FTP (File Transfer Protocol) has been around for a long time, in fact it was in use before we had a world wide web.

If you have a website that you upload files to using FTP then you are already well on your way to understanding this stuff. If on the other hand you have never worked with FTP then the initial problems you may encounter can seem insurmountable.

To be able to upload images from your webcam you must first have a web site that allows FTP. Virtually all web hosting company's that you pay for have FTP available. Many of the free hosting services such as Geocities or Anglefire will allow FTP to the site. If you have an Internet provider that gives you web space, then you can most likely FTP to that account.

When you first set up a web site, you are usually given the settings you would need to FTP files to that site. This includes 3 prices of information.

  1. FTP address
  2. username
  3. password
Additional items which may be included but are fairly rare for standard websites are In some of the following examples I am using my site and Geocities as examples. Please don't bother either of these FTP servers. You won't get in and your IP address will be logged. Repeated attempts will get you reported for attempted hacking. I am only using these servers for my example.

The FTP address is sometimes the same as your website. For example
Sometimes there might be an ftp in front like this
or even
it all depends on how the company hosting your website has it configured. This information will be or would have been given to you when you signed up for your website.

AOL also allows FTP to personal sites but their setup is a bit different. First you have to be logged into your AOL account before you can gain access through an FTP client.
The FTP server address is "members.aol.com",
user name is "ftp",
password is "(your aol name)@aol.com"
(Thanks to "Andrew" for verifying this info.)

It is usually best to use an FTP client to connect to your site but you don't have to have one. In fact even Windows Explorer will work. In the address bar type ftp://YourAddress.com (substituting your correct address)
You should get a login box asking for your username and password. If you enter the correct information, you will get a listing of the files and directories on your site. To FTP a file to or from your site just drag it into or out of the Explorer window to your computer.

My favorite FTP client is called FileZilla. This is a free program that is open source software. It's constantly being updated and improved.

Trouble Shooting

It doesn't work, now what?
The most common problems

Incorrect Address, username or password. The number one reason for trouble.

If you are having problems with your application connecting to an FTP site you can use a command or DOS prompt to test your settings.

  1. At the Command prompt type ftp youraddress.com and press enter (substituting your correct FTP address).
    If you are connecting correctly you will get a username request line.
  2. Type your username and press enter then your password and enter.
  3. Read the screen. If you are not logged in, you will see some kind of error message explaining why.
  4. Type dir and press enter and you should get a file and directory listing of the location in your account where you are logged in.
  5. When you are finished you should type bye and hit enter. This should log you out.

Note: Be careful what you type in this window. Unless you are well versed in using FTP, use this procedure only to check for problems. Type in or delete the wrong thing and you could screw up your account.

Wrong directory. The number two reason for problems.

If you appear to be uploading a file, but then can't find it, make sure you are looking in the right place. Many times the directory you are placed into when you log in via FTP, is not the same directory you first encounter when you open your website from a web browser.

Using the command prompt method described above, try getting a directory listing. Or use the FTP function in Windows Explorer as described above. If the file you just uploaded shows in the directory listing but not on your website, you probably are not in the correct directory. Adjust your webcam software to include the correct directory and try again. The specific method varies with the webcam software brand so you have to read the instructions.

Write access. The number three reason for problems.

A common problem many people have when trying to upload a page or picture is that even though you appear to be logged in properly, when you try to upload the image, either nothing happens, or it appears to work but then you can't locate the file on the website.

Make sure you have write permission to the directory you are trying to upload the image to.

For example when I log into my FTP account on my website, I am placed into a root directory one level above my actual website's location. I don't have write access to that directory so nothing will upload to it. I have to upload to my html directory to be able to store a file.

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