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 Brian Core
    240
    15/11/2011

    Why is my right hand side on ftp grayed out—- no url address is showing ?

  2. Gravatar kent
    239
    15/11/2011

    Do you know if I can use fireftp as a host for an absolute address to link images for an email send? If so where would the address be located?
    Thanks.

  3. Gravatar prisca
    238
    12/11/2011

    Faraz,
    sorry, I don’t know why the plugin does not work for you – I’ve used it in v7 as well as in v8 now ~ still works fine for me.
    Are you sure you don’t have a clash of extensions somehow?

  4. Gravatar Faraz
    237
    12/11/2011

    I am referring to the FireFTP plug-in, which worked to v6.0. Has the plug-in been updated for the latest versions yet? Mozilla have a habit lately of releasing new versions of their broswer regardless of backwards compatibility, which might cause me to leave them and switch to Google Chrome instead.

  5. Gravatar Faraz
    236
    12/11/2011

    Can anyone please tell me how to get it working on the latest Firefox versions as since I upgraded to v7.0 the plug-in just doesn’t work no matter what I try to do.

  6. Gravatar Prisca
    235
    29/10/2011

    Tom, glad you’re sorted – thanks for the update ;)

  7. Gravatar Tom
    234
    28/10/2011

    Never mind, I closed and reopened Firefox and now it is working fine.

  8. Gravatar Tom
    233
    28/10/2011

    Whenever I try to upload or download a file I get a 425 error, error opening socket.

  9. Gravatar prisca
    232
    25/10/2011

    Roscoe,
    sorry, not quite sure what is going wrong there ~ are you uploading your images within a folder?
    Uploading the individual pages will not automatically upload any other files – you will need to upload these yourself, by either uploading the entire folder – or the individual images into the correct remote directory.

    You should try to keep your original folder structure in place, sounds as if the file path to the image has changed?

  10. Gravatar Roscoe
    231
    25/10/2011

    Great program, things are working great. I just have one question, how do I upload images? Text is uploading great but my images on my web page do not upload with it (on site there is just the image place holder with an “x” in the box) It’s probably something simple, but i just can’t figure it out!!

  11. Gravatar david l jhonson
    230
    24/10/2011

    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.

  12. Gravatar Iain
    229
    26/07/2011

    Thank you Prisca
    So simple
    Worked 1st time
    Iain

  13. Gravatar prisca
    228
    25/07/2011

    Noel, I would double-check your server settings ~ or failing that contact the technical support of your hosting company. This sounds like a server setting to me ;)

  14. Gravatar Noel
    227
    25/07/2011

    Hi, can anyone advise how to extract from the server directory. I tried all means but can’t seem to make it unzip my zipped folder. Strangely, it has a Extract function for the local directory but this function is disabled at the server directory. Help!

  15. Gravatar prisca
    226
    19/07/2011

    Lyndsey,
    sorry – I am not quite sure about what it is you are trying to do here, not sure what you mean when you say “copy the URL using my FTP login however”.
    Sounds like you are merely getting your file path wrong. If you managed to upload a working project – then you should be able to see it just fine. All I suggest is to double check the file path to the directory where yo uploaded your files to.
    Sorry I can’t be of more help…

  16. Gravatar lyndsey
    225
    19/07/2011

    I’ve uploaded a project/slideshow onto FTP and tried veiwing it on the web but it keeps saying it can’t be found. When I copy the URL using my FTP login however, it will then open but it won’t when I try to copy it with HTTP. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I’ve tried redoing the whole thing and reuploaded the project but nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions?

  17. Gravatar prisca
    224
    14/07/2011

    Heron,
    glad you like FireFTP – but I’m not the person who developed it ~ I merely wrote this tutorial :) Mime Čuvalo is the one who created it ;)

    Sorry – I’m not sure what you are trying to do with the dates here…
    Are you referring to the way the dates are displayed when viewing your file list in FireFTP ? ~ in that case, I think that FireFTp merely implements your system preferences for date formatting (just assuming here).
    So it might be worth checking the date settings for your system :)

  18. Gravatar Heron
    223
    07/07/2011

    Hello, I´m a DBM Sr. Analyst in Brazil, congratulations to plug-in fireftp, it´s fantastic.
    I need a help about date format, on column date show this format:
    Jun 18 14:30
    May 20 2011
    May 20 2010

    I need other date format on local and remote
    date
    2011-06-18 14:30
    2011-05-20 10:00

    or some format include day/month/year and time.

    can you help me

    tks a lot Heron

  19. Gravatar prisca
    222
    05/07/2011

    Kenny :)
    thanks for you comment and I’m really glad you like this addon – but I’m not the person who developed it ~ I merely wrote this tutorial :)
    Mime Čuvalo is the one who created it ;)

  20. Gravatar kenny
    221
    30/06/2011

    many thanks i give you for developing this apps. I usually use it for uploading new themes for my blog. You can make it better by giving it a new fresh layout, like iPhone or Android interface must be nice :)

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