a Console FTP Client
Most operating systems (UNIX, Windows, etc.) are shipped with a built-in
FTP client that is accessed from a "console window". Many people don't use
a console FTP client partly because they don't know one exists and partly
because console FTP clients have a steeper learning curve. For those who
prefer a fast, clutter-free interface, once they learn how to master a console
FTP client, they never want to use a graphical FTP client again.
To use a console FTP client you will first need access to a "command prompt".
This can be gained by opening a console window. You can do this in Windows
95/98/NT by looking in your "Start->Program" menu for "MS-DOS prompt" or
"Command Prompt". You can also "Run" the command prompt executable by selecting
"Start->Run" and entering the executable path:
Most UNIX environments use console windows and command prompts quite extensively
and UNIX users are already comfortable using them. When you Telnet
or SSH to your Virtual Server you are opening a command prompt remotely
on your Virtual Server. From there you can use FTP from a command prompt
on your Virtual Server to download a file from another remote host directly
to your Virtual Server.
Example: You may want to download software from XYZ, Inc. (ftp://ftp.xyz.com)
and install the software on your Virtual Server. Instead of downloading
the software from XYZ, Inc. to your office computer and then uploading it
from your office computer to your Virtual Server (which can be quite slow
on a 56K modem connection), you can Telnet to your Virtual Server and FTP
the software from XYZ, Inc. directly to your Virtual Server (using high
speed OC3 connections).
Now that you understand how to gain access to console windows and command
prompts, you need to understand how to use a console FTP client. To open
up an FTP session at a command prompt simply type
% ftp [remote host]
where [remote host]
is the site you are attempting to contact (e.g. ftp.xyz.com). This is where
you can see what's going on "behind the scenes" when you were using a graphical
When you open an FTP session with a remote host, you will be prompted for
a username and password pair. After you have successfully logged into the
remote ftp site (by using anonymous
as your login id and [your email
address] as your password), you can navigate around using the
commands to change your current working directory on the remote
site and list the files in the current working directory on the remote site.
To upload from your local machine (or the machine from which you initiated
the FTP session) to the remote host, you use the command put.
Example: To upload a file in your local working directory named index.html
to your current working directory on the remote site, you would type
% put index.html
This will transfer the file index.html
to the remote host and store it under the name test.html.
If you would like to store the local file as the same name on the remote
host simply type something like "put
index.html index.html" or simply "put
index.html". To upload multiple files, use the command mput
You may want to turn off the confirm prompt by typing the "prompt"
before you upload multiple files.
To download content from a remote host (or the machine to which you opened
the FTP session) to your local machine, you use the command "get".
Example: To download a file to your local working directory named
"test.html" from your
current working directory on the remote site, you would type
% get test.html
This will transfer the file "test.html"
from the remote host and store it under the name "index.html"
on your local computer. To download multiple files, use the command "mget"
You may want to turn off the confirm prompt by typing the command "prompt"
before you download multiple files.
is important to upload and download ascii text files such as HTML
content in ASCII mode. Likewise, binary content such as images should
be uploaded and downloaded in BINARY mode.
To change your upload mode to ASCII simply type ASCII.
To change your upload mode to BINARY simply type binary.
Other FTP Commands
Other important FTP commands are summarized in the table below. Arguments
for commands are indicated using brackets [ ]:
the file transfer type to network ASCII.
the file transfer type to support binary image transfer.
the FTP session with the remote server and exit ftp. An end of file
will also terminate the session and exit.
% cd [remote-directory]
Change the working directory on the remote machine to [remote-directory].
the file [remote-file]
on the remote machine.
% ls [remote-directory]
Print a listing of the directory contents in the directory, [remote-directory].
If no remote directory is specified, a listing of the current working
directory on the remote machine is shown.
% get [local-file]
and store it on the local machine. If the local file name is not
specified, it is given the same name it has on the remote machine.
an informative message about the meaning of [command].
If no argument is given, ftp prints a list of the known commands.
the working directory on the local machine. If no directory is specified,
the user's current local working directory is displayed.
on the remote machine.
on the remote machine and do a get
for each file name thus produced.
a directory on the remote machine.
wild cards in the list of local files given as arguments and do
for each file in the resulting list.
interactive prompting. Interactive prompting occurs during multiple
file transfers to allow the user to selectively retrieve or store
files. If prompting is turned off (default is on), any mget
will transfer all files, and any mdelete
will delete all files.
% put [remote-file]
a local file on the remote machine. If [remote-file]
is left unspecified, the local file name is used.
rename [from] [to]
the file [from]
on the remote machine, to the file [to].
a directory on the remote machine.