How to Use Filezilla to Upload Files to Your New Host

UPDATE: June 11, 2015. Latest version of Filezilla available from SourceForge is full of malware. I am leaving the old tutorial below for those who are still using it, but I would suggest to stay away unless you know a way to download it without malware.

For those who want a good alternative, I suggest to use CyberDuck. Many people also like WinSCP, but their download also comes via SourceForge which I don’t trust anymore. I personally tested CyberDuck It’s great, no viruses, has multiple file upload feature just like FileZilla. CoffeeCup’s Free FTP is another alternative, but I prefer CyberDuck.

Filezilla is a great free tool that allows you multiple file upload. Just hit the button, sit back and it will do everything for you.  If you are coming from a restrictive platform such as Site Build It! you will really appreciate this tool! In this post I will show how to connect Filezilla to your server and upload files from your computer. If you are transferring your website from SBI! you will probably need Filezilla or similar tool to upload your entire site to your new host.

First of all download Filezilla  here and install it on your computer. Once you are done with installation, open Filezilla and do the following…

1. Click on File –> Site Manager –> New Site

filezilla configuration
Give your site a name – something like mysite.com. Now you have to fill some fields to enable Filezilla to connect to your server:
 
2. Under General (to the right) you will need to fill some information that will allow Filezilla get access to your server.
 
Here is what you need to enter:

  • near “Host:” enter your IP address (the one that your new host provided like 123.456.578). Some hosts will work with name servers (that’s what I did in video), but IP address works with most. If your website is already actually hosted by this host you can simply enter your website’s address, like mydomain.com. I know that most people reading this are transferring websites and have not switched their name servers yet. For them it should be either IP address (ASO) or name server name (Hostgator).

    Nothing seems to work? Contact your host’s support and ask them what you should enter under host for FTP to connect to your server.

  • Keep Protocol FTP File Transfer Protocol and Encryption – Use Plain FTP.
  • Change Logon Type from Anonymous to Normal.
  • User: your username at your new host (you usually choose it yourself when you signup for an account) and Password: your password at your new host.
  • Click  “Connect”. You will see Directory listing successful in the top window. You will also notice your current files that you have on your server under “REMOTE SITE” (right window). You can navigate these files right from here depending on where you want to put your site’s content.

local and remote site filezilla

What you have to do now is to put your files in root directory. In A Small Orange and in Hostgator (affiliate link) and most other hosts I access root directory through folder called public_html. That’s where I would navigate using Filezilla.
 
Now what you need is to get files you want to upload to appear in the left part of interface where it’s written LOCAL SITE –>FILENAME (from down) and at the same time you need to open a location WHERE you want to upload them to the right part of interface where it’s written REMOTE SITE –> FILENAME (also from down).
uploading files using filezilla

My original image and video say to hit CTRL+A (on Windows) to choose all files and drag them to the right. However I found that people who deal with FileZilla for the first time sometimes mess up with this by dragging files to one of the folders within public_html (like cgi bin folder) then they can’t figure out what went wrong. So it is actually better to do CTRL+A then right clck –> UPLOAD. I am not going to remove old image, but I made a new image to demonstrate Upload button for you:

filezilla upload image

Make sure that what you have in the right window is your root directory (public_html) otherwise you will upload your files to a wrong place.

For HTTrack Users
If you used HTTrack to copy your website, you want to make sure you upload only files you need. HTTrack creates some files you don’t have to upload as explained in my HTTrack video here (at about 1:45). What you’ll do is:

  • Click on folder you created when copying your website with HTTrack
  • Inside that folder you’ll find HTTrack’s Project Name (once again, you created that yourself just before copying)
  • Inside that folder (under the your project name) you will find either www.yourwebsite.com or yourwebsite.com
  • You will click on that and there will be all files and folders you need. Once these files appear in the left part of Filezilla’s interface you can hit CTRL+A (for Windows) to choose all and drag it to public_html (if you are using Hostgator or any other host that provides a cPanel).

Upload only what you find inside yoursite.com (or www.yourwebsite.com). For this you have to navigate to the contents of that folder in the left part of Filezilla’s interface.

Do not simply drag folder that says yourwebsite.com to the right. If you do this you will create a folder within a folder. It’s super-easy to fix, but if you are not a technical person it’s a needless stress for you. Already messed up with this? No problem, here is the fix!

FileZilla will take care of everything. It might take quite some time to do that but it doesn’t even require your presence. When the uploading process will finish you need to make sure that it says once again “Directory Listing Successful” in the window on the top. After a while Filezilla will disconnect from server automatically.

Provided there was no errors Filezilla’s part is over. If you were uploading you entire site because you are moving from one host to another you can go and preview your site using your website’s IP. If everything looks ok you can change your name servers from your old webhost to the new one. If you will need to use Filezilla for this website in the future to add some other files you won’t need to do this setup because Filezilla will remember it and will connect automatically. If you have more than one site and you need to use Filezilla you need to do individual setup for every site.