FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is possibly one of the simplest and safest ways to transfer a large and/or multiple files from one computer to another.
Many of our customers need to receive large volumes of electronic documents. Traditional methods of sending data involves a CD or DVD and the good old postal service; however in an age of technology and digital communication this form of moving data carries additional costs, and most importantly slows down the total process of communication between the laboratory and client.
In this tutorial we are going to deal with 2 forms of FTP transfer - both forms are FREE!
The first method of FTP transfer will use Microsoft Windows Explorer, this is available with all Windows based operating systems and is possibly the quickest to use without the need to install extra software packages. It is simple to use, and OK for sending a few files. It is a good place to start if you have not used FTP before.
The Second method of FTP transfer will use a program called "Filezilla" published by filezilla-project.org and is supplied FREE of charge and available for instant download without asking for any personal details. This is quite simple for new users, and much better for sending many (or large) files.
Pros and cons of FTP using Microsoft Windows Explorer
Microsoft Windows Explorer allows you to start transferring files without the need to install a 3rd party software application, and is a simple solution if you need to simply transfer a few files. It is a good introduction to FTP.
More advanced users, or users who wish to transfer several large files will wish to install a more powerful FTP client such as Filezilla.
A major drawback to using Windows Explorer is the common result in the transfer hanging (or freezing) as communication has been interrupted or lost. Microsoft Windows Explorer does not communicate well with the server in between transfers, making the FTP server assume that the transfer has completed or simply stopped resulting in the transfer freezing.
FTP Access using Windows Explorer
Unknown to most people who use Microsoft Windows, their operating system comes pre-installed and ready for simple FTP transfer.
In this section of the tutorial we will cover the simple steps of FTP through Windows Explorer. This tutorial will use screen shots from Microsoft Windows 7 however the same solution is available in Windows Vista and XP as well.
- Open "My Computer" by double left clicking on the "My Computer" icon on your desktop or also accessible from the start button (Bottom Left).
- A new window will open, as shown below
In the address bar at the top of the new window (currently named "Computer") you will need to type in the FTP Server address that you have been supplied.
That address would normally be
Once entered the address into the address bar, you need to simply hit [Enter].
The follow screen will appear after a few moments, requesting a username and password. Type in the Username and Password that you have been supplied. Your Username and Password is the same information used to access the laboratory's website.
Once you have entered your correct Username and Password you simply need to click Log On and your computer will make the connection to the destination server.
Congratulations. You have just established an FTP connection with a remote computer and you can start transferring files.
Moving Files Using Microsoft Explorer
Once you have logged into the server, you will be presented with a window that should look very familiar (Shown Below). Your view of the remote computer is identical to the view you should be familiar with - exploring your own computers hard drive through Windows Explorer.
In the main window you will see all of the files available on the remote computer; these files can be simply transferred from the FTP server to your own computer by either copying and pasting or dragging the files into a new window on your own PC. Unfortunately, you will not have access to upload documents to the laboratory's FTP server. If you wish to send us a large document, please let us know so we can find out the best way to receive it.
FTP access using Filezilla
Due to the draw backs of using the first method, this tutorial will now explain the same process using a 3rd party software application called "Filezilla published by filezilla-project.org and is supplied FREE of charge and available for instant download without asking for any personnel details.
Downloading the software
Before you can get started installing the software, we need to download and install the application known as FileZilla.
You will need to open your internet browser and navigate to the publishers website (filezilla-project.org). As shown below...
On the main home page you will see 2 grey boxes, the first is labeled "Download FileZilla Client". This, FileZilla client, is the one we want to install.
The next page will detail several versions of the software application for different Operating Systems; select the version applicable to your Operating System.
Once selected, the site will transfer you to a new page that will automatically start the download procedure. Your internet browser might ask if you wish to Run or Save the file. Click the Run button, and the file will start to download.
Once the file has completed the download you may need to click Run again to confirm. Windows 7 and Vista may ask you to confirm to Run once more because a software installation was triggered. Simply click Yes.
Note: turning off redundant confirmations is outside the scope of this tutorial. Please do not call regarding windows features.
Before the installation starts you will be prompted to accept the license (as shown below) by clicking on "I agree you are confirming to use the software as stated in the license.
Once accepted you will be prompted for your installation Options (shown below)
In this example we are going to install the software for "All Users" Click next.
The next screen will give you the options to install components, in this tutorial I have selected all of them including the "Desktop Icon" which is, by default, not checked. Click Next
The next 2 screens will give you the choice of installation locations and folder name. Normally the default location and folder names are fine click next on the first screen and install on the second screen.
Your computer will start the process of installing FileZilla. Check "Run FileZilla Now" and click Finish. If you uncheck this checkbox, you will need to run the software manually by clicking the FileZilla Client icon found on your desktop or in the user menu.
Below is a screen shot of FileZilla initial Graphic User Interface (GUI).
The screenshot above has been highlighted in order to explain what you are looking at.
As you can see the window has been split with 2 major sections "Your Computer" and "FTP Server" once we connect to the FTP server the right hand section will populate with the files stored on the FTP server.
To start with we need to enter the server name; username and password (dont worry about port unless given one). Again for this tutorial I will be using ftp://ftp.wecklabs.com with the FTP details I previously setup.
Once all of the information has been entered you simply need to click "Quick Connect". FileZilla will then logon to the FTP server.
The screenshot above shows we have made a connection to the FTP server. The FTP server is now displaying all of the files available for transfer.
To transfer files between both computers you simply need to click on the chosen file and drag to a destination on the opposite side.
If you need access to Weck Laboratories FTP server, you will need to contact your Project Manager to setup your account. Contact information can be found under the contacts tab. There is no setup fee and the service is free of charge. If you have access to the laboratory results website, you already have access to the FTP server. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback about the FTP server, please contact technical support at firstname.lastname@example.org