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Using a Console FTP Client

Most operating systems (UNIX, Windows, etc.) are shipped with a built-in FTP client that is accessed from a "console window". Many people don't use a console FTP client partly because they don't know one exists and partly because console FTP clients have a steeper learning curve. For those who prefer a fast, clutter-free interface, once they learn how to master a console FTP client, they never want to use a graphical FTP client again.


Command Prompts
To use a console FTP client you will first need access to a "command prompt". This can be gained by opening a console window. You can do this in Windows 95/98/NT by looking in your "Start->Program" menu for "MS-DOS prompt" or "Command Prompt". You can also "Run" the command prompt executable by selecting "Start->Run" and entering the executable path:
    c:/windows/command/command.com

    or

    c:/winnt/system32/cmd.exe
Most UNIX environments use console windows and command prompts quite extensively and UNIX users are already comfortable using them. When you Telnet or SSH to your Virtual Server you are opening a command prompt remotely on your Virtual Server. From there you can use FTP from a command prompt on your Virtual Server to download a file from another remote host directly to your Virtual Server.

Example: You may want to download software from XYZ, Inc. (ftp://ftp.xyz.com) and install the software on your Virtual Server. Instead of downloading the software from XYZ, Inc. to your office computer and then uploading it from your office computer to your Virtual Server (which can be quite slow on a 56K modem connection), you can Telnet to your Virtual Server and FTP the software from XYZ, Inc. directly to your Virtual Server (using high speed OC3 connections).


The Console
Now that you understand how to gain access to console windows and command prompts, you need to understand how to use a console FTP client. To open up an FTP session at a command prompt simply type

% ftp [remote host]
where [remote host] is the site you are attempting to contact (e.g. ftp.xyz.com). This is where you can see what's going on "behind the scenes" when you were using a graphical FTP client.

When you open an FTP session with a remote host, you will be prompted for a username and password pair. After you have successfully logged into the remote ftp site (by using anonymous as your login id and [your email address] as your password), you can navigate around using the

% cd
% ls
commands to change your current working directory on the remote site and list the files in the current working directory on the remote site.


Uploading Files
To upload from your local machine (or the machine from which you initiated the FTP session) to the remote host, you use the command put.
% put

Example:
To upload a file in your local working directory named index.html to your current working directory on the remote site, you would type
    % put index.html test.html
This will transfer the file index.html to the remote host and store it under the name test.html. If you would like to store the local file as the same name on the remote host simply type something like "put index.html index.html" or simply "put index.html". To upload multiple files, use the command mput using wildcards
    % mput *.html
You may want to turn off the confirm prompt by typing the "prompt" before you upload multiple files.


Downloading Files
To download content from a remote host (or the machine to which you opened the FTP session) to your local machine, you use the command "get".


Example: To download a file to your local working directory named "test.html" from your current working directory on the remote site, you would type
    % get test.html index.html
This will transfer the file "test.html" from the remote host and store it under the name "index.html" on your local computer. To download multiple files, use the command "mget" using wildcards.
    % mget *.html
You may want to turn off the confirm prompt by typing the command "prompt" before you download multiple files.

It is important to upload and download ascii text files such as HTML content in ASCII mode. Likewise, binary content such as images should be uploaded and downloaded in BINARY mode.

To change your upload mode to ASCII simply type ASCII.

% ASCII

To change your upload mode to BINARY simply type binary.

% binary


Other FTP Commands
Other important FTP commands are summarized in the table below. Arguments for commands are indicated using brackets [ ]:

Top

ASCII % ASCII

Set the file transfer type to network ASCII.
binary % binary

Set the file transfer type to support binary image transfer.
bye
quit
% bye
% quit


Terminate the FTP session with the remote server and exit ftp. An end of file will also terminate the session and exit.
cd % cd [remote-directory]

Change the working directory on the remote machine to [remote-directory].
delete % delete [remote-file]

Delete the file [remote-file] on the remote machine.
dir
Ls
% dir [remote-directory]
% ls [remote-directory]


Print a listing of the directory contents in the directory, [remote-directory]. If no remote directory is specified, a listing of the current working directory on the remote machine is shown.
get % get [remote-file]
% get [local-file]


Retrieve the [remote-file] and store it on the local machine. If the local file name is not specified, it is given the same name it has on the remote machine.
help % help [command]

Print an informative message about the meaning of [command]. If no argument is given, ftp prints a list of the known commands.
lcd % lcd [local-directory]

Change the working directory on the local machine. If no directory is specified, the user's current local working directory is displayed.
mdelete % mdelete [remote-files]

Delete the [remote-files] on the remote machine.
mget % mget [remote-files]

Expand the [remote-files] on the remote machine and do a get for each file name thus produced.
mkdir % mkdir[remote-dir]

Make a directory on the remote machine.
mput % mput [local-files]

Expand wild cards in the list of local files given as arguments and do a put for each file in the resulting list.
prompt % prompt

Toggle interactive prompting. Interactive prompting occurs during multiple file transfers to allow the user to selectively retrieve or store files. If prompting is turned off (default is on), any mget or mput will transfer all files, and any mdelete will delete all files.
put % put [local-file]
% put [remote-file]


Store a local file on the remote machine. If [remote-file] is left unspecified, the local file name is used.
rename % rename [from] [to]
Rename the file [from] on the remote machine, to the file [to].
rmdir % rmdir [directory-name]

Delete a directory on the remote machine.
SEE ALSO:

File Upload Overview

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