FTP (File Transfer Protocol) allows files to be transfered between PC and Unix computers and between Unix computers. FTP is a service on the Internet that predates the World Wide Web.
FTP allows you to do the following:
- Transfer files anywhere* (recommended) using FTP in Internet Explorer.
- Transfer files between PC and Unix computers using the standard command line FTP.
- Transfer files between Unix computers using the standard command line FTP utility - logon to Unix and type: MAN FTP.
*except in the University from some PC Labs to (and from) Internet sites - see FTP from PC Labs and ResNet PCs
*Temporary Warning - 'passive FTP' is not working from ResNet PCs at present. The situation is being investigated. Until the situation is resolved, use the 'FTP to Unix then to your PC' workaround detailed below.
FTP Becomes More Popular
FTP is becoming more widely used because email systems are putting restrictions what can be sent as an attachments. There are two restrictions being put on attachments on email:
- Restrictions to size of attachment - Internet email systems, e.g. Hotmail, restrict the size of email attachments to save disk space.
- Ban on sending executable files as attachments - email administrators ban the sending of executables to stop email worm viruses from infecting the site.
FTP is often the answer for people looking for alternative ways of sending files.
Internet Explorer 7
Older Internet Explorer versions
You can use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, 5.5, 6.0 to FTP (transfer) files to and from FTP servers.
You will need:
- Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 - to discover your version:
Click on the 'Help' menu, then on the 'About Internet Explorer' option.
- ensure that 'Use Passive FTP' option is on to ensure that webcaches and firewalls can be crossed.
- Run Internet Explorer.
- Click 'Tools' menu then 'Internet Options' - see tabbed dialog.
- Click on the 'Advanced' tab - see list of options.
- Ensure that 'Enable Folder View for FTP' is selected (note - until 30/01/07, this was wrongly listed as 'not selected').
- Scroll down to the bottom of the 'Browsing' section, then ensure that the 'Use Passive FTP' option is selected.
- Click OK
The FTP process is secure and is protected by using usernames and passwords.
To access University FTP servers you will need:
- Your unix username - generally the same as your Windows username.
- Your unix password - recent accounts will be the same as Windows, older accounts will have a different password.
Other FTP sites will also require usernames and passwords, but many sites accept:
- username: anonymous
- password: your email address
This is known as 'Anonymous FTP'.