .cgi files are recognized as text files. Text files that are uploaded in BINARY format, particularly cgi scripts and email configuration files, may exhibit strange behavior or simply not work at all.

I uploaded a text file as BINARY. Why doesn't it work right?

If possible, your best bet is to simply upload the file again in ASCII format, overwriting the previous copy. If that is not possible, and your account includes SSH access, there are two utilities on the server to correct the files.

If you created the file on a PC, SSH to the server and run "pcfix.pl FILENAME" after changing into the directory where the file is located. If you created the file on a Macintosh computer, follow the same procedure, but substitute macfix.pl for pcfix.pl.

Updated on May 24, 2018

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