With one-click installs and a powerful dashboard, you can set up and run a WordPress site without ever having seen or accessed your WordPress files directly. For the most part, you don’t need to, but understanding how can help when you need to add some functions or if something goes wrong. This guide will explore what is FTP and how to access it.
If you have ever searched how to add a certain function or fix an issue, you will have more than likely come across the term FTP. So what does it mean? It is short for File Transfer Protocol, allowing you to connect directly to your WordPress files and folders, where you have the ability to make changes on the server.
Why would you need FTP?
Within the WordPress dashboard, you can upload plugins, themes, and your images so why the need to access the files directly? You may need to upload files manually if an error occurs, an update fails or conflict occurs between plugins and themes.
It will also enable you to get your site up and running again in the case of a plugin conflict that causes your site and/or dashboard to not be available.
How to directly access your WordPress files.
To access your files via FTP you will need two things, an FTP account from your WebHost and an FTP Client. Let’s start with the FTP account.
To create an account, you can set it up via your Webhosting cPanel. Your host may offer FTP and/or SFTP depending on their set up. You can create a new account and set a password all within the cPanel
There is both Windows/Mac and mobile FTP Clients available, you can get a Filezilla Client here. Once downloaded in the quick launch you can enter your FTP details to connect to your webspace.
Host: This will generally be ftp.yourdomain – You can find this information in your cPanel
Username: What you set up normally followed by @domainname
Password: What you set
Port: This will be referenced in your cPanel
Then hit connect.
Once connected, the left side will be your device, the right side is your website. Here just like any other explorer you can click into folders, select multiple files and drag and drop files to either upload or download.
One of the common reasons to access your WordPress files is for when plugin/theme causes conflicts, by being incompatible with other plugins, failing to update correctly or is poorly coded.
This can prevent you from being able to load or login your dashboard. The only way to disable the plugins or themes will be via FTP to troubleshoot the issue and restore access to the dashboard.
Like always, make sure to do a backup before making any changes.