How to Download Files to Your Computer With an FTP Program

by Contributor

You can download files to your computer using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program. FTP refers both to an Internet protocol as well as to the name used for software applications that perform this function. With FTP, you can download software, music files or any other type of digital information.

Install an FTP software program on your hard disk. Open the program.

Enter the host address in the text box provided.

Enter whatever passwords or IDs have been provided if this is an anonymous login. For example, you may have been asked to login as "guest" and use your e-mail address as the password.

Enter whatever password and ID you have arranged with the remote administrator if it is not an anonymous login.

Click Connect to establish a connection. When the connection is established, the window on the right side of the screen represents the remote site.

Move through the remote folders until you locate the file that you want to download, and select the file.

Move through your hard disk (the window on the left side of the screen) until you have opened the folder that is to receive your new file.

Select the remote file on the right window, and drag it to the window on the left. Most FTP programs allow you to download files this way. If your software does not allow this method, consult the help file to see how to start the download. When the download is complete, you will find your new file in the location that you specified.


  • check If the FTP administrator has set permissions, the public can download files using what is called Anonymous FTP. In this case, you will not require any specific login information, or you may be invited to log in as "guest" or by entering your e-mail address.
  • check If permissions are not set to Anonymous FTP, then you will need a user ID and password to access the file or the site.


  • close To avoid "losing" the file after it is downloaded, take note of its name and location on your hard disk. You can find it later using the Run command or by using the Find function.

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