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How to use FTP to upload files to WordPress for Beginners

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How to use FTP to upload files to WordPress for Beginners

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a fast and simple way to transfer files from one computer to another over the internet. In simple term, it is how you send one file from your computer to your web hosting server. In this article, we will show you how to use FTP to upload a plugin to WordPress. We will also show you how to change the permissions of each individual file. In the video tutorial, we will be using a software called WS_FTP Pro for Windows. The steps and instructions will carry over to pretty much all FTP softwares with a graphical user-interface.

Why knowing how to FTP is important?

There are times when you install and activate a plugin using the WordPress dashboard just to find that this plugin is incompatible with an existing plugin. The incompatibility sometimes causes a white screen of death through out the site which locks you out from doing anything. If you know how to use FTP, then instead of freaking out, you will simply login-in and delete the plugin using the FTP connection.

Often when you are trying to paste codes from tutorials into the functions.php file of your theme, you can accidentally lock yourself out. This can happen if you paste the code in the wrong place, or the code wasn’t semantically right. Knowing how to use FTP can get you out of trouble in a matter of minutes.

There will be times that you get a permission error upon activation of a plugin. The error will say, plugin cannot create XYZ folder because of the file permissions. That is when knowing how to change CHMOD permissions help.

Last but definitely not the least, knowing how to use FTP is the next step up from a beginner. It will save you a lot of time and stress.

Having that said, go ahead and watch the video:

If you are looking for other FTP clients, then here is a list of few that are good:

Filezilla (All Platform)
FireFTP (All Platform)
Cyberduck (Mac Only)
WinSCP (Windows Only)

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Frankl says:

    hi….am using a local host ISS7 and web matrix to power up my word press. and i have absolutely no idea of using file zilla to upload my files into wordpress. please i need help… thanks

  2. Barbara says:

    You definitely saved my life :)
    I’m one of those people trying to do all by themselves, and got locked out by my site.
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Patricia says:


      Same here, I’m doing my own business set up. I love this plug-in! Once you understand the structure of WordPress, it’s a blast to use.

      I love their plug-ins and the ease of the design.

  3. Asad says:

    I am yet to buy the domain from any hosting provider. I am new to WP. How to configure filezilla for hostname: *** is it possible?

  4. Carl John Carolino says:

    Please help me. After editing the functions.php of my site, this appeared: Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<' in /home/carljohn/public_html/wp/wp-content/themes/blog-start/functions.php on line 83. How will I resolve this problem?

  5. Priscilla says:

    Hmm… So I’m new at this whole FTP programs thing.. And as I have to completely change and update my company’s website, I wanted to use the domain but switch everything else to WordPress… Do you have any tutorial about this switch?
    Thank you!

  6. Heike says:

    Just signed up to WordPress, but unfortunately I have not received an email yet telling me the ftp details. Where can I request them? Is it possible to upload an entire website to WordPress? Thanks for ur help…

  7. Sarah says:

    Blah, blah, blah. What the heck is the WordPress FTP server? I know how to use ftp but I don’t know the wordpress server?!?!

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Your WordPress server is the computer where your WordPress site is stored by your web hosting company. An FTP client allows you to connect to that computer and upload or download files. Please contact your web hosting service provider for your FTP login credentials.

  8. Amit Bhuttan says:

    Thank You!! This was very useful info & saved a lot of time in restoring the corrupt php file and now my website is up and running again…. saved me a great amount of time in redoing hell lot of development……. I appreciate you.

  9. Mario M. says:

    I am a new webmaster, and was sent Login Info for WordPress and the FTP.
    There was also a link and so I clicked on the link and it sent me to a login dialog box. I entered the login info and password then nothing happened. Why???

  10. Dee says:

    Great video. The issue I have is I wanted to upload a video file into the media folder using FTP, I followed these steps and could not locate de media folder, how can I do tha?

  11. Brenda Young says:

    Thank god for you guys! I got no help from my theme provider, or to fix my problem I locked myself out with Error 500 editing functions.php file and you nailed it down for me!!! Hours spent previously trying to figure out what to do and you saved the day—- YOU ROCK

  12. jeff says:

    Can you tell me if I can use as a store? I have a dropship company that can give me FTP files of their products and upload to a website. I have to build a new website so maybe

  13. Erica says:

    Thank you so much! This post was a life saver.

  14. Saadiya says:


    I have purchased my domain from wordpress itself. Now, I am trying to migrate from to I do not find any control panel in my wordpress account. How do I do it? I am already going through your tutorial on, but am not sure which is suitable. Please suggest.

  15. Sam Shah says:


    I installed WordPress via FTP client , But i want to upload another ready to host website in zipped format in which i want to make changes in like i want to change the banners & affiliate links to my own. How can i do the same?. Because i did upload it but could not edit it after that. Can you please help me with this?. Thanks a lot

  16. Elethu Duna says:

    Thank you for this. I was locked out of my site yesterday when I edited my functions.php file. After freaking out, taking a deep breath (as instructed by one of your articles), laughing from nervousness, trying a few things and eventually taking time of to clear my head, I finally managed. Took me a couple of minutes. :)

  17. Amy says:

    What am I doing wrong? Both Filezilla and Cyberduck say they cannot connect to server. I ran a diagnosis and there is not an issue with connect to the internet. I listed hostgator as my host.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please recheck the credentials you are using to log into your FTP server. If you are unsure, contact your hosting provider.

  18. Alex says:

    Thank you for your help! This and related posts helped me get through my coding error without freaking out too much. For some reason, my website is still messed up (I didn’t have the functions.php saved, so I just removed the bad code and saved the rest to access my website as admin), but at least it’s not entirely inaccessible!

  19. Ása Steinarsdóttir says:

    I locked myself out of my WordPress after I put a code snippet to the function.php file. I know where the error is. I do not have a backup of my files of my website (my computer recently crashed). Can I still enter the function.php somehow and remove the code?
    Or does my hosting company have access to those files?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can still access your site using an FTP client. After connecting to your site navigate to /wp-content/your-theme-folder/functions.php file and edit it.

  20. Sarah says:

    I downloaded Filezilla and it came with a browser hijacker. Do not download it.

  21. david says:

    what is the
    host name, username, password and port number as seen on the filezilla platform?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      These values will be provided by your web hosting provider when you set up your account. You can also get these details from your web hosting control panel. The hostname is your server’s location, and username and password are your FTP login credentials.

  22. George says:

    The important things missed in this tutorial are:
    What are the host ftp, username, password and port number to be used with Word Press.
    Without these information, FileZilla can not transfer your files.
    Large file transfer presents a problem. Usually the server will cut off the transfer if your files would take to long time to transfer. To reduce the size of your file, you have to apply some file compressor program before you use FTP. For example the video files are usually very large and need to be compressed before you can use FTP to transfer them.

  23. WPBeginner Staff says:

    You are not supposed to be editing the core WordPress files. You can edit your posts and pages using WordPress admin area. Or if you want to change something in your theme then you can do that in Appearance -> Customize section.

    If you still must edit the files using FTP then first make sure that you have a complete backup of your WordPress site.

  24. moojapk says:

    how long it will take to save wordpress through fillazilla in computer

  25. Brian C Whiteman says:

    I have been looking for an hour for an answer..
    What file in FileZilla holds the pages that are installed on my site?
    I want to edit something on a page that I can’t seem to edit in my wp editor.

  26. WPBeginner Staff says:
  27. Eric says:

    So I dl’d FileZilla but I’m confused about the ‘host’. All I did was hop onto and started my blog, but I don’t have any of the initial emails because I did it a while ago. Is wordpress my host? Or are people using other parties to “host” their sites?

  28. Lindsay Hoffman says:

    I am still confused. I logged into FTP but now I am trying to fix the problem. What happened is I tried to put an ad from google adsense into a different sidebar by putting code into my website. That created a syntax error and now I am locked out.

    This website says you can delete a file and hopefully you saved the original. But I didn’t save an original so what do I do. How do I find the spot where I put the code and be able to just delete that select area out so I can get my site back?

    The video doesn’t say that.


  29. WPBeginner Staff says:

    Wampserver is used to test WordPress on your local windows PC. You do not really need an FTP client to copy paste files in WampServer. You can just go to the /www/ directory in WAMP install folder and paste WordPress files there. See our guide on how to install WordPress using WAMP.

  30. abc says:

    I have installed word press now i have to upload files to server. Im using wamp server. How will i upload files n start using wordpress. Basicaly im a bit confused by the term file uploadinh on server

  31. WPBeginner Staff says:

    You can try this FTP like file manager for WordPress.

  32. Robert V Hatcher says:

    I have a webcam and software and I want to ftp images directly to my wordpress site. I can successfully upload them to /mysite/wp-content/uploads but they don’t show in the Media folder. What am I doing wrong?

    • WPBeginner Staff says:

      Files uploaded directly to the uploads folder are not actually uploaded by WordPress so it doesn’t recognize them. When you upload a file using WordPress media uploader, WordPress generates thumbnails for the file, stores file name, and allows you to even store additional details. Manually uploaded files do not go through this process so WordPress has no thumbnails for them and has no record of them in the database.

  33. Ben P says:

    Hey WP Beginner,

    I found this article while looking up how to use a ftp to edit WP files. This makes sense but what I really want is to figure out how to update my theme without losing my changed options and editted css files.

    My theme creator says, ” please install the zipped theme file in the regular way on your wp admin. Then go to your ftp and change the language files if you need. Or unzip the theme and copy-paste your language files, then zip it with WinRAR. Finally install and activate via your admin.”

    So I have installed the new theme but when I activate it all of the options reset to default and my edited css is gone. I’ve searched through your site for an article on this subject but I can’t find anything on updating themes without losing edits.


    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Ben once you have uploaded your theme to your website and activated it, you can then edit individual files using FTP. For example after uploading and activating your theme you can download style.css file to your computer make changes to it and upload it back to your server. The FTP client will tell you that a file with the same name already exists what do you want to do? Click on onverwrite and this should work.

  34. Amol says:

    hi i have build my wordpress site locally on localhost & i want to upload that site to server i dont know how to do this please help me i am a new to wp

  35. Dan says:

    Beginner question! I am totally new to all of this and appreciate all of your videos and lessons. Thank you.

    Can you help me understand something?

    – Can I use EITHER WordPress admin OR an FTP client to do things like install a theme or plugins, work on files, etc.?

    – Can I install a theme via the admin panel and then later connect via FTP and work on the files, etc.?

    Basically, I am trying to figure out if it is either WordPress Admin OR FTP or if I can use either depending on my mood. : )

    – Finally, are there any specific advantages to using one over the other?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Editorial Staff says:

      1. Yes, you can either or.

      2. Yes you can install a theme in the admin panel and later use FTP to work on files.

      The rule of thumb we follow:

      Use WordPress admin to do updates // install plugins // write articles
      Use FTP to modify files (i.e add snippets to functions.php etc)

  36. Peter says:

    Cyberduck is a great client and can be used under Windows too ;)

  37. Janelle says:

    Good stuff…Thanks

  38. Prabhakar Msihra says:

    Nice One :). Was looking for the same thing, lucky to find it here

  39. md.ikhtiar says:

    nice video. thanks brother.

  40. hillers54 says:


    Hi Mr Beginner – not heard of WS_FTP.

    Notice you are using Pro.

    Does that mean it is not free?

  41. wpbeginner says:

    @hillers54 Yeah filezilla is neat… WS_FTP has pretty much all SFTP / SSH settings as well. I love the UI for WS_FTP.

  42. hillers54 says:

    Nice one – love the video.

    Now I can put a face to these articles.

    Agree, you must have FTP to get access.

    One thing to mention about Filezilla – they have a couple of secure FTP settings, which my host supports.

    Worth using Filezilla just for that.

  43. incription says:

    Beautiful written article, thanks for taking your time and sharing this wonderful article.

  44. water heater says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this one to us.

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