Learn what File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is and how to use it with your Shaw Hosting. Discover some best practices when using FTP to upload/download content on your website
What is FTP?
FTP in itself is just a medium to transport files. Every web page or image that you add to your site can be considered as a file.
The file transfer protocol (FTP) is the primary vehicle used to upload and download content for your website. There are several ways to access the webspace using FTP. This page will outline how to successfully navigate FTP and common issues you may encounter when adding or removing content on your business website.
Server File Structure
There are a few primary folders that are defaults on every Shaw Hosting account:
These root folder should generally not be modified. There are additional folders that can be created for secure content. The public folder is where the website content should be placed.
There are excellent FTP clients available online for free. Common clients are listed below. You can also use web browsers or Windows Explorer to access FTP.
- Internet browsers and Windows Explorer
- Web design clients such as Microsoft Expressions and Adobe Dreamweaver (also act as FTP clients)
Configuring your FTP client
Did you know?
To preview a site that you are working on when you have not yet updated your DNS to point to Shaw Hosting, enter the following URL:
This does not work for a site built with the Shaw Hosting Online Presence Website Builder.
The configuration for all FTP clients is the same.
Host: ftp.shawhosting.ca or ftp.yourdomain
Username: Your domain
Password: Account password
Port: 21 (typically the FTP port does not need to be specified)
Publish Folder: Public (publish folder is at times requested by the FTP client).
FTP Users Login: user.domain (e.g., if user "JohnDoe" was created for mywebsite.com, the user login of johndoe.mywebsite.com would be used for username. In the case of an FTP user, it would be preferable to not specify a folder as that folder may not exist where that user has access.
Browsers or Windows Explorer: Type ftp :// domain @ ftp.shawhosting.ca (without spaces) into the address bar. You will be prompted to enter your domain and corresponding password.
How to create FTP users
Creating alternative FTP user logins can be helpful for a few reasons:
- Restricting access to specific folders
- Providing FTP access without providing the domain password
- Creating multiple FTP users
During the user creation process the username, password, and folder access is determined for each user.
Log in to the web portal at shawhosting.ca/.
Navigate to Advanced Tools > Web Tools and launch the FTP Manager app.
Anonymous FTP: Allows users to download files from a specific directory without a password.
Master FTP: Where the domain owner can change his or her FTP password. By default the FTP password is usually set as the domain password for the hosting portal.
Current Directory: Gives a user FTP access to a specified directory of the website. Using an FTP client, the user will be able to upload and download files from the specified directory (sub-folder). Each user may be granted FTP access to only one directory but will have access to all sub-directories located below the main directory. For example an owner may want a web designer to upload files to the public directory but not have access to all of the folders.
- Select Create.
- Enter desired username.
- Set and confirm password.
- Choose directory.
- Select Create.
Sub-user key points
- Changing a password for a user or deleting an FTP user can be done on the main FTP Manager screen.
- Folder access restricts the user access to the specified folder and any sub-folders. Note: Sub-users cannot access the root directory.
Logging in as a Sub-User
Via an FTP client, the domain remains the same as the main page and the username for the sub-user will be added in front of the domain.
- e.g., For mywebsite.ca, the user would be webguy.mywebsite.ca and the password is unique to the sub-user.
Using Windows Explorer or another web browser, type the following into the address bar:
- Replace the username, domain, and password with the appropriate information for the login you wish to use.
Common FTP Issues
Here are some common issues and troubleshooting solutions to common FTP usage problems.
Website contents placed in incorrect folders
The most common symptom of this problem is that the page does not display properly after uploading. You will most often see this in one of three ways:
- The Shaw Hosting Under Construction page is displayed.
- There is a 403 Forbidden error when trying to access the new page.
- There is no change in the page after uploading new content.
Fix: Confirm you have uploaded your website content to the public folder in your directory.
In the case that content is uploaded to a sub-folder of public, there is normally a folder called 'website' that the files have been uploaded to.
- In order to view the files in a browser the URL entered would need to be 'http://mydomain.com/website'.
- The contents of that folder can simply be moved to public.
- Some web designers will deliberately upload files into a sub-folder in the public folder for testing/development while leaving the original site live.
- If any of the files in website are called 'index' with extensions html, htm, php or ASP, placing them into the public folder will overwrite what is already in the folder.
"403 Forbidden" Errors
This may be displayed for other reasons but it essentially means there is a missing file. For assistance, please contact Shaw Business Technical Support.
If you are unable to access your site files via FTP it is possible that your website’s security may have been compromised and it has been disabled. To fix this issue, update the domain or FTP user to a strong password and contact Shaw Business Technical Support for further assistance.