About FTP

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What is FTP?

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a protocol used to transfer files over a TCP/IP network (Internet, UNIX, etc.). For example, after developing the HTML pages for a Web site on a local machine, they are typically uploaded to the Web server using FTP.

FTP includes functions to log onto the network, list directories and copy files. FTP operations can be performed by typing commands at a command prompt or via an FTP utility running under a graphical interface such as Windows. FTP transfers can also be initiated from within a Web browser by entering the URL preceded with ftp://.

Why would I want to use FTP?

FTP is the means in which you will need to upload your web page, if you choose to have one. It is also a useful tool in making files available to friends, family, or clients without sending bulky attachments via email (which, generally, has a very low quota). Finally, you can make a space available for others to send you files directly to your XMission FTP directory.

How do I connect to XMission's FTP server?

We recommend using Smart FTP](PC), or Fetch(Mac), which are GUI clients that make using FTP easier and more user-friendly. Most FTP clients require this basic information: Site Label = XMission

Host Address = ftp.xmission.com (or ftp://ftp.xmission.com)
UserID or Username = username (Your XMission username.)
Password = password (Your XMission password.)

Another way to connect is to use your browser. Most versions of Netscape, Internet Explorer, and other browsers, such as Mozilla, will allow you to connect to an FTP server using the following format:


You would, of course, replace "username" with your XMission account name, and "password" with your XMission password.

How do I connect to XMission's FTP server with a secure connection?

This is the basic information for most clients

Host Address = shell.xmission.com
UserID or Username = username (Your XMission username.)
Password = password (Your XMission password.)
Port = 22

If you are using a Terminal Window with Mac, Windows or Linux:

In you terminal window type sftp yourusername@shell.xmission.com (yourusername = Your XMission username)

How can I make my files available to others?

When you connect to the FTP server and you're in your home directory, you should see a directory named FTP. In this directory, you can create a folder named "outgoing". Be sure the permissions are group readable, or chmod 755. You can put your files in this directory and give people the following URL for access:


You would replace "u" with the first letter of your account name, "username" with your XMission username, and "filename" with the name of the file you are referring people to (or you can leave off the file name and let them browse the directory).

How can I have others send files to me via FTP?

Much the same as explained above, you can create a directory named "incoming" in your FTP directory. Make sure this directory is NOT readable and is group writable, or chmod 733. You can give people the following URL for access:


You would replace "u" with the first letter of your account name, "username" with your XMission username.

Why is XMission's FTP server slow or even unavailable at times?

Speed depends on when you use it. During prime time, you sometimes share our FTP server with up to 100 of other Internet users around the world. This can be heavy load for the machine. Because of the high load this can cause, there is a limit of 100 simultaneous connections on the FTP server. Though it's rare, you may have to wait a couple of minutes to use it.

What are some common mistakes?

One common mistake is not setting proper file read permissions. This includes restricting everyone from retrieving those files, and leaving directories with world writable and world readable flags set. These directories often end up as trading grounds for software pirates. Also, you should occasionally check any incoming directories for files someone may have dropped for you, and clean up old unneeded files.

Another common mistake is attempting to upload hidden files. FTP will not allow you to upload a file with a "." preceding the file name.