Wondering how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress site? No worries, we’ve got this covered. File Transfer Protocol or FTP is a pretty simple way of uploading files like media, themes, or plugins directly to your WordPress hosting.

What is FTP?

File Transfer Protocol, in short FTP, is a method for transferring files between a client and server on a computer network.

You can upload your WordPress files to your server to install WordPress for your domain. You can also use FTP to upload and download other files such as themes, plugins, media and so on.

Why do you need FTP?

Now you might be thinking why to use FTP when you can upload any files using WordPress regular uploader option.

Sometimes, when you can’t upload files using regular WordPress upload feature in the back-end, FTP is simply the best option to handle that process.

Not matter whether you are trying to upload bulk large size images that exceed your upload limit, or trying to install many plugins at the same time, FTP might be an easier way than doing it through WordPress dashboard.

Then again,

FTP is not used for uploading files only, but also for downloading or deleting them. Sometimes, you might get in trouble after installing a new theme or plugin and you can’t even log in to your admin area to solve the issue.

What’s the best way then?

Well, you can simply access your WordPress hosting using FTP, navigate to theme or plugin directory and delete the theme or plugin that caused the issue. or Restore your WordPress files from a previous backup.

Very simple. Isn’t it?

So, How to Use FTP to Upload Files to WordPress?

Usually, you will be able to upload common files with regular sizes through your admin panel. However, some WordPress hosting companies might have a limitation on bulk uploading from the dashboard.

Thus FTP is the best solution for anyone to bulk upload any files like themes, plugins, and images on their hosting.

Let’s learn how to do that.

Download an FTP client

First, download and install any FTP client for your computer type. You may try installing any of the following these:

We are using Filezilla to take screenshots for this tutorial. You will see the almost similar interface to any of those FTP clients. So, Let’s start connecting your FTP with the hosting server.

To use an FTP client and connect it to your web server, you need login credentials with proper access. If you do not have FTP login credentials, then contact your hosting service provider.

Get Your FTP Access

Usually, you have received your FTP client credentials while signing up for your hosting.

You can also look for the “FTP Accounts” option/link in your hosting account/dashboard. If you are using Bluehost, you may find FTP information under the Bluehost dashboard > Advanced > FTP menu.

If your hosting offers cPanel, you will find an option like this:

FTP Accounts in cPanel

Click on FTP accounts, on the next page, you will see a list of your FTP Accounts. Click on Configure FTP Client.

FTP Accounts list in cPanel

You will see manual settings like FTP username, server, and port info to configure your FTP client. To get the password, click on “Change Password” and reset your FTP password.

Configure FTP Client from cPanel

If you still can’t your FTP credentials, try adding a new FTP account or contact your hosting provider.

If you are ready now,

Connect your FTP with the Hosting Server

Open the FTP client and navigate to “File > Site Manager”. A new popup will appear where you can add the necessary information to connect to your hosting.

FTP Site Manager

Click on the “New Site” button and provide your website name.

FTP Site Manager New SIte

Now on the right-hand side, select FTP – File Transfer Protocol, enter your Hostname, port, username, and password to connect with your website.

FTP Site Manager Site Information

You can enter your domain name or IP address in Host name field, and Port is 21. However, this information may vary and you can get all the right information from your hosting provider.

If everything is good, click on the “Connect” button. FileZilla will save this info and will try to connect to your hosting.

A certificate popup will appear to confirm your connection with the hosting server. Mark the box as checked next to “Always trust certificate for future sessions” and click on the OK button to continue.

This certificate popup is usually shown when you are trying to make the connection to any server for the first time.

FTP Trust Certificate

Once connected successfully, you will see the list of files and folders of your website under the ‘Remote site’ column on your right-hand side.

Whereas, ‘Remote site’ on the right-hand side shows your website files, ‘Local site’ on the left-hand side shows all the files and folders of your computer.

FTP Local Site vs Remote Site

Upload your files to a Specific directory

To make this tutorial and show you an example, we will try uploading a plugin to our WordPress site, and activating it.

NOTE: WordPress requires certain file types to be uploaded and stored in certain location. For example, you should upload WordPress plugins to /wp-content/plugins, themes to /wp-content/themes location, and images to /wp-content/uploads.

Now, on the ‘Remote site’ column, navigate to the path /wp-content/plugins.

Select your plugin from the local site column. If the file is in a ZIP file, unzip (extract) it at first. Right-click on the plugin folder and select Upload.

FTP Uploading Plugin Files to WordPress

That’s it, you are done with the FTP part.

Activate your Theme or Plugin from Dashboard

Now, login to your WordPress admin area and navigate to Plugins >> Installed Plugins. You will see that your plugin has been uploaded successfully on your website.

Activating Plugin from WP Dashboard

Click on the “Activate” link to activate the plugin for your website.

Similarly, if you wanted to upload a theme to your WordPress site, simply upload it to /wp-content/themes and activate it from your WordPress admin area.

Download WordPress files using FTP

Not only uploads, but you can also download any files from your hosting using FTP. The process is very simple and easy.

Simply navigate to the directory where the folder/files are located from the “Remote-site” column. Right-click on it, and click on “Download”.

Downloading WordPress files using FTP

By this way, you can also backup all of your WordPress files. Select all the folders and files, right click on them, and click ‘Download’.

However, be noted that this is just the backup of your WordPress files which contains themes, plugins, and images only.

This backup doesn’t include your other contents like posts, pages, any kind of user information, and so on. You need to also perform database backup to back up those contents.


I hope this guide helped you learn how to use FTP to upload files to your WordPress site.

If you liked this tutorial, feel free to share it on social media with your friends and fellows.

If I missed anything, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Avatar for Muhammad Tamzid

Muhammad Tamzid, the founder of WPTechnic, is a WordPress Enthusiast with a passion to help beginners learning WordPress. Also managing WPrevival, a 24/7 WordPress Website Development, Maintenance & Security Service company.


  1. Avatar for Dan

    Cyberduck is a great client and can be used under Windows too 😉

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