Copying Files with WS-FTP

The WS-FTP interface window

WS-FTP is a graphical FTP program that you can download from the internet. Using this program, it is very easy to both upload files from your computer to some external computer (eg. the server hosting your web site) and download files from an external location onto your computer. The above image shows what the main wsftp window (that you use to perform these file transfers) looks like.

The buttons across the bottom of the screen are used to establish and break connections with the remote server, to configure those connections, and to give access to the event log. The Connect button opens the window allowing you to establish a connection and in fact this window opens automatically when you first start the program. The essential fields that need to be filled in in order to allow a connection to be established are:

There are lots more options available in the connect window. If you are having trouble getting your ftp session to connect, talk to the administrator of the server to figure out what changes you ought to make to these other settings. The options button also takes you to a whole lot of further settings that you may also want to look at changing in order to customize the program.

The other buttons across the bottom of the screen are the cancel button which shuts down the current remote connection, the logwnd button which allows you to examine the entire log for the current session instead of just the last couple of lines that appear just above this button bar in the main window, the help and about buttons which provide access to the help text and information about the version that you are running respectively, and the exit button which will close the program down completely.

So now let's move on to the main section of the window where you will perform all of your ftp functions once you have your ftp session established. The main part of the window at the top is broken into two sections. The section on the left represents directories (folders) and files on your computer while the section on the right contains corresponding information for the remote location. Between these two sections are two buttons --> which is used to upload selected files from your computer to the remote location and <-- which is used to download selected files from the remote location to your computer. To use either of these buttons, all you need do is to switch to the appropriate directory in each location and selecting the files that are to be sent then click the appropriate arrow button. Double clicking on a file has the same effect.

You can change your current directory or drive either by double clicking the appropriate entry in the list or by single clicking on the entry and then clicking on the chdir button.

If the sub-directory that you want to upload to or download from doesn't exist then you can create it by clicking the appropriate mkdir button and then specifying the name of the sub-directory to create.

The next field down between the buttons is an input field that contains *.*. By changing the file mask in this field, you can select to only display the subset of the files in the directory that match the mask.

The view button allows you to view the content of the selected file in your nominated viewer program (selectable in options) while the exec button allows you to execute the file (which for most files that you load to your internet server means that the file will be viewed in your browser). You can also rename or delete a selected file should that be required. The final button dirinfo displays a complete list of the content of the current directory to make it easier to see if the directory contains the file you are looking for without being limited to viewing 12 entries at a time as you are with the selection window.

Directly under the selection windows and above the log window are the buttons to select the transfer mode to use for file transfers. The choice are ascii (which will convert end-of-record indicators between a carriage return and line feed combination for windows based systems and a single line feed for unix/linux based systems or single carriage return for mac based systems) or binary which will transfer the file as is without conversion. Checking the auto box instructs the system to send all files as binary except those defined in options in the extensions list.

As you can see, this program provides lots of useful options relating to transferring files between your computer and a remote server. You may not often use many of these options but at least now you have some idea of what the various buttons do so that you can use them when you need them.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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