Your website–just like all of the internet–is made up of pages of code. Those pages get filed into folders so we developers can keep everything neat and tidy.
It’s your internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari,
hopefully not Internet Explorer) that translates those thousands of lines of code to an interactive and good-looking website.
So to change the look of your website, your developer will need to change the code. FTP is how we access the code that your website is made of.
FTP is basically the filing cabinet of your website.
Just in case you are curious: FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.
When we can log in via FTP, we can access your code, make super quick changes on our computers and upload the edited code instantly. It makes our work way easier, and makes updates really fast for you.
If you’re DIYing your website, FTP access is definitely something you’ll need too.
Why does your developer need FTP access?
#1. So they can build your website
Your developer can build your site on their own computer, and then send it to you in a way where you can set it up yourself through WordPress, but this process takes a lot longer, and there are always unforeseen tweaks and adjustments that will need to be made…which can’t be done without FTP access anyway.
#2. So they can fix your website
With many hosts, you can actually edit the code right through your WordPress dashboard. Even though it’s available, THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Literally one period in the wrong place and your entire website will be inaccessible. Leaving you at the mercy of your hosting company to be in a good enough mood to try to help you out for the next hour.
If it’s being edited properly though, via FTP, the problem can be fixed in about 2 seconds.
This also applies to plugin problems too, those can sometimes break or damage your site, but if one has FTP access, it can be fixed in a few seconds.
What can they access with FTP?
When you share your FTP login, they can only access your WordPress themes, plugins, and the code that makes up WordPress itself.
Your content (posts, images, comments, etc) is NOT available via FTP. It does NOT give access to any personal or sensitive information, including email or any other login information or passwords or any billing information.
So should you share it with them? Yes, as long as you are trusting them with your website, definitely yes. If you’re uneasy about sharing it, there are a couple things you can do:
- Ask them to hop on a video chat with you.
You can get to know them a little better when you see each other face-to-face, and they can answer any questions or concerns you might have.
- Take a backup of your website or blog first.
Backup Buddy is a great premium (paid) backup service. I recommend it because it’s super easy to use, and reliable (both of those are pretty hard to find in a free plugin).
What are FTP credentials?
The credentials your developer will need are:
- Server (sometimes listed as Hostname or Host)
How do you give your developer FTP access?
Where you find the information is different for each host. Click on your host below to see the instructions for getting the FTP login credentials:
Click here for instructions (option 2 under “Locating your FTP login credentials”)
Click here (you only need step 1)
- Log in to SiteGround.
- Click on “My Accounts”
- Click the red button that says “Go to cPanel”
- Then follow SiteGround’s instructions here
The instructions are here.
The instructions are here.
Other hosts with access to cPanel
The instructions are the same as for SiteGround here.
Then just send those details to your developer and they will be able to access your files safely!