I have been asked many times how to do this, so I think a quick and concise ible on this will be helpful to the community.
FTP is nice for quickly uploading and downloading content to and from your web page. In this ible I will show you how to do this using a wonderful FREE software called Aptana Studios 3. I will be creating a guide for users who use goDaddy hosted webpages (as that is what I have) but it should be known that this process will work for ANY host provider (even your own).
With that said, lets jump right into it!
Step 1: Setup FTP User
All web hosts that I have used have always had somewhere that lists the FTP clients or users.
The pictures included will be describing where to click for a goDaddy hosted account...
First off, it is important to note what the IP Address of your hosted files is. This should be visible on the host page. Alternately you can use your domain's ftp address. (Often just "ftp.domain.com")
You need to locate where the FTP users list is. This is where we will add a new FTP user for you or a friend. If you already have your FTP username and password, skip this step.
Find wherever you need to go to create a new FTP user. (see pictures for goDaddy instructions)
Create the new user. You username must be unique across all users that the host company has. So not just unique among your users, but unique for everyone's users. Create a password (at least one upper and lower case letter and 8-14 characters long). Finally, select the path that this user will have access to. You can give them full access to your webspace by selecting <hosting root> or just "/". Or you can assign them a directory such as "/images" if you only wanted them to be able to add and delete images on that path. Or perhaps you will give them the path access "/username" where username is their own username, thus enabling them to have their own mini-website on your hosted site.
After clicking save, it can take anywhere from 10 seconds to a couple hours to have your submission processed. The list (for goDaddy) will tell you when it is all done being set up.
Step 2: Software Step 1: Download
Using the right text editor can be a huge advantage for any type of coding, I suggest Aptana. You can use any old text editor but Aptana makes it really easy and graceful to code along with uploading via FTP.
Get your free Aptana Studios 3 software here! There are no strings attached, it is free, top-of-the-line software. If you use mac, click on the button that says customize your download.
Once finished downloading, open it up. If you right click on the background of a page, you can customize all the colors to your liking, but thats not the point of this ible...
Step 3: Software Step 2: New Project
Once Aptana has opened up, you will need to create a new project. Name it whatever you want. In this example, I named mine "FTP Guide".
To create a new project, click on the arrow next to the button to the far left of the toolbar (top row of buttons on page). Select "Web Project" and proceed to name it whatever you want. Then click "Finnish". You don't need to set up a project template.
Once the new project has been added to the navigation panel on the left, expand it by clicking on the plus sign to the left of it.
You should see "Connections" there. Right click on it and select "Add New Connection"
In the next step I will show you what parameters to enter for this new connection.
Step 4: Software Step 3: New Connection
First off, you must choose what title to give your project. It is simple enough to just name it by the name of your website. But any name will work fine. By default it displays New Connection, you may want to change this...
Then look down to where it says "New...". Click on this. It will open up a new window.
Enter in the domain name under Site Name
Enter the server address ftp.domain.com or simply the ip address.
Enter you previously entered new FTP username and password.
Finally, enter the remote path that you are navigating to. This can simply be the root "/" or a particular path you choose. ALternately, you can specify the path while entering the site name (eg. www.domain.com/path/)
Click "Test" to make sure you entered everything in properly.
If you encounter errors, try simplifying. One option would be to make the path simply "/".
Finally click ok to the test, and ok to the window. Finally, click apply to the connection manager window and then ok.
Everything should be set up properly now!
Step 5: Test and Finish
You should be able to navigate through all of your website's files in the nav panel on the left of Aptana's screen. You can create new files, open and edit old ones, and even delete files. You can also just drag images into the nav panel to upload image files to your website.
Play around. You are done! Now, every time you save in Aptana, it will automatically update the files on the server.
Let me know if you have any questions.