Did you create a new website, and need a guide on how to connect to your WordPress using FTP? We can’t say this is essential. After all, you can do plenty by accessing the WordPress Admin Section. And, if you keep things simple and don’t customize a lot, it might be possible to successfully manage your WordPress website without FTP for a long time. Unfortunately, you will most likely get an error sooner or later. It could be major such as the white screen of death or a minor one such as Fatal Error: Maximum execution time exceeded. In both cases, knowing how to access your WordPress website via FTP is crucial.
What is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It lets you connect to your website directly, and access its source files and folders. Think of it as exploring a folder on your computer or your smartphone. The simplest and most obvious abilities you gain are to upload, download, remove, rename, move, edit files directly, and much more… you get the point.
You should also know that while most still call it FTP, you will most likely be using SFTP. It’s a more secure version – after all, it stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol or SSH File Transfer Protocol. You might have seen an SSH pop-up balloon when entering login credentials or bank details. A very similar transition also happened from HTTP to HTTPS.
What are the benefits of FTP?
Beyond the basic capabilities above, you can also:
- Install a plugin via FTP or delete and disable one or all of them
- Install a theme via FTP or delete or disable WordPress themes
- Edit your .htaccess file as well as important configuration files such as wp-content.php or index.php
- Access your website’s root folder when you are locked out of your Admin Dashboard
- Upload media files one-by-one or in bulk even if you’re getting the “Upload: Failed to write file to disk” error
- Change file or folder permissions
- Fix numerous errors such as “This site is experiencing technical difficulties”, “Are you sure you want to do this”, blank thumbnail errors, or disable PHP errors if your frontend is being spammed
What is required to use FTP?
There are two ways to use FTP for your WordPress website.
- Download, install, and run an FTP client on your computer. This is a great option if you’re trying to learn practical skills and plan on using FTP instead of the Admin Dashboard whenever possible.
- Use the FTP app in the cPanel on your hosting website. A great option for occasional fixes or editing configuration files. Requires no installation or third-party software and is immediately available. It’s usually under the Files or Advanced categories and named FTP or File Manager.
To use any of the above, you need FTP credentials. Once again, there are two ways.
- Use the default account. It was created at the time of the hosting purchase. Look through your e-mails, contact Customer Support through live chat, or send a ticket using the internal system on your hosting website.
- Create a new account. The process is slightly different from one hosting to another.
- Log in to your cPanel, and look for the Files/Advanced category.
- Click on the FTP Accounts box to make it expand.
- Click on the Add FTP account button.
- Choose a login, and type the password twice. It’s recommended that you use a password generator for maximum security.
- Since you’re creating an administrator account, leave Directory blank.
This option allows you to limit access to certain folders only.
- Make sure the Quota is set to unlimited.
- Click on Create FTP Account.
A step-by-step guide to accessing your WordPress website using FTP
We’ll use FileZilla to demonstrate the process. You can use any of the best FTP clients or one that’s dear to your heart. The process is nearly identical if you use the web app. First, prepare FTP details provided by your hosting or ask for it via their 24/7 chat.
- Open FileZilla, and in the upper left corner, click on File.
- Select Site Manager from the drop-down menu.
You can also use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S next time.
- Click on New Site in the menu on the left. Now, fill in the empty fields under General like this:
- Under Protocol, choose SFTP or FTP.
It’s almost always SFTP nowadays.
- Under Host and Port enter the detail provided by your hosting.
If they didn’t specify a Port, try 21 for FTP and 22 for SFTP.
- Under Logon Type, select Ask for password.
- Under User, enter the Login part of the FTP account you created or the default one created for you.
- Under Protocol, choose SFTP or FTP.
- Click on Connect.
- Enter the password for the FTP account you created or was assigned to you.
- Click OK.
- You should now see your website’s files in a window split into two halves.
And that was it, you now possess the skill to use FTP to connect to your WordPress website. It’s an indispensable tool in your arsenal that will allow you to have almost complete control over every single part of your website.
It is absolutely safe to access your WordPress websites using FTP, given that you are following the best practices. Be sure to use the SFTP protocol over the traditional FTP protocol in order to ensure maximum security for your connection.
It will completely depend on what type of FTP tools you are using and the speed of your Internet connection. But in most cases, if you are transferring a single large file, both FTP and SSH are going to give you almost the same speed. But if you’re trying to transfer multiple small files, FTP is going to be slightly slower.
If you are using an unmanaged server that was set up by you or someone else without the involvement of a managed WordPress hosting company. You will have to figure out the username and password of a user on your Ubuntu Server.
On the other hand, if you are using managed WordPress hosting such as Siteground or Bluehost, you can simply check your hosting dashboard to find out the FTP credentials. If you cannot find it, you can ask the hosting support to help you.