Set Up FTP Server Using FileZilla on Windows 7

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, if you want to know more about it, you can check it out at Wikipedia. FTP is actually getting less popular nowadays as users have lots of other protocols to exchange files, P2P especially BT. FTP, however, is still playing a very important role.

Let’s say, if you have a file that’s about 300MB and you would like to send it over to your friend oversea immediately. What would you do? Usually emails have attachment limit (usually it’s not as high as 300MB) and it will be extremely slow and unstable if you try to transfer over instant messenger software like MSN. The best solution will be setting up your own FTP server at home and authorize your friend to download from your computer. Mind as well, you can set up an account so that you can view all of your files and grab them wherever you go.

If have already set up your remote desktop at home, you will probably leave the computer on 24*7 just so that you can access it any time you want. Or if you have a spare computer like I do, why don’t you try to make use of it? I am going to show you how you can make your computer into a FTP server.

After trying a couple of the FTP server software, the freeware FileZilla Server became my choice.

OK, let’s get started.

The first thing you will need to do is to install the package you just downloaded (from the above link); the installation is quite straight forward and I am not going to get into too detail.

Upon successful installation, FileZilla server will launch and you should be able to see the following interface:

Before we go ahead and set it up the ports, we would like to add a user to make sure it works. We will go to choose from “Edit–>Users” (Or there is a shortcut icon right underneath the “Edit” on the menu bar.)

I created a user named “anonymous”, and I make sure the “Password” field is uncheck because I would like to make this as my public FTP account that visitors could download from my FTP server. If you would like to set up other accounts, make sure your “Password” filed is checked to enforce a secure login. For different users, you can assign different path, or you can just create a group and assign the path to all members in that group.

On the left hand side, you will see the “Shared folders”, you can specify the folder path you would like “anonymous” to look at as well as the permission you would like to grant. Once it’s done, click OK.

Note: The shared folder directories is the root folder that the selected user (in this case, it’s “anonymous”) could see, but any folders contained by root folders are also visible to this user.

The common thing Windows users would probably miss while setting up FileZilla is the Firewall. Over the installation, even though you grant permission for FileZilla server to access your computer resources, there is something not quite correctly set up.

Browse to your firewall setting, you should be able to find FileZilla Server Interface might be in the allow list; however, this is the problem. We should allow the FileZilla Server core instead of the interface. The interface is just the UI for end users like you and me to access the core program. So we click add to choose “FileZilla Server” from the installation folder:

Now it should be OK.

If you have two or more computers at home, you can give it a test now. First find out your internal IP address. If you don’t know how to do it, check my previous post, set up your remote desktop. For example, I found that my server’s internal IP is, then on the other computer, I simply type in

Note: If you have a different port other than port 21, let’s say you have port 22, you should type in if you don’t know what port it is, it’s actually under setting–>General setting: If it works for you, we will move on; otherwise, please read the instructions again or ask me.

FTP server is meant to be exit in a network, if you just try to set it up at home, then you are done; but according to the situations I introduced in my first paragraphs, I do want to make it global.

Like a Remote Desktop, we will also need to set up port forwarding. In my case, since my FileZilla Server is on Port 21 on my computer, I will need to somehow forward the FTP request onto this port. Ideally, it would be great if we can set up port 21 as external port because every time we type in the address, we don’t need to type in the port number (Browser’s default FTP port is port 21). However, most of the ISP (Internet Service Provider), for example I use Telus, block port 21. We will need to find an alternate port as our external port:

I set up Port 5050 as my external port and all FTP request through this port will be redirect to Port 21 on my server. I am using D-Link DIR-825, if you have different router, please refer to the instruction on your manual.

If you set up your Dynamic DNS, then you are already done, if not, please go back and read my post; it’s extremely easy.

Let’s say you have your Dynamic DNS name as, then when you are outside, you can simply type in, but if you are at home, you can just type in

You can use your browsers to visit your FTP server, however, I do recommend you to use FTP software. FileZilla Server is a great FTP server and they do have client software too. You can check FileZilla’s website; if you haven’t got one, why don’t you try FileZilla Client?

Free FTP Software Review

One of the most basic and essential utilities that you would need if you maintain or build your own website is a FTP client.

Unfortunately it is not such a simple matter to move files from your PC to your hosting server – at least not as simple as just cutting and pasting files on your local PC, or dragging and dropping files between folders.

In order to copy files from your local PC to your hosting server, you are going to require something called a FTP program – a File Transfer Protocol program. Your FTP program is what you will use to copy files from your PC to your hosting server. There are a number of very good free FTP programs available – I will review 3 of them, from various perspectives but mostly from an ease-of-use perspective, since this is probably what counts for most if you are new to the whole business of working with files on the Internet.

1. FileZilla

Filezilla is available for download on the FileZilla website – just search for it. You need to download the FileZilla Client, not the FileZilla server!

Overall, FileZilla does the job – it can upload and download files, it can do in-place editing (set up the associations with the file types you want to edit in Edit->Settings->Interface Settings->File Viewing/Editing).

It can work in secure mode, and has a ‘keep-alive’ function. It also has drag and drop, so that you can drag and drop files from your local PC to the server.

What I don’t like about FileZilla is that its interface is complex. There are too many windows when you fire it up – this can be really confusing for a novice user. These various windows can be closed but I still haven’t figured out how to save that particular configuration since there are also way too many setting options and frankly, I am too busy to try and figure it out.

2. Smart FTP

Smart FTP is free for non-commercial use. And it will keep on telling you that. There is a nag screen that fires up every time that you open the program after your 30 day trial has expired. This can become a bit tedious after a while. Apart from that, SmartFTP has some very nice features, such as ability to connect to multiple servers at the same time and do in-place editing of multiple files. At least, this is the theory, and it does work to an extent, but don’t be surprised if everything comes crashing around your ears if you try and edit too many files at the same time.

Other features is that you do not just need to copy from local PC to server, you can also copy files from server to server, although this can be extremely slow. It is actually faster to copy from server to local and then back to server again.

Smart FTP has some really nice flash tutorials available to help you get started, as well as an extensive knowledge base with ‘How To’ questions.

The ‘Site Manager’ feature is not straight forward, you manage ‘Favourites’. Apart from that Smart FTP is really… smart.

3. CoreFTP

Core FTP can be downloaded from the popular Download dot com website (search for ‘Core FTP’). The first result is Core FTP LE – it has been downloaded almost 2 million times, which should tell you something about its popularity! You can also go directly to the Core FTP site and download it from there.

Core FTP has a solid, almost chunky, old fashioned interface – I like it!

It is simple to use, and offers all the features that you would want in an FTP program. It lacks some advanced features, for example multi-site management, however, I would wholeheartedly recommend Core FTP if you are a novice user and just wants to get your files on the server.

It does offer in-place editing as well as drag and drop transfer, so it really is the best if you are looking for a solid, no-nonsense FTP client with a simple interface.

Top Marketer FAQs – How Do You Set Up FTP to Upload Your Website to Your Web Host?

Now that you have your website ready, it is time to upload all of your files to your web host. Although many web hosts have online file uploaders, it will take a very long time to upload each file individually. You will want to use an FTP client to do a bulk upload of your entire site with one click.

First you will need your FTP login information from your web host. If your host uses a cpanel access, you will navigate to the FTP account area in the cpanel. The host would have automatically created a default account for you when they created your webhosting account.

Click on the “configure FTP” button and it will bring up your login information. If you have not already installed your software, you will need to do that first. Open the software and click on the “connect” in the menu. This should bring up a window or login box depending on the software you are using.

From the information provided by the host, you will fill in all of the necessary fields. This will include your host location. This is usually, you will also input your username and password. Once connected, you will have two sections in the FTP software. One area will be your files on your computer, the other section will be the files in your web host. If your site is new, there may not be any files showing in the host side.

Now on your desktop side, you need to navigate to the website files that you want to upload into your webhost. Now all you need to do is highlight the files you want to transfer and click the arrow or add to queue and click to transfer. This will begin the process of copying all of your website files to your web host server.

When it is complete, open your browser and type in your site URL and you should be able to see your website. Any time you make changes to your website, you will need to FTP the updated file to your web host. The software will prompt you to rename or overwrite existing files. If you are updating, you will choose to overwrite the old file. This prompt is there to prevent you from overwriting files with duplicate names by accident.