File transfer via FTP to

The transfer of files to and from is accomplished via SFTP (Secured File Transfer Protocol) with a supported SFTP client. Follow the download links below for Windows (WS_FTP Professional ) or OS X (Fetch) and consult the subsequent instructions to configure your FTP client. Alternatively, you can also use Dreamweaver, which is commercially available software that can be purchased at the Computer Connection for an educational discount.

Related Resources

Penn Web Developers

One of the most common uses of FTP has been to retrieve or download software, large documents, graphics, or sound files from software vendors' sites or public archive sites on the Internet. Though FTP downloads are still available, many resources that used to be available via FTP have now migrated to the Web. For example, Penn's supported software can now be downloaded directly from the Supported Products site on the Web rather than by using an FTP client program like Fetch or WS_FTP. FTP is also used to upload files to a host computer on which an individual has an account. Web information providers, for example, typically FTP files to the servers on which their sites are located.

Important: Be aware that any software you download from a remote source could be infected with a computer virus or other pernicious program. Protect your data by installing up-to-date antiviral software on your computer. The University makes available antiviral software for Windows machines and Macintoshes at no charge. For information about obtaining the current versions of this software, check Penn's site devoted to virus information or speak to your Local Support Provider (LSP) or residential Information Technology Advisor (ITA).

Secure and anonymous FTP

FTP operates in two modes: secure and anonymous. In secure mode, authorized users must specify an ID and password to retrieve ("get") files from, or send ("put") files to, remote computers. In anonymous mode, "guests" can log on to servers storing files available to the Internet public in order to transfer those files to their own machine or account. You can access these sites by identifying yourself as a user named "anonymous" and entering your e-mail address as your password.

Using FTP client software

Once you're connected to the network, you can run easy-to-use FTP client software on your computer to transfer files between your desktop and a remote computer. The supported FTP clients at Penn are Fetch for Macintosh and WS_FTP for Windows PCs. Both provide graphical user interfaces for accessing and navigating FTP servers and hosts.

To initiate a file transfer, locate the command for making a new connection and simply specify the full Internet address of the host computer you wish to access. Then enter your account ID and password if you are accessing a secure service, or type anonymous and enter your complete e-mail address if you are logging on to a public server as a guest. You should then be connected to the server and able to navigate directories and retrieve and/or upload files. Some services at Penn may be using Kerberized FTP. Authorized users of such services must first obtain a Kerberos ticket, identify themselves using their PennKey and password, and then access the server using their FTP client. General information on working in a kerberized environment can be found on the PennKey web site.

FTP from within a Web browser

Many Web browsers have FTP capability built in and can be used to access and navigate FTP servers and hosts. If you click on an FTP resource on a Web page, a file transfer will be initiated automatically. You need not know the address of the resource, and you will be asked to identify yourself only if you are accessing a secure site. You can also use a web browser to navigate directly to an FTP site, directory, or file by entering its complete URL in the browser's location field and pressing Return. For FTP, the URL format is ftp://<site, directory, or filename> rather than http://<site, directory, or filename>. Note, however, that many people prefer to use FTP software rather than a browser because transfers initiated with FTP software are often faster. FTP software is also required to FTP to a Kerberized service; it is not possible to FTP to a Kerberized service from within a Web browser.

Getting usable files

Before you transfer a file, it is useful to know whether or not you can use it on your system. That means you have to know what application and computer platform (e.g., Macintosh or Windows) the file was written for. Documents or directories with multiple files are often combined into one "archive" file for ease of transfer, and large archive files are often compressed to reduce transfer time and disk space requirements. The standalone utilities StuffIt (Macintosh and Windows) and PKZip (Windows) are often used to provide file archiving and compression.

Clues to the platform, application, and archiver or compressor often come from file name suffixes, called extensions; from explanations in READ.ME files listed in the directory in which a file is stored; or from information on the Web page from which you access an FTP resource. The following are a few of the most common extensions and the formats they represent:

.exe Windows application or self-extracting archive

.gif Graphic Interchange Format

.html Document in HyperText Markup Language

.hqx Macintosh BinHex file archive

.jpg Joint Photographic Experts Group image format

.pdf Document in Adobe Portable Document Format

.ps or .eps Document in PostScript format

.sea Macintosh self-extracting archive

.sit Macintosh StuffIt file archive

.tar UNIX archive file

.txt Document in ASCII text format

.zip Compressed (zipped) DOS/Windows format

Unless a file is self-extracting, you need a copy of the appropriate archiving/compressing software to "unarchive" or "decompress" a file after transferring it. The supported software packages to accomplish this, Stuffit Expander for Macintosh and Windows, are available from the supported products Web site. Expander will automatically recognize and decompress most common compressed formats.

If you are navigating to a server (rather than clicking on a specific FTP resource from a Web page), it also helps to know ahead of time its general contents and how the server directories are organized. World Wide Web search engines can help you track down a topic or determine whether you are the audience for a file, group of files, or specific anonymous FTP file server.

FTP etiquette

Many FTP server administrators request that you not access their archives between 9 AM and 5 PM local time, to ensure that their own community has preferred access to local services. Please honor the request (assuming you can determine what the time is at that site).

Follow the steps below to configure SFTP transfers with Fetch to

  1. Launch Fetch 5.6. The New Connection dialog box appears.
  2. In the Hostname: field, enter an appropriate name for your connection (such as
  3. in the Username: field, enter your account name, usually the same as your PennKey username
  4. In the Connect using: dropdown menu, choose SFTP
  5. In the Password: field, enter your password on (Set you Local Password)
  6. If you are configuring to access a specific directory on, add the directory name after /usr/local/ftp/html/ in the Initial Folder: field. Otherwise, enter the complete URL of the directory that you are authorized to access.
  7. Leave the Port: field blank.

After completing the above steps, save the connection as a shortcut to quickly access origin.www by clicking the Shortcuts (heart) icon or by clicking on the Shortcuts menu:

  1. Click the Heart icon located at the top of the New Connection window.
  2. Select Make Shortcut... from the dropdown list.
  3. Enter an appropriate name for the shortcut (such as then click the OK button.
  4. When the New Connection window redisplays, click the Connect button.

Follow the steps below to configure SFTP transfers with WS_FTP Professional to 

  1. Launch WS_FTP Professional.
  2. From the Connections menu, choose New Connection... The Connection Wizard dialog box appears.
  3. In the Site Name: field, enter an appropriate name for your connection (such as, then click Next.
  4. In the Connection Type: dropdown menu, choose SFTP/SSH, then click Next.
  5. In the Server Address: field, type, then click Next.
  6. In the User Name: field, enter your account name, usually the same as your PennKey username
  7. In the Password: field, enter your password on (Set your local password)
  8. Click Next, then click Advanced... The Site Options dialog box appears.
  9. Click Startup on the left sidebar. For the Remote site folder, enter the directory to which you have access (for example, /usr/local/ftp/html/directoryname or /usr/local/ftp/[virtualhostname]/html/directoryname if you use a virtual host on Click OK.
  10. Click Finish to complete the profile.

Follow the steps below to configure SFTP transfers with Dreamweaver to

  1. Launch Dreamweaver.
  2. From the Site menu, choose Manage Sites... The Manage Sites dialog box appears.
  3. Click the New... button and select Site to define a new site, or highlight your existing site and click the Edit... button. The Site Definition for name of site dialog box appears.
  4. If you are in Dreamweaver CS4, click on the Advanced tab.
  5. Click Local Info in the left sidebar, and enter an appropriate name for the site (such as My Website) in the Site name: field.
  6. If necessary, set your Local root folder and Default images folder where you keep your local HTML and image files for your site.
  7. Click Remote Info in the left sidebar, and in the Access dropdown menu, choose FTP. Enter the following information accordingly: 
  8. FTP host:
  9. Host directory: The name of the web directory for which you have access (for example, /usr/local/ftp/html/directoryname or /usr/local/ftp/[virtualhostname]/html/directoryname if you use a virtual host on
  10. Login: Your account name, usually the same as your PennKey username 
  11. Password: Your password on (Set your local password
  12. [Ensure the Use firewall checkbox is unchecked (temporarily uncheck Use Secure FTP (SFTP) if the option is grayed out) 
  13. [Ensure the Use Secure FTP (SFTP) checkbox is checked]
  14. Click the OK button to dismiss the Site Definition dialog box.
  15. Click the Done button to dismiss the Manage Sites dialog box.
  16. You can now transparently upload or download files within Dreamweaver to Select Files from the Window menu (or press F8).
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Date Posted: March 27, 2013 Tags: Technical Info, Provider Resource, FTP, Web, Essentials

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