If you use the FireFox browser and are looking for a free FTP utility, try FireFTP. For a freebie browser add-on, FireFTP is a fairly full featured FTP tool. It will handle all of your common FTP needs.
FireFTP is a FireFox-only add-on, which means that it will not work with Internet Explorer. Installation is simple. Just go to the FireFTP download page and click on the Download button. Make sure you are using FireFox when you visit the page. The browser add-on will automatically install in a few seconds.
After installation, you can find the FTP utility in the FireFox Tools menu. Click on it and it will open in a browser window. Just like FileZilla, FireFTP allows you to set up and save FTP connection accounts and allows quick connects for occasional FTP connections that you do not want to store. The only difference is that an Account is saved, while a QuickConnect is not.
When you start up FireFTP, you will see multiple panes. The panes on the left side represent the local directories on your PC. The panes on the right display remote directories on your web site after you have connected to your server.
To set up an account, click on the Create an account… selection from the drop-down menu in the top left-hand corner. The Account Manager dialog box will display. From there you can enter the FTP information for your web site.
The Account Name will be displayed on the drop-down menu. The account information can be obtained from your hosting company. The Category is optional and can be used if you have a lot of FTP accounts that you want to set up in logical groups on the menu.
The Host is typically your domain name, i.e., tech-evangelist.com. If you are using a dedicated IP address, you can use the IP address. Some hosting companies require the use of special Host addresses.
The Login is your username for the FTP account.
The Password is the password for the FTP account.
To set up an account, you only need to enter the Account Name. Any information that you enter will be stored when you same the account. If you are using a laptop that could be stolen, it is a good idea to leave the password blank. FireFTP will prompt you for missing information when you try to connect to your server.
The Account Manager also has a Connection tab where you can set up any special connection information, such as a non-standard port number. You can also designate default directories for both the Local (your PC) and the Remote (the server) sides of the connection. This feature saves a lot of time because you do not have to search for files on your PC if you store them in a special location.
Finding Local Files If You Are On a Network
Use the Browse button to the right of the path displayed just above the Local pane. You can select any location that you have access to on your network.
Make sure that the proper directories are selected in both the left-hand pane (Local) and the right-hand-pane (Remote). Highlight the files your wish to transfer in the left window and click the right arrow in the center bar. You can also transfer files from the server to your PC. It is important to make sure that you have the proper directories selected.
Disconnecting From a Server
To disconnect from your server, use the Disconnect button to the right of the drop-down menu. Once a connection is made, the Connect button turns into the Disconnect button.
View Hidden Files, Such as the .htaccess File
This is easy to set up, although the location for the change is not very intuitive. On the top right-hand side of the FireFTP window there is a Tools selection. Select Tools > Options. Check the box named Show Hidden Files.
Setting Up Default Directories
This is found in the Connection tab in the Account Manager dialog box. The easiest way to set this up is to make the connection to your server, select the proper directories for both the left-hand and right-hand panes, then select the Edit button next to the drop-down menu. Select the Connection tab. You should see both the Local and Remote directory paths displayed. Click on the Use Current button next to each, and then click OK. The next time you connect to your server, the default directories will be used.
If you need a real nice, lightweight and simple FTP utility, it is worthwhile to take a look at FireFTP. I was pleasantly surprised with this one.