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FTP Access - Help

Uploading your files using FTP

There are numerous ways of moving files from your own machine to our BackOffice servers. A number of Web production tools (such as FrontPage and NetObjects Fusion) contain built in file transfer tools. These are well documented and since they all tend to rely on FTP as the basic transfer mechanism, we'll discuss it and suggest how to get a good tool for PC or Mac users. If you are having troubles getting the all-in-one programs to work, we would strongly suggest using a dedicated ftp program, as they are generally easier to use than a program trying to do too much for you.

FTP stands for File Tranport Protocol and it's a well-tested means of moving files from one machine to another even when they do not share the same operating system.

Basically what happens is that one machine (the client) contacts another (the FTP server) and, after the required authentication, the FTP server makes available its files to the client and the client (with permission) may upload files to the FTP server. Many FTP servers allow only one-way communication: downloads. For these, you can usually log-in as "anonymous" using your email as a password. If you have an account on a BackOffice server and want to build or edit your Web pages, then you will login with your standard user ID and user password. If you've done this, you can then also upload files to your work area.

Note: Whatever tool you use for uploading your web pages, bear in mind that you are uploading to a unix web server. This means that the case of your files and references (capitals in file names and such) is very important: picture.jpg and picture.JPG are different files to a unix server. Also, any references that look like <img src="c:\web page\images\picture.jpg"> will also not work, as there is no C: drive on unix systems. If you have a folder called 'images' in your web page directory, the above would be correctly specified as: <img src="images/picture.jpg">.

FTP Tools

The two tools we recommend (WS_FTP for PC users and Fetch for Mac users) both work in very similar ways. Although you can just establish a command-line link and type in FTP commands, this is extremely painful to learn. An FTP tool assumes you have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and gives you an easy way to transfer between your file system and the FTP server file system. Of course not all the the files on the FTP Server are visible to you, just those you have permissions to view (your home directory).

Basically there are three steps.

  1. Build a "Session Profile"
  2. Make the Connection
  3. Transfer Files



A session profile allows you to store information about a specific FTP server you are using. This includes its "address", your userID on the system, your password and (optionally) start-up directories on both your machine and the FTP server. As in a Phonebook, each entry can have its own name which you apply.

  1. Make a new entry and give it any name (e.g. "MyWeb at BackOffice").
  2. Under Host Name: enter the DNS name or IP number of the server you are wanting to upload to. For uploading your virtual server page, simply use
  3. Under Host Type: select Automatic detect
  4. Under User ID: enter your userID that was supplied in the introduction email that we have sent to you.
  5. Under Password: type in the password you use to login to your regular services. Note that this comes up in "protected" text. Check the Save Password box if your machine is fairly secure. If it's not secure then you can type in the password here each time you use this service or wait until you are asked for a password.

  6. For now, you can leave the other boxes empty. The FTP Servers at BackOffice will automatically start your connection in the right directory.

  1. If a New Connection didn't automatically come up when you opened Fetch, then choose 'New Connection' from the File menu.
  2. Fill in the fields as follows:
    User ID: your username (usually a "piw...")
    Password: Your password
    Directory: /home/piwusername/
  3. Click on 'OK'



You only need to do step 1 once. The next time you call up your FTP tool, the "Session Profile" for "MyWeb at BackOffice" is there and just needs to be selected.

However, you do need to make sure you are connected to the internet before running the FTP tool. Unlike some of the Mail packages, they won't automatically connect you if you're not already logged on.

And, if you're using FTP for your Web pages, now is a good time to fill in the Initial Directories. On the Local PC side, type in the folder path (e.g. "C:\myWeb") where you have your web files stored. On the Remote Host: side, type in "/home/piwusername/htdocs/" Then Save these changes and try it out. (On Fetch, just enter 'htdocs' for the Directory and it will ask where to put the files, or you can change this Customize/Preferences).

Note that when you make changes in the Session Profile, you should Save them otherwise next time you select this service it will revert to the original. If the FTP tool has an "AutoSave Config" check box and you turn this on, then it will perform the Save action for you. You can always move about once you are connected, on either the Remote Host or your own machine, so designating the Intitial Directories is not required, but can be a time saving option.

If you connect successfully, you will see a lot of FTP handshaking appear in the two lines above the Control Buttons. If everything works, you can ignore this as a legacy of the good old days when you had to type in a lot of this. If things don't work, this will let you track the cause of problems. Listed here are all the actions you take and the responses from the FTP Server.


Once you click on the 'OK' button, your Mac should automatically come up and dial into the internet for you. If it doesn't, then click 'OK' on the error message and switch to the Finder and open the connection to the internet as normal (using PPP, ConfigPPP, FreePPP or whatever). Then you can go back to Fetch and open the connection again.

Once the connection is made, you may wish to save the session so you don't have to type everything in each time. To do this, go under the Customize menu and select New Shortcut... Fetch will display a window with everything you previously typed in except for your password, which you can fill in if you don't wish to have to type it each time you connect to your server. You may also wish to give it a name under 'Name:') that is easy to remember.



Once you see the Directory and files on the FTP Server, you know you are connected.

There are two kinds of file transfer, ASCII and Binary. ASCII is for text and Binary is for graphics. Or, you can select Auto and the decision will be made for you, or raw for Fetch.

There are two arrows, which indicate the direction of the file transfer.

Note that these actions are irreversible. Once you transfer a file, it overwrites any file it finds with the same name and does not ask you if you want to do this. So be careful you pick the right direction if you've been updating files on the client machine.

Also note that most web-servers run on Unix, which is case sensitive. This is the opposite of most desktop environments. What this means is that if you refer to a file in your HTML called "Example.html", but the file is actually named "example.html", it will work just fine locally but will not work correctly once uploaded.


To upload your files, first double-click on the 'htdocs' folder to open that one up. This is where you put all your html files. There are two ways to transfer files up to the server: One at a time or serveral files all at once.

One at a time
Click on the Put File... button and select the file you want transferred. The next box asks what file format you want it transferred as. If you are transferring a text file, use text or raw data. Use raw data for pictures and images. The easiest is to use raw data for everything. Click OK and your file will show up in the listing window in Fetch.

Multiple files
Under the Remote menu, choose Put folders and files... In the top window, choose the file to upload and click on the Add button, or if you are in the folder that has your entire web site, you can click on 'Add All'. The files to be uploaded will show up in the lower window. If you make a mistake, you can click on the file in the lower window and click 'Remove'. Pretty straightforward. When you've got all the files you want to have uploaded, click on Done. You'll then get a box that asks what file format you want it transferred as. If you are transferring a text file, use text or raw data. Use raw data for pictures and images (the easiest is to use raw data for everything). Click OK and your file will show up in the listing window in Fetch.


    Name or Session
  • Profile:  Anything you like
  • Host:
  • User ID:   piwyourusername
  • Password:  Your usual password
  • Initial remote host directory: /home/piwusername/htdocs
  • Main page name:  index.html

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