Signing up with a hosting service is only the first step in website creation. To make the most of the cPanel interface and have complete control over file management, you need to set up an FTP account. FTP, short for file transfer protocol, allows you to access and transfer files using a remote client program.
Why Use FTP?
An FTP account frees you from the need to use a basic file manager for handling website updates. With FTP, you can build and modify your site with the program of your choice or code it yourself from the ground up if you have the knowledge. You can then upload your files directly to the host server.
You can also set up multiple FTP accounts. This is an invaluable option if you run a business where many people make modifications to the website. As the administrator, you dictate who gets access to which parts of the site by setting up individual accounts for specific purposes.
Creating FTP Accounts in cPanel
Setting up one or more FTP accounts in cPanel is fairly straightforward thanks to the user-friendly nature of the interface. Start by logging in through your hosting provider’s website or by going directly to cPanel’s login screen. You’ll be brought to the main cPanel dashboard where you can access all the controls that your hosting provider offers.
Get Started with FTP
Look for the FTP icon once you’re logged in. This may be labeled “FTP” or “FTP Accounts” and should look like a small green globe or a yellow diamond sign with two black arrows on it.
Clicking the icon sends you to the FTP setup screen where you’ll complete the major steps for creating your first FTP account.
Set Up a New Account
The first screen you see will say either “Create New FTP Account” or “Add FTP Account” at the top.
To set up a new account, you must provide a username and password that you’ll use to access the server from your FTP client program. The username can be a shortened version of your name, your full domain name or the name of a specific person to whom you’re granting FTP access.
Create a strong password to protect your account. Remember that your entire website is available through an FTP account. You want to keep your files safe from unauthorized users with a password that’s difficult to guess. Many providers require a minimum number of characters and suggest using at least one number and one punctuation mark. Combine these with upper- and lower-case letters to make the password even harder to crack.
Fill in a directory name only if you wish to point the FTP account to a specific part of your website. For example, if you’re making an account for someone who manages your blog and your blog is stored at http://www.mysite.com/blog, enter that address into the directory box. Leave the box blank to grant access to the site as a whole.
After entering the required information, click the “Create FTP User” or “Create FTP Account” button to compete setup.
Your new FTP account should appear immediately on the FTP screen along with a message announcing its successful creation.
You can now use your FTP account to upload files or repeat the creation process to add more accounts.
Managing Your FTP Accounts
If you need to make changes to any of your FTP accounts in the future, return to the FTP screen and click the “Edit” link next to the account you wish to work with.
This brings up an “Edit FTP User” screen that allows you to change the password and what directory the account has access to. After making the necessary changes, click the “Modify FTP User” button to update the account.
Once you’ve set up your desired FTP accounts, you’ll be able to log in through the FTP program of your choice. Your host will provide the address of your FTP connection, which is usually ftp.mysite.com with “mysite” being your domain. Plug this into your FTP client along with your username and password, and you’ll be able to get right to work uploading and tweaking your website.