Uploading Files Using FTP

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What is FTP, and what does an FTP client do?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is the most widely-used protocol designed for transferring files from one machine to another. It allows you to design your site locally (i.e. on your personal computer) and upload it to our servers when it is ready, among other benefits. Most FTP clients also allow you to create directories, rename and delete files, and set file permissions.

However, for increased security when transferring files, you can use SFTP (FTP over SSH) or, on certain servers,  FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS).


SFTP comes standard with most FTP clients. SFTP creates a secure "tunnel" via SSH2 and then uses the standard FTP protocol to upload and download data within that tunnel.

Who can use SFTP?

SFTP can be used with your main account login, but not with additional FTP logins. Additional FTP logins are set up to only use FTP without SSH.


FTPS uses SSL/TLS to secure file transfers. SSL stands for secure sockets layer, which secures communications between a server and client. This is the same security that is used for websites that use HTTPS.

Who can use FTPS?

Most graphical FTP clients support FTPS, but it is best to check your FTP client’s documentation to be sure.  FTPS can be also be used with anonymous FTP services and additional FTP logins.

Where can I get an FTP client?

Below are a few Open Source FTP clients for both Windows and Mac users.

Windows FTP Clients


Mac FTP Clients


Of course, you can use the command line FTP program bundled with most newer PCs or Mac computers. However, if you are uploading many files at once, or are new to using SFTP, it may be easier to simply use one of the graphical clients listed above.

How do I use a graphical FTP client?

While all graphical FTP clients are different, they ask for similar information. 

Remember to select the SFTP or FTPS option for increased file transfer security. The FTP client will also ask you for the server name. The server name is the name of server or computer with which you wish to connect. 

Your server name can be found in your Pair Networks Welcome message or in the Account Control Center (ACC). Your server name will be in the format username.pairserver.com, where "username" is your Pair Networks username. You can also find your server name on the home page of your hosting account. 

Most FTP clients allow you to choose an initial directory. To default into your Home directory, set the initial directory to: /usr/home/USERNAME/. To default into your Web directory, set the initial directory to: /usr/home/USERNAME/public_html/.

Also, be sure to note the trailing "/" on each of the above directory paths. Make sure that you replace "USERNAME" with your Pair Networks USERNAME. You'll also have to enter your Pair Networks password.

After you've entered all the information, you'll be connected to the server. Most of these graphical clients will allow you to drag and drop files from your computer to the server and vice-versa. Review the FTP client's help documentation for more in-depth instructions.

Below are a couple of common questions that come up when customers begin using FTP clients for the first time.

My FTP client "autodetects" ASCII and BINARY files. Should I use that?

Yes, you should use this feature if you are a new FTP user, but understand that it's an imperfect feature. The "autodetect" feature of most graphical FTP clients works by learning what file extensions (.html, for example) indicate text files and which indicate binary files.

In particular, if you plan on using autodetect make sure that .pl and .cgi files are recognized as text files. Text files that are uploaded in BINARY format, particularly cgi scripts and email configuration files, may exhibit strange behavior or simply not work at all.

I uploaded a text file as BINARY. Why doesn't it work right?

If possible, your best bet is to simply upload the file again in ASCII format, overwriting the previous copy. If that is not possible, and your account includes SSH access, there are two utilities on the server to correct the files.

If you created the file on a PC, SSH to the server and run "pcfix.pl FILENAME" after changing into the directory where the file is located. If you created the file on a Macintosh computer, follow the same procedure, but substitute macfix.pl for pcfix.pl.

Updated on March 3, 2020

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