Full Tutorial: FTP Transfer File from Local to Remote [3 Methods]

Can you transfer files using FTP? Yes. This post gives a full tutorial of FTP transfer file from local to remote, and vice versa. Keep reading to learn about the three methods and choose the best with your needs.


By Ellie / Updated on December 28, 2023

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How to transfer file from local machine to remote machine using FTP?


I'm looking to transfer files from my local machine to a remote machine using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). However, I'm running into some issues, and I could use some guidance on the process.”

- Question from Reddit


Nowadays, efficient and secure data transfer is crucial for businesses and individuals alike. One widely used method for transferring files from a local system to a remote server is through FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This article explores the ins and outs of FTP and provides a step-by-step guide on how to seamlessly transfer files from your local machine to a remote server using this reliable protocol.

Preparation work before FTP file transfer

To initiate a file transfer via FTP, the first step involves the creation of an FTP account. Below are the detailed steps to accomplish this task:

Step 1. Access your cPanel account by navigating to https://yourdomain.com/cpanel (replace "yourdomain.com" with your actual domain) or the URL provided by your hosting provider. Sign in using your cPanel username and password.

Step 2. In the cPanel dashboard, look for the "Files" section, and then click on "FTP Accounts."

FTP Accounts

Step 3. Under "Add FTP Account," provide the following information:

  • Login: Enter the username for the new FTP account.
  • Password: Generate a strong and secure password for the account.
  • Directory: Choose the directory to which the FTP account will have access. By default, it's usually the same as the username, creating a directory in the public_html folder.

Step 4. You may set a quota for the FTP account to limit the amount of disk space it can use. This step is optional.

Step 5. After entering the required information, proceed by clicking the "Create FTP Account" button.

Create FTP Accounts

Step 6. After creating the FTP account, cPanel will display the account details, including the FTP server, login username, and home directory.

FTP Accounts Details

3 ways for FTP transfer file from local to remote

FTP transfer file from local to remote servers can be achieved through three prevalent methods: GUI FTP client, Web browser, and command line.

Way 1. Using a GUI FTP client to transfer files

Simplify the process of moving files by using an FTP client, especially if you need frequent access to FTP servers. These tools enable effortless uploading, downloading, and transferring of files, providing a more user-friendly experience compared to using command lines or web browsers.

Choose an FTP client such as FileZilla, WinSCP, or Cyberduck. Here we’ll transfer files between computers using WinSCP.

Step 1. Visit the WinSCP official website: https://winscp.net/. Download the latest version of WinSCP.Follow the installation instructions to install WinSCP on your Windows machine.

Step 2. After installation, launch WinSCP. In the WinSCP Login window, you'll see a few sections:

  • File protocol: Choose the protocol you want to use (e.g., SFTP, SCP, FTP).
  • Hostname: Enter the IP address or domain name of the remote server.
  • Port number: Set the port number for the connection (default is usually fine).
  • Username: Enter your username for the remote server.
  • Password: Enter your password. For added security, you can use SSH keys (advanced).

Click on the "Save" button to save your session settings for future use.

Step 3. Click on the "Login" button to connect to the remote server.

winscp login window

Step 4. If this is your first connection, you may see a security warning. Review and accept the server's key fingerprint.

winscp warning message

Step 5. The WinSCP interface is split into two panels: the left panel represents your local machine, and the right panel represents the remote server. Navigate through your local files on the left side and remote files on the right side.

winscp file transfer window

Step 6. To upload files (local to remote), navigate to the local file on the left panel and select the file(s) you want to upload, drag and drop the selected file(s) to the desired directory on the remote server's right panel.

To download files (remote to local), navigate to the remote file on the right panel and select the file(s) you want to download, drag and drop the selected file(s) to the desired directory on the local machine's left panel.

Way 2. Connecting to an FTP server on a Web browser

Many web browsers support FTP, allowing users to access FTP servers directly from the browser interface. This method is typically less secure than dedicated FTP clients, so it's often used for public file sharing or when security is not a primary concern. Let’s take Firefox as an example for FTP transfer file from remote to local via Web browser:

Step 1. Launch the Firefox web browser on your device.

Step 2. In the locator bar at the top, input the FTP address in the following format:

ftp://username:[email protected]

As an illustration, if your username is "jess12" and your password is "bosox67," the FTP syntax would be:

ftp://jess12:[email protected]

Step 3. Once you press Enter, the browser will connect to the FTP server. You'll see a list of files and directories if the connection is successful.

Way 3. Transfer files via the command line FTP

Using the command line for FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on your local machine allows for a straightforward and efficient way to transfer files to a remote server. Below is a systematic guide for transferring files from remote server to local machine using FTP command line on a Windows operating system:

Step 1. Press Win + S and type in “command” at the Search. Then open Command Prompt.

Step 2. Enter the following command and press Enter:


FTP Command Line

Step 3. Once in FTP mode, connect to the remote server using the server's IP address or domain. Type:


Step 4. You'll need to input your username and password when prompted.

Step 5. Upon successful login, you'll be directed to the default directory. You can move to the one where you want to copy files to, use the following commands:

  • To change the local directory: lcd (LOCAL_DIRECTORY)
  • To change the remote directory: cd (LOCAL_DIRECTORY)

Step 6. Use the put command to upload files from the local machine to the remote server:


Step 7. Use the get command to download files from the remote server to the local machine:


Bonus tip: Easier GUI file transfer tool - AnyViewer

For individuals who prefer effecting file transfers through a GUI tool, it is recommended to employ AnyViewer. This application provides a more efficient means of transferring files between computers when compared to a GUI-based FTP client. Characterized by an intuitive interface and straightforward operational steps, it serves as a proficient solution, potentially economizing valuable time for users seeking a prompt and seamless method for remote file transfers.

Step 1. Get AnyViewer on both computers.

Download Freeware Win PCs & Servers
Secure Download

Step 2. Open AnyViewer on the other computer, log in and check out the easy interface.

Log in AnyViewer.png

Step 3. Once logged in, explore the user-friendly setup.

Free Editions

Step 4. On your computer, go to "Device," find the target computer, and click "File transfer."

File Transfer AnyViewer

Step 5. In the File Transfer part, pick your files and use the arrows to move them smoothly.

Choose Files

Just a heads up, if you're dealing with smaller files, AnyViewer's free version is good to go. But for larger file transfers, check out the Professional or Enterprise plan. With the upgrade, you get:

Transfer hefty files up to 1TB each.
Speed things up with a max transfer speed of 10 MB/s.
Juggle multiple transfers effortlessly with support for 5 threads.
No limits on how many files you can transfer at once.


Closing words

In conclusion, mastering FTP file transfers is essential for efficient data management. This comprehensive tutorial covers three methods for FTP transfer file from local to remote, offering step-by-step guidance. Whether using a GUI client, a web browser, or the command line, seamless transfers are within reach.

Additionally, for a user-friendly experience, consider AnyViewer, especially with its upgraded plans for larger file transfers. Explore the possibilities and enhance your file transfer capabilities.