FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol", which is one method of getting a file from one location onto another location.There are many applications that will let you log into a web server to manage the remote files, some are great and some not-so-much. I recommend a free app like FileZilla for anyone who doesn't need to manage tons of sites and likes the price of free. For Mac users, I highly recommend Panic Transmit, which includes handy features like Amazon S3, favorites, and SFTP.
What you'll need to FTP into your website:
- FTP access URL, and sometimes a specific port number
- FTP Username and Password
- In come cases, a specific path to the files you want to access
When you're uploading, downloading or editing any files that are on your website, keep in mind that you may be in the LIVE website files. Changes you make via FTP are reflected on the website immediately. In most cases, with a good Content Management System, there's no need for a website administrator to manage their site via FTP.
Whenever possible, it's ideal to use SFTP over standard FTP. When you connect via FTP, connection credentials are sent as plain text which can potentially be seen by others. SFTP will ensure your data is kept secure.