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Frequently Asked Questions on FTP

Simply follow the five important steps described below and you will have a great eCommerce site that sells well and brings new customers to your business.

On this page, you will find the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) answers to the questions we most often get regarding the subject of uploading your site files via FTP. Additionally, we have created for you a glossary of terms used. Find all the commonly-used terms in the web hosting industry with our Glossary of Terms used. It is also strongly suggested you read our general FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section by clicking here.

General rules on using FTP

First, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and happens to be today's fastest and easiest way to upload files to a Web server. Generally speaking, FTP is 5 to 10 times faster than other protocols, and has been in use for over ten long years.

Although some people still use an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox to send files via FTP, that method isn't recommended since a Web browser wasn't designed for that application, and happens to be a lot slower and is clumsier to use. To be really efficient, get a good and free FTP program such as Cute FTP. Simply do a Google search using 'Cute FTP' as keywords and then all you need to do is to download it and install it on your PC or laptop. Please note that there are many other good FTP programs that you can use, and that many of them are free. Simply do a search on the Internet and you will find many.

Depending on the exact FTP client (program) you use, the terms described here may be slightly different. To upload using FTP, you will need to set the following options on Cute FTP or on the FTP program of your choice:

  • Address: Hostname
  • Username: FTP account username
  • Password: FTP account password
  • Always use port: 21
  • You will find the above information on the first page of the Word file attachement Sun Hosting sent you in your welcome email after you've signed up with us. You will also need to specify a remote folder depending on your FTP client. This refers to the folder on the server where your files need to be uploaded to. On a standard website, the correct folder to use will always be the httpdocs directory (folder).

    IMPORTANT: It's very easy to accidently use the httpsdocs folder instead of the httpdocs folder, which is the only one you can use on a standard hosting package. Using the wrong folder will prevent your site from working.

    Once you have connected to the server, most FTP clients (FTP Programs) show two windows. One window (usually the left window), will display the contents of your local computer and the other one (usually the right window), will show you the contents of your account on your files located on our server. You should make sure you always upload all your files in the httpdocs folder in the right server window. You then should drag and drop your files from the (left) window showing your local computer to the (right) window showing the server. This will upload the selected files to your hosting account you have with us.

    Your first page needs to be named index.html (or index.htm). If you use index.htm or index.php you must first delete the index.html already on the server in your httpdocs folder. Note that failing to delete that file will prevent your site from working.

    FTP Question:
    My FTP client says: "Host not found", "Hostname not found" or "Cannot find hostname", etc. What should I do?

    Check that you have contacted your domain name registrar and have asked them they update the primary and secondary name servers for your domain to the ones Sun Hosting has given you. Those 2 hostnames must always match. If this hasn't been done yet, your domain will not point to our servers and as such you will not be able to connect to your account and your website won't work until this is done correctly.

    If you're not sure how this is done, we will be happy to do it for you free of charge. All we need to perform this simple operation is:

  • The name of your domain registrar (Ex. Go Daddy or Network Solutions)
  • User ID
  • Password

  • FTP Question:
    My FTP client will simply not connect. I am not sure what the error message is.

    Ensure you are not behind a firewall or proxy server. Talk to the person who set this feature up or ensure that your firewall / proxy allows connections on port 21 and port 22. Also ensure your FTP client is set to passive mode.

    FTP Question:
    I have uploaded my files to the httpdocs folder, but the Plesk Default Page is still shown. How could that be?

    First, make sure you have deleted the index.html file and you have uploaded your own index.html or index.htm file. Our Linux servers are always case sensitive, so you must ensure the file names use all lower case characters, or that at least they match the same file naming order that they were originally produced.

    In Linux, Index.html isn't the same as index.html and can prevent a site from working. Using the wrong case is a very common mistake that inexperienced Linux users do at the beginning. Using the wrong case when working with filenames on a Windows computer will still work, but not on a Linux server.

    Another possibility is that your ISP may use a web cache or Proxy server. Try disabling the proxy settings in your internet options. If they use a transparent cache server (one you are routed through no matter what settings you personally choose) then you may try a different ISP. Also try specifying a particular file. Instead of - try asking for (that could be it).

    When all else fails, delete your cached files in your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator or Opera), and reboot your local computer. This last step should do it.

    Disponible en français: Hébergement Web Canada    

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