Upload GEDCOM file to server

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These notes relate to Windows.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used to transfer files from one computer to another. It doesn’t care if the computers are in adjacent rooms, or half way across the world. In this example your computer (the “client”) will send files to your ISP’s computer (the “server”).

Don’t worry about the details of how it works, or what the ephemera are. But you will need an FTP utility, so for purposes of demonstration, we will use FileZilla. If you go to http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/filezilla and click on the green “download” button, you can get a copy of the FileZilla utility. Double click on the file name, and install it.

Fire up the utility, and you will get a blank screen. Some notes indicate what you might expect to see as we progress.

Figure 1

Now to set up the connection to the server.

When you signed up with your ISP, you would (should!) have been given details of how much space your subscription will allow you, and the “address”. Maybe you got nothing (not all ISPs are generous, and want to charge you for server space.)

For the most part, it will look like ftp.yourcompany.com.au – for example, yours might be ftp.users.bigpond.net.au or ftp.optus.net.au. Don’t take my word for it – you need to check your own situation. Contact your ISP, just to be safe.

Assuming that you have read the documentation, click on Button A to set up an account with your server. The work area will look like this (without the infill details, of course!)

Figure 2

If your ISP has not given you a password, you can be an “anonymous” user. This is a bit of a hangover from the 1990s, and is rarely used today.

Click on New Site, and work your way down the right-hand side of the dialog box. Save and Exit, and you should be ready to go. Your user entry must be the name you log in to your ISP with.

Click the down arrow next to Button A, and select your server. Things in the Action box should buzz along – watch it carefully, and make sure you get positive feedback, like “connected” and so on. The simplest sign of success is that you will get some details in the server pane.

Figure 3

Uploading a GEDCOM

Now you’re ready to shift some files. The process is “drag and drop” – click on a file or folder in the left (“client”) directory pane, hold down the mouse button, drag the info to the right (“server”) pane, and let the button go. The original file on your computer will transfer to the server, and the original file on your computer will *not* be affected.

The same thing can happen in reverse – you can drag a file from the server back to you (the client


FileZilla comes with a Help file, so if you absolutely must read it, feel free.

A few cautions…

Sometimes the FTP connection will be interrupted. A good utility will have a recovery process, so if you note a disconnect, take a couple of breaths, and the system should organize itself and re-connect. Watch what is happening in the Action window.

If you receive a Receive error: blocking call cancelled message, then check whether passive mode transfers are enabled or disabled. If they are enabled, disable them. If they are disabled, enable them. You can find the checkbox for 'Use Passive Mode Transfers' looking under Firewalls in Edit/Settings. For normal use, most people have passive mode transfers enabled.

FileZilla is not the only utility. Most are free (Cute FTP and so on). If you have Microsoft Front Page installed with extensions, you can FTP directly from there.