Using your account: Using FTP

  1. Overview
  2. Basic usage
  3. Suggested software
  1. Overview

    File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the most commonly used and popular way to publish your web site into your Positive account so it is visible on the World Wide Web via your domain. Whilst many web design tools such as Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive have their own built-in web publishing tools, these also are still effectively using FTP to transfer the files.

    The first step in publishing your web site is to design your pages "locally" on your own computer, probably using web design software and/or a text editor such as. Once you have designed and tested the seperate html pages and images locally you can then use an FTP client to transfer the local files to your Positive account on our remote host machine.

    There are a wide range of different standalone FTP clients available for all platforms, most shareware and some freeware - we have some links here. Some operating systems such as Linux (and even Windows 9x) have a simple command line based FTP built in but most people prefer to use a dedicated FTP client for ease of use and convenience. Additionally, most web design software usually has an FTP publishing feature built in.

    Regardless of 'flavour', all FTP software needs the same information in order to make a connection to your web space. This information is as follows:


    The hostname should be your web address (without the http:// section) for example

    Note: if your domain is still in the process of transferring, you will need to use the temporary hostname of the server your account is hosted on, as stated your original welcome email from us. This will usually be something like or etc.

    2) USERNAME (Also known as USER, LOGIN or LOGIN NAME)

    The username is as stated in your welcome emaik and is the login name you chose when setting up your account.


    The password is initally allocated to you by us and notifed in your welcome email.

    Note: you can change your password if you wish. See here for details.

    Back to top

  2. Basic usage

    A Windows or Macintosh based FTP client will usually present a graphical interface, representing local files and directories in one area, and remote files and directories in the other. This makes changing to required directories on the local and remote machines as easy as a mouse click or two. Often transfering a file can simply be a matter of dragging a file from the local area to the remote area and then waiting as the transfer progresses.

    FTP clients allow you to create, rename and delete any kind of file or directory in your remote web space area. There are a few IMPORTANT points to remember to ensure problem free FTP transfers and web page creation:

    File names on our servers are CASE SENSITIVE. This means that upper and lower case letters make a difference and that two distinctly different files may co-exist in the same directory or folder with similar names. For example the file Index.html is different to the file index.html simply because the initial letter i is in a different case. Other operating systems such as Windows do not differentiate between case, and will treat Index.html as the same file as index.html. To be safe, it is wise to always name files using all lower case, so that any HTML links also only point to lower case file names. If you upload a file and yet it seems not to be there when you link to it, check the case of the file name on our server with your FTP client (or even using telnet, see the telnet section) and rename if necessary. Note also that your default home page must be named all lower cases (index.html, index.htm, home.html etc) in order for the web server to automatically pick this up

    There are three main modes of file transfer with FTP: BINARY mode, ASCII mode and AUTO mode. Here's a summary of when to use them:

    BINARY MODE: used for most file types, except CGI scripts. Binary mode is essential for images and normally the best mode for HTML files too. Any precompiled executables or binaries must of course also be uploaded in binary mode.

    ASCII MODE: normally only used for transferring CGI scripts, when it is essential, but also useful for uploading plain text files if you wish to edit them via the Unix shell later. CGI scripts normally have a file extension of .cgi or .pl and these MUST be uploaded in ASCII transfer mode or they will not work (because extra linefeed characters are preserved in binary mode).

    AUTO MODE: most modern FTP clients can automatically decide which is the best mode to use for each file you upload and often it is safe to use AUTO mode. However if results are unexpected, it may be worth trying to manually set binary or ascii mode as appropriate..

    CGI scripts require correct permissions to be set, they must NOT be world writeable. Please see the CGI section for further details. Many modern FTP clients allow permissions to be set via the FTP client. However some clients do not have this feature, and in this case you will need to set the permissions using an SSH client (see the SSH section for further details).

    Understand the directory structure. Your 'web root' begins inside your public_html folder. This is usually NOT the directory you find yourself in when you first connect via FTP. Your public_html folder is a sub folder of your home directory. Your home directory contains other files and folders related to logs and email which are not accessable via the World Wide Web and are therefore not inside your web server 'web root'directory. A file called myfile.html placed directly in your home directory will never be visible to the rest of the world. However, once it is placed inside your public_html directory it will be visible using your web domain address followed by /myfile.html. More details about the directory structure on our system and how to move around and create sub directories can be found in our structure documentation.

    Back to top

  3. Suggested software

    There is a wide variety of FTP clients available for all platforms. Here are just a few links to some of the better or more popular ones, although this list is far from comprehensive.

    Windows 98 / ME/ 2000 / XP

    Leech FTP. Freeware. Download From Positive.

    WS_FTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    FTP Voyager. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    Cute FTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    Bulletproof FTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    3D FTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    AbsoluteFTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.


    Fetch. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    Hefty FTP. Shareware. Official Web Site.

    Transmit. Shareware. Official Web Site.


    FTP is a core functionality of Linux, integrated into the operating system. Some good standalone apps exist though, including:

    Kbear (for KDE). Open Source. Official Web Site.

    More Software

    For more Windows and Macintosh clients see Tucows, ZDnet and Strouds CWS Apps (Windows only).

    Back to top