FTP, or file transfer protocol, is a quick and easy way to move files such as themes, images and plugin files onto your WordPress website. To use FTP you first need to give yourself FTP access, and a nice easy way to grant that access is through the CPanel interface that is pretty standard with most shared hosting plans.
CPanel is a tool bundled with most hosting plans to make it easy for anyone to host their website, regardless of technical knowledge. Let's take a look at how to setup FTP access through CPanel so you can transfer files whenever you want.
Login to your WordPress hosting account using your username and password. I use Bluehost so it looks like this, your host may be different…
Some hosting providers will provide a direct login for CPanel, rather than asking you log into their admin panel first (or sometimes as an alternative option). If this is the case these details will be in the email you received from the hosting company when you first signed up.
Click on the Hosting tab, and then CPanel option. This often comes up as the default homepage depending on your hosting provider.
Locate and click on the FTP Accounts button. This is situated under the File Management section. If you can't find it, use the Ctrl + F functions and type in “FTP”.
CPanel has a pretty consistent UI so this icon should be familiar.
There is a chance that you already have an FTP account setup. Check the bottom of the page to verify this. If not, use the setup screen to create a new one. Choose a Login name and password that you will remember. The system creates an FTP directory in your files, and you can just check the Unlimited box for your Quota. Click the Create FTP Account button to proceed.
With most hosts you have the options to manually or automatically setup your FTP client. An FTP client is something like Filezilla or Cyberduck (for Mac). These clients give you the interface that shows all your website files so you can move them around or drop new files in them. The new page should give you all the FTP credentials you need. Remember these so you can login to the FTP client in the next few steps.
Download the Filezilla or Cyberduck FTP clients depending on what type of computer you have.
If you want to access your site files through the FTP client manually, which is really quite simple, use the credentials given to you before and punch them into your selected client. For example, if you use Filezilla, they offer a login area at the top of the screen.
Use the FTP server URL for the Host field, and punch in the username and password from your previous FTP setup. Most of the time you don't have to fill in the Port field, but you can if you want. Click on the Quick Connect button and it should connect you within a few seconds. That's it for the manual version.
This isn't really a step, but an alternative way to access your FTP client with the FTP account you just created. It depends on your hosting account, but with Bluehost you can either do it the manual way (like Step 7) or link to the client using a configuration file.
Simply download the Configuration File for your desired FTP client and save it to a location you will remember.
Open your FTP client such as Filezilla and find the Import option by going to File > Import. This varies depending on your client. Choose the XML file you just put on your computer and import it. Click OK on all the success windows, and go to File > Site Manager. Find your domain and click on the Connect button to finish the process.
I personally think the manual method for connecting to an FTP client is a little easier, but feel free to try both to see which fits your needs. That's all there is to setting up FTP access through CPanel.
Drop a line in the comments section below if you have any questions about how to setup FTP access to your site using the CPanel.