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Transferring Files

At some point when working with your website or web developer you will need to transfer some files. From a developers point of view there is nothing worse than files coming at you from multipul sources, email, Skype file transfers, cloud services or snail mail to name a few. It makes managing a projects resources difficulty and error prone. So at the beginning of a project you will want to define a process upfront.

So what the best way to move files around?

Generally speaking no method is 100% reliable but that being said the best way is using FTP. FTP is short for File Transfer Protocol and is the standard method for working file across the internet.

How Does FTP work?

At at the developers or hosts side there is an FTP server and on the client side there is a client application that communicates with the server. There are three pieces of information you need to be able to connect

  1. Server address
  2. a user name
  3. a password

Your developer or host will provide this information. The client connects with the server using the address, username and password and if successful you can start transferring files.

What Clients are there?

if using Windows you can just type the FTP details into the file browsers location bar, watch the following video to see how.

All the above FTP clients are available for PC and Mac.

Constraints and considerations

There are few points to consider when transferring files across the internet.

File size

Files are getting larger all the time and transferring large files can take a long time and is not the same as copying a file from one folder to another on your computer. Transferring large files can create several issues

  • File transfer can start very quickly but slow to a crawl over time. The larger the file is more likely to slow to such an extent that the connection with the server could be lost
  • Loading large file when internt traffic is likely to be instance, for instance during the day and early evening will in all probability be very slow and in turn suffer from not having a stable connection to the server
  • If the server can process Zipped files then it's better to zip your files before transferring, just make sure the file isn't hundreds of megabytes.
  • Transferring large files is best done over night when there is lest traffic on the internet ans servers
  • Another method would be to break the files down into manageable chunks.
  • or select the files/folders is unzipped files and upload the selected files onto the server.

Other considerations to think about are, and albeit your files may be non-optimized images, Downloadable files and storyboards/content, in the end these files in one form or another will be loaded onto your website and as most hosting accounts have a limited amount of space allocated to the account, which more often than not can't be increased. If you're using Amazon S3 you're going to pay for the storage and bandwidth used for uploading and downloading the files, and lastly end-users are going to download this materials and it could adversely impact on the sites performance In a recent survey at CSSTricks on page weight there was general consensus that 500k was an average page weight that could be accessed in a reasonable amount time and without adversely impacting on performance. This is up form 100k which was the previous standard. So the more files and images on a web page the slower the web page is to deliver to the client. More information on page weight can be found using the following links: Google: Let's make the web faster Dyn: What’s An Ideal Page Weight? Another good service for transferring large files is wetransfer. Wetransfer is a website where you upload your files and then tell the system, who to send the file link. We Transfer also provides a dashboard informing you if the recipients have downloaded the file.

Links:

Upload/Download calculator.http://www.numion.com/calculators/time.html

Filezilla http://filezilla-project.org/

ExpandDrive: http://www.expandrive.com/ looks and behaves like a local hard drive.

Webdrive http://www.webdrive.com/products/webdrive/index.html, looks and behaves like a local hard drive.

We Transfer https://www.wetransfer.com/