ftp sites have been around long before “the cloud”, and dropbox became household terms. ftp stands for “file transfer protocol”, which is a long-established way of allowing files to be transferred over the internet. Many giant organizations, such as Microsoft and the Internal Revenue Service, use FTP sites to distribute software, documents, and other files.
an ftp server stores files and software known as an ftp client is used to connect to the server to upload or download files. There are stand-alone ftp clients written explicitly for this purpose, or ftp can be packaged into another piece of software, such as a web editing tool, that uses ftp to transfer files to the web server. a web browser can also serve as an ftp client.
Reading: How to connect to an ftp server
One of the easiest ways to download files from an ftp site is using your web browser. While most people today use Chrome, Edge, or Firefox, your version of these browsers may not offer out-of-the-box support for FTP. in case ftp is not fully supported, you can do some research to get your browser to support ftp in the browser itself.
start by reading below about the different connection types for ftp access in your browser. you will need an ftp client application to upload files. In many circumstances, you can access an ftp site without any special permissions; however, sometimes you need a username and password.
then, depending on your browser, learn more about how to enable access to ftp sites through a web browser to get started.
different types of ftp connection
each organization decides how they want users to connect to their ftp server. there are three main ways:
anonymous ftp access
This is the simplest connection technique. it does not have to include any user information. a well-known example is adobe. here you can download various versions of some of the popular free apps.
Username required: In this example, the organization requires you to have an account to access the site. schools generally use this type of access.
username + password: This is the most restrictive as users must have an account and password to access the site. Several companies use this technique for people to upload large files to the server.
Regardless of your connection type, you can use your web browser to gain access in most situations. there are some cases where organizations disable browser access. for example, the web hosting company we use does not allow ftp connections using a browser.
anonymous ftp site
Many public ftp sites don’t want you to have an account and instead allow you to log in anonymously. In most cases, you won’t need to log in at all, while in others, you need to enter “anonymous” as your username and your email address as your password to connect to ftp. If the ftp site is restricted, which is often the case for business or university sites, you will be prompted to fill in the administrator username and password.
If you want to transfer (upload, download, or modify) files between your computer and a secure ftp server, you only need to enter your username and password to access your content. it is recommended to use one of the solutions listed below:
use an ftp client program (such as winscp or the filezilla client or use the fireftp plugin for the firebox browser) to connect to the ftp server.
add the ftp network location to your windows explorer.
map or assign a drive letter to the ftp shared folder in windows explorer for easy access.
how to access ftp server with browser
In this tutorial, you will learn how to access an ftp server using your web browser.
One of the easiest ways to connect to an ftp site is with your web browser.
Before connecting to an ftp server, you need to know its hostname (or its ip or url address) and of course the security credentials needed to gain access to the shared ftp content.
to access an ftp server using your web browser (firefox, internet explorer, chrome, etc.):
you should open your internet browser and start typing the ftp server hostname (or ip address) and ftp port number (in case the ftp server is using a different port than the actual default port” 21″ for ftp connections) in the address box and press enter.
understand the different parts of an ftp address
once you find ftp addresses on a web page, they are generally displayed in the same way as a standard web page address, with a few exceptions:
for example, you can see ftp.example.com:21. this simply indicates that the address is ftp.example.com and the port used is 21. you will need both when connecting to the ftp server.
if the ftp requires a username, it can be written as [email protected]:21, where “username” is the required name.
If no username is provided, you will normally need to enter “anonymous” as the username when connecting. understand that you are not truly anonymous when connecting to a public ftp. the host can notice your ip address.
if the ftp server hostname is: ftp.example.com and the listening port for ftp connections is the actual default port (21), then you need to fill in the address like:
ftp connection needs username and password
other organizations offer ftp access; however, they require the user to authenticate by providing a username and often a password. files are generally not for public distribution but for specific purposes. For example, you want to send your list of customer addresses to a mailing house. in this case, no organization would want the public to have access to those files.
There are many ways to make these types of ftp connections with your browser. one of the easiest ways is to start the connection just like you did for an anonymous ftp connection.
press the enter key.
A password dialog like the one below will appear. you must enter your username and password if necessary.
fill user information in address bar
Also, there are some ways to avoid the browser dialog asking for username and password. while this can save you a step, it can often lead to mistakes.
Another problem is that some content management systems keep adding extra spaces and creating hyperlinks from these instance command lines. remember, there should be no spaces.
to connect to an ftp server you need a username with firefox:
- open firefox
- in the location bar, you need to fill in ftp://username:[email protected]
- if your username was jess12 and the password was bosox67, the ftp browser syntax should be: ftp://jess12:[email protected]
- in this scenario the username contains a domain name like [email protected] then, you would type: ftp://[email protected]:[email protected]
now, to connect to an ftp server with a username using, for example:
- open internet explorer
- you need to type the ftp address in the address bar, like ftp://ftp.xyz.com.
- if there are any errors appear dialog boxes, then close them.
- in the file menu, choose login as.
- you will need to enter your username and password in the “login as” box.
- click sign in.
If you plan to connect to ftp servers regularly, make sure you get a good ftp client. this makes the task of uploading or moving files much easier and simpler than a web browser. for the occasional ftp connection, your web browser will work just fine. be very careful when accessing ftp sites if you are not familiar with the domain. Just because you can get access doesn’t mean the content is safe.
to connect with microsoft edge:
- open microsoft edge.
- in the url field, enter edge://flags
- enter ‘ftp’ in the search field.
- Next, you need to enable the option to support ftp urls.
- Restart microsoft edge.
- you must enter the ftp site in the url field, ie ftp://ftp.mccdaq.com/downloads/.