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WS_FTP - installing, configuring and utilising


This was written initially as part of my simple guide to setting up a web site for the novice. The ground rules are that it should only use software available on a normal Windows 95/98 PC or software available to download which is free and unconstained in the length of time it can be used (Freeware rather than Shareware where one pays after an evaluation period of typically 30 days). The intention is that a completely new user should be able to create a homepage, test it locally using his browser, download, insta and configure a File Transfer Program (FTP) to use to upload the site, upload the homepage and view it online in one evening (approx 4 hours) with under 30 minutes online.

I have used WS_FTP for a number of years to upload sites to conventional Servers like Pipex and Freeserve. (CompuServe needs a special program they provide). WS_FTP is still completely free for use by Students and Home users for Personal use - they hope to sell you a super professional version in due course. You will have to enter your name and email address and agree to the terms of use before you can download it. The main site for Ipswitch who provide WS_FTP is http://www.ipswitch.com/. They have made it slightly more difficult to find the free version - it is no longer listed in Products and when you look in the Download Evaluations area it implies that they are all limited life - that is not true (as of 5th June 2000) for the LE (Limited Edition) version which is called WS_FTP95 LE for Windows 95/98 and is now version 5.08. You have to fill in a short form - note it is only free for non business use so choose the correct user category. It is about 690 Kbytes and took me about 3 minutes to download with 28.8 Kbaud modem and using Freeserve. I was online for 10 minutes including looking round the site and finding where the download area was for WS_FTP LE the last time. Download it to the Desktop unless you have already created a Folder especially for downloads - I have one called C:\_Download so I can find it quickly. You can also find it and many other useful programs at ZDNET in the downloads area - the quickest way is to then use their Search boxes for WS_FTP in PC Downloads when you have linked to the Downloads area.

Installing: When you have got the file (ws_ftp.exe or wsftple.exe) safely on your machine and are disconnected from the telephone you will need to run it to install WS_FTP95 LE. It is best to exit all other programs when installing. You will be taken through several screens to check you are eligible for the free version and then checking where to install it. Use the defaults except for the default download folder where you may chose to change to your favorite folder for downloads. You can always change defaults in the future in any case.

Configuring for Freeserve When you start WS_FTP it will come up with a screen with a pull down list of connection Profiles for different FTP sites - see below. You will need to add a new one for your site on Freeserve. Click New and (assuming you are using Freeserve) enter the information as shown on the screen dump below on the General Tab (change the Name, UserID and Password to your own) but keep the Host name as uploads.webspace freeserve.net if you are a Freeserve user. You can also enter the Folder you are using in the Initial Local Directory box on the Startup Tab. The other tabs do not require any changes. Press OK and it should save the configuration for next time and bring up the Connection Screen for your default Dial Up connection. Note that you must use a Freeserve connection (via 0845 079 6699) to upload to Freeserve web space.

Uploading your files using WS_FTP95 LE

When you connect you should get a screen looking like that above. The left window shows the local Folder you will upload from and the right window the Remote Directories(s) on the Server hosting your site. You can change directories, make new directories, rename files etc exactly the same way in either the Local or the Remote Window although it may take time in the Remote Directory as files and changes have to be transferred through the modem and telephone line. To upload a file select it in the left window and click the -> button and the file will be transferred - the box at the bottom shows progress.

The first time you come to upload your site you will find, as discussed above, that there is already a file on the Remote System called index.html. Once your index.htm and page1.htm files are safely uploaded rename index.html to say oldindex.html to avoid it being used as the default homepage. Use the Rename Button by the right (Remote) screen.

When you have finished click close at the bottom left and also close the DUN connection (Double click on the icon in the tooltray in most versions of Windows 95/98 and click disconnect).

You now have your site up and live - check it using your Browser as usual remembering the address is www. followed by your full username on Freeserve. I usually have the Browser open at the same time as WS_FTP95 LE so I can check changes are there before disconnecting but remember to Refresh/Reload in the Browser otherwise you will see the old files and wonder what is going on! If you can not find your files or the links do not work make sure that the URLs and file names are all lower case.

Tip: You can set WS_FTP to change all file names to lower case using the Sessions tab on the Options menu. You can also choose how you sort directories to get the latest changes at the top to make life easier. Options | Sort.

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Copyright © Peter Curtis
Content revised: 5th June 2000