upload via FTP in Firefox – FireFTP

updated Oct 2011

Firefox being the brilliant browser it is - more and more excellent and useful extensions are being developed ; ) One of these is FireFTP by Mime Čuvalo.
This extension allows you to upload your files directly in Firefox via FTP. I'm not sure how well it performs with very large files but I tried it out for several uploads and find it very easy to use, stable and very responsive. I'd like to take you through its installation and setup in Firefox and a typical upload. Make sure you are in Firefox ;)

Installation and connection setup

  1. to install FireFTP - go to either of the pages shown below. By clicking on the Download / Install button the addon will be installed as extension in Firefox.
  2. after installation - restart Firefox.
    Once back open - you will see the extension added to your top menu > Tools > FireFTP.
    Note that newer versions of Firefox changed the location of the extension within the top menu. In Firefox6 - you can find it now under
    top menu > Tools > Web Developer > FireFTP.

    When you choose FireFTP from your menu - it will launch itself into a new tab showing two columns: a left side column showing your default local directory and a right side column, currently empty, for the server directory. Each column is again divided into two halves allowing you to easily access folder content. Inbetween the two main columns you will see two arrow buttons which allow you to download from the remote directory and upload files and folders to the server.

  3. to set the preferences go to:
    top menu > Tools > Add-ons.

    Depending on your version of Firefox - the window content will be slightly different, newer versions will launch the add-ons manager, as shown in the screenshot below.
    The settings on place by default should be fine - but make sure that you have the general settings set as shown below. By setting the FileView to refresh automatically you will be able to see any successful up/downloads immediately appear within your folders.

Uploading via FTP

To upload to your webserver you will need to have the following details:
  • FTP host - usually in the form of "ftp.yourdomainname.com" or "yourdomainname.com"
  • username/login
  • password

These details will be given to you by your webhost. It is good practice to keep all such information backed up somewhere other than your computer. Print out a copy and make sure store it somewhere safe - keep it secret - keep it safe ;)
Even though you can always request this information again from your webhost - you often will need to log in or give some details in order to use technical support or to verify your account.

To configure FireFTP for server connection and upload the files - please follow the steps below:

  1. local directory

    to set the left side column of FireFTP to show the files to be uploaded - navigate your computer and locate your current site. You will see that by clicking on a folder in the very left hand side column - its adjacent column will show the selected folder's content. Once you can see your site's content - you are ready to connect to your server.

  2. FTP account

    FireFTP allows you to create FTP accounts which are then stored within the account drop down menu. Click onto 'Manage Accounts', select 'Create an account' and type in your details. You will only need to type in the 'Host' details which will automatically be used as 'Account Name' - and your username and password. Click 'OK' to confirm and save your account settings.

  3. connect to server

    once you have confirmed the correct log in details - you are ready to connect to your server. With your details stored in the drop down menu - make sure your FTP account is displayed and click the connect button. Beneath the program's credits at the bottom of your window you will see the current activity being displayed. This will tell you how your login is proceeding and will inform you of any errors which might occur.

    The folders found in the root directory can vary from server to server - and you don't need to worry about most of these while you are new to webdesign and simply want to upload your website. It is important only to put your website's files into the correct directory and to make sure your index page is placed directly into the site folder.

    Your website's directory is usually called "httpdocs" - "public_html" - or you might even find a folder shortcut called "www". If you are not sure - simply email your webhost and ask :)
    Once connected - you will see the right side column displaying your server's directories as shown here:

  4. uploading your files

    To upload your files - make sure that your site folder is open in both directories: your local and your remote server should mirror each other. Once you know you are looking at the correct files - ensure that all required files are selected in your local site folder and that the relevant folder is displaying its content on the server side.

    Select all files to be uploaded by shift clicking - and upload using either the 'upload' button or by dragging the selected files across.

    Both methods work equally well. If you are new to this and feel a little hesitant - use the 'upload' button as you cannot make any mistakes. While dragging across and if you let go of your mouse at the wrong time - you might end up uploading your files into the wrong directory. You would then have to either move them on the server - or delete them to upload from scratch.

  5. viewing process and stopping up/downloads

    You can see the process of your up/download in several places within your window. this should give you an indication of how long certain file sizes will take to up/download. It is always faster to download than to upload - so don't be surprised if some heavier file take more time. If your internet connection is slow it would be best to upload your files in smaller chunks.

    If you are experiencing difficulties - you can stop your up/downloads at any time via the 'abort' button. You can then disconnect from the server and even restart FireFTP or Firefox to start fresh.

280 Comments

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  1. Gravatar Thomas
    20
    30/06/2008

    Just installed FireFTP. It is so easy to use it is a little frightening. :).

  2. Gravatar Davidonzo
    19
    25/06/2007

    Is there a way to format an url in order to open a specific ftp site? Something like chrome://fireftp/content/fireftp.xul?something_pointing_to_my_ftp_site …

  3. Gravatar Peng Li
    18
    16/02/2007

    HI Guys,
    Does this have an option of “ignor pasv ip” like Gftp or SmartFTP has?

    tks
    peng

  4. Gravatar Claude Almansi
    17
    15/02/2007

    Thank you so much! It is quite a feat to write so readably without taking any previous knowledge on the user’s side for granted.

  5. Gravatar Yoka
    16
    11/02/2007

    Thank you for this wonderful program. I use it to upload and keep current my personal website using a free hosting site with our provider.

    I am finding that your program is quite easy to use and I like the time out feature for security sake. I read about the orphanage that you support, so nice. God bless you.

    Yoka

  6. Gravatar prisca
    15
    09/02/2007

    Mus, the only thing I can think of is that your login details are incorrect…!?

    apart from that – I’m not sure what else would be causing this error… if you’re stuck – take Mime up on his offer and email him directly – he might be able to shed more light on your problem ;)

    good luck :)

  7. Gravatar mus
    14
    08/02/2007

    I followed your instruction but i keep receiving this error msg:
    “Unable to make a connection. Please try again.”
    I’ve been dying to try this FireFTP. Somebody PLEASE HELP ME:(

  8. Gravatar prisca
    13
    03/02/2007

    Thanks, Mime ;)
    your comments are much appreciated :)

  9. Gravatar Mime Cuvalo
    12
    02/02/2007

    To answer some questions you guys have been asking: (and thanks for Prisca for answering to her best abilities so far!)

    > Is there any way to make an audible tone to signal completion of file transfer?
    Not yet. I’m planning it for a future release.

    >What is the Change button on the remote side of the screen do?
    If you enter a remote address manually into the address bar on the remote side, you click “Change” to change to that directory when you finish typing. (or you can just hit enter).

    >Any chance that hashing might be added to work on the remote files?
    Not anytime soon. If FTP servers would provide the feature it sure would make checking integrity of uploads/downloads a hell of a lot easier though :-/

    >how do i make a ftp website ? i just want to dl something off my other comp.
    You can’t connect to another computer (like a peer-to-peer program) without the computer having an FTP server on it. If it does, you’ll have to configure your router and firewalls to handle the server. You should ask your sys-admin for some help setting that up.

    NOTE! If you have questions/concerns feel free to send me an email (mimecuvalo AT gmail DOT com). It’ll make Prisca’s life a little easier :)

  10. Gravatar john
    11
    02/02/2007

    hey, i have the server, how do i make a ftp website ? or get one that i can connect to cause i’ve been tryn to get this working and haven’t been able to i’ve tried so many things i just want to dl something off my other comp. but i can’t network so i was tryn to upload it and dl but it won’t work am i missing something ?

  11. Gravatar prisca
    10
    28/01/2007

    excellent ; ) glad I could help : )

  12. Gravatar Gregory King
    9
    28/01/2007

    Prisca
    Disconnecting and reconnecting worked for me! Thanks
    Greg

  13. Gravatar prisca
    8
    28/01/2007

    David, about that “change” button – I’m not sure – mine does the same as yours: nothing…. you might find some answers in the support files from Mime Čuvalo: http://fireftp.mozdev.org/help.html

    Greg, about the deleting of files – right-clicking works for me, dropping down a menu with several options… Though completely reliable with files, occasionally I have found glitches when trying to delete an entire folder – but after disconncting and reconnecting it usually worked.
    To quote Mime Čuvalo:
    How do I rename a file/make a directory/delete files?
    These things can all be found if you right-click on the file lists. A context menu will appear showing the available functions you have, along with related keyboard shortcuts. A toolbar for these features will be added in a future version.

  14. Gravatar Gregory King
    7
    28/01/2007

    I really like this product. I can’t figure out how to delete a file on the server though. Any ideas? Right clicking produces nothing. I can use the website that the ISP provides, but I’d like FireFTP do do that for me.

    Greg

  15. Gravatar David
    6
    26/01/2007

    FireFTP is a great addon to Firefox. It is much better than other FTP programs I have used. What is the Change button on the remote side of the screen do? It is in the same place as the Browse button on the local side of the screen. When I press the Change button nothing seems to happen – the Browse buttons works as expected. Also, generating hashes only seems to work on the local files. Any chance that it might be added to work on the remote files?

  16. Gravatar prisca
    5
    10/01/2007

    Dmytro, don’t think that’s possible… But you can save the connection as shortcut. This is a very handy feature, espcially when you’re dealing with a few different sites regularly.

    For more details on program – please see the original site http://fireftp.mozdev.org/

  17. Gravatar Dmytro Doblevych
    4
    10/01/2007

    Is there any way to autoconnect to my FTP site when I start?

  18. Gravatar Scott
    3
    08/12/2006

    Is there any way to make an audible tone to signal completion of file transfer?

    (As you know, WS_FTP has audible cues for connection established, connection failed, transfer complete. That’s a really nice feature.)

  19. Gravatar prisca
    2
    08/12/2006

    Scott… to answer your question: not as far as I know… There are no feedback options in the preferences. Might become a feature in a newer release…? :)

  20. Gravatar Wen
    1
    22/11/2006

    I have to say something in here as at moment I am so happy with my upgraded web design skill, just benefited from Prisca’s article and Mime Cuvalo’s page, really want to everyone share this JOY. Keeping reading Prisca’s Eyedeas, keep us laughing:-)

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