Filezilla is one of the most popular free, open source FTP programs floating around on the web, and with good reason. Featuring a clean, dual-pane interface for quick access, Filezilla is a great FTP tool whether you're a new user learning the ropes of FTP or a seasoned netizen. Used for file sharing, backups, and uploading content to your websites, Filezilla is a remarkably versatile little tool. Here's a quick guide to setting up the Filezilla client, as well as a few basics for uploading and downloading material.
Filezilla's installation is a simple, no-nonsense affair, and once the program itself is set up, you'll be presented with Filezilla's basic interface. This is a top-mounted menu and toolbar with common actions, a connections manager for inputting server addresses and login details, a connections log, the two-pane file explorer for exploring your local file system as well as folders shared by the server, and the download queue pane where you can view active and pending download progress.
The first thing you'll want to do is to run the Network Connection Wizard, a handy guide to configuring your system and firewalls to let Filezilla through. This is accessed through the Edit>Network Configuration Wizard menu button.
The first thing the Network Connection Wizard will ask is your default transfer mode. With Passive mode (recommended), your system asks the server for a port and then connects to it. In Active mode, your computer opens a port and asks the server to connect to it. To keep things simple, stick to the recommended Passive mode, but leave the "Allow fallback..." checkbox on, letting Filezilla fall back to the other mode if the main transfer mode fails for some reason.
You will then be asked to configure your firewall to let Filezilla through. In this case, we're just on the default Windows firewall, so a quick trip to the Control Panel and a few checkboxes handles this step, though obviously this will depend on whatever firewall you're using. You may also need to open up Port 21 on your router if you use one (procedures vary per router model, so check your documentation).
In order to use Active mode, Filezilla needs to know your machine's IP address. Three options are available here: If your computer is directly wired to the internet (in other words, not connected to a router), then choose the first. If your computer is connected through a router and uses a static IP address, you can retrieve it from a site like whatismyip.com and then input it manually. Finally, if you have a dynamic IP, you can have Filezilla retrieve it at program startup. If you're unsure, it's best to let Filezilla handle the IP for you with the third option.
The last bit for the Network Configuration Wizard is configuring your port range for Active Mode. You can have Filezilla automatically ask the system for a port, or set the range of ports that Filezilla will ask to open from the system. You may have to configure your router to open all ports, or to open the selected range of ports in order to function properly.
Once that's done, the Network Connection Wizard will run a quick series of tests in order to test the network settings. If all goes well, your network settings should be properly configured to let Filezilla upload and download files whether in active or passive mode.
That said, the network configuration can easily be a technical bottleneck, especially for less technically inclined users. If trouble is persistent, users may want to check out the active community in the Filezilla forums, as well as the Filezilla wiki's Network Configuration guide and FAQ for more clarifications and help in setting their configuration up.