Console FTP Clients
Most operating systems (UNIX, NT, Windows 95) 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. One you use, learn, and master a console FTP client
you will very likely never use a graphical FTP client again.
(It sounds crazy, but it's true for many people).
Open a Console Window
To use a console FTP client you will first need access to a "command
prompt". This can be gained by opening a console window.
Look in the "Start->Program" menu
for "MS-DOS prompt" or "Command Prompt". You can also open a
console window by selecting "Start->Run" and entering
the executable path "c:/windows/command/command.com" or
"c:/winnt/system32/cmd.exe", depending on your version of Windows.
Most UNIX environments use console windows and command prompts quite
extensively and UNIX users are already comfortable using them (or
should be). When you Telnet or SSH to your Virtual Server you are
effectively open a command prompt remotely on your Virtual Server.
So you can, in effect, use FTP from a command prompt on your Virtual
Server to download a file from another remote host directly to your
For example, you may want to download software
from XYZ, Inc. (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 28.8), you
can telnet to your Virtual Server and FTP the software from XYZ, Inc.
directly to your Virtual Server (using high speed DS3's).
Connect to a Remote FTP Site
To open an FTP session with a remote FTP site at a command
prompt simply type "ftp [remote host]", where [remote host]
is the site you are attempting to contact (i.e. ftp.xyz.com). This
is where is gets fun because you know 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 more than
likely be prompted for a username and password pair (sounds logical
After you have successfully logged into the remote ftp
site, you can navigate around using the "cd" command to change
your current working directory on the remote site. Type "ls" or "dir"
to list the files in your current working directory on the remote
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". For 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 such as
"mput *.html". You may want to turn off the confirm prompt
by typing the command "prompt" before you upload multiple
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". For 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 such as
"mget *.html". You may want to turn off the confirm prompt
by typing the command "prompt" before you download multiple
Be sure you transfer all text files, such as HTML and CGI script
source code, in ASCII format! All image files (.gif, .jpg, etc.)
must be transferred in BINARY format.
Other important FTP commands are summarized in the
table below. Arguments for commands are indicated using brackets
||Set the file transfer type to network ASCII.
||Set the file transfer type to support binary image transfer.
|Terminate the FTP session with the remote server and exit
ftp. An end of file will also terminate the session and exit.
Change the working directory on the remote machine to remote-directory.
Delete the file remote-file on the remote machine.
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.
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.
Print an informative message about the meaning of command.
If no argument is given, ftp prints a list of the known commands.
Change the working directory on the local machine. If no directory
is specified, the user's current local working directory is displayed.
Delete the remote-files on the remote machine.
Expand the remote-files on the remote machine and do a get
for each file name thus produced.
Make a directory on the remote machine.
Expand wild cards in the list of local files given as argu-
ments and do a put for each file in the resulting list.
||Toggle interactive prompting. Interactive prompting occurs
during multiple file transfers to allow the user to selec-
tively 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.
Store a local file on the remote machine. If remote-file is
left unspecified, the local file name is used.
Rename the file from on the remote machine, to the file to.
Delete a directory on the remote machine.
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