It's Sean!

UK freelance journalist, author
and writer Sean McManus

Printed from © Sean McManus.
Home > Articles > Webmaster resources > FTP in IE

Using Internet Explorer as a free FTP client

If you're looking for a free FTP client, you might be surprised to learn you've already got one: Internet Explorer can be used to upload files to your website using file transfer protocol (FTP). It's particularly useful that it's installed on most computers, so if your site needs updating at short notice, you can edit it without any additional software on the nearest PC.

You will need:

These are the details you've been provided with for uploading content to your webspace. The user ID might be called a username and the server address might be described as the FTP address for your hosting space. They will most likely not be the same as the username and password you use to access your email.

Here's how to use them.

Method one: slower, but more secure

This method is slower than the alternative below, but it does not expose your password to anyone else looking at the screen. Use this method if you're in a public place.

Method two: faster, but less secure

This method is a lot less hassle, but your password will be visible on screen, so I can't recommend this for use in public.

Moving files around

Once you've logged in using one of the two methods above, the IE window will look like a folder on your desktop. Now you can drag files into it from your desktop and they will be uploaded to your server. Download files from your FTP space by dragging them from the IE window to your desktop. Right-click in the IE window to open the menu for creating folders on your server


Internet Explorer is ideal for making quick fixes (especially if you need to quickly update your website while on the move), but it's not really a complete FTP solution. There's no feedback, so it's not uncommon for the software to apparently hang while it's uploading large amounts of data. It also seems to be much slower than dedicated FTP clients.

If it's not working for you, check your settings in IE. Go to Tools / Internet Options / Advanced and make sure that 'Enable folder view for FTP sites' is turned on.

IE is useful for quick edits and management of small starter websites, but you'll want to progress to a dedicated FTP application as your site grows. I can recommend CuteFTP, but there are many other FTP clients available which I haven't tried.

Books by Sean McManus

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Learn to program with the Scratch programming language, widely used in schools and colleges.

Set up your Pi, master Linux, learn Scratch and Python, and create your own electronics projects.

Coder Academy

Coder Academy

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Learn to make games and other programs in Scratch 2.0, and make a web page in HTML, with this highly interactive book for 7-10 year olds.

Discover how to make 3D games, create mazes, build a drum machine, make a game with cartoon animals and more!

More books

Recommended articles

Stylised coloured photo of a synth

Discover my music and home recording articles

Interested in starting home recording? Follow me as I start recording, using instruments such as the Novation MiniNova and Korg Kaossilator, and share my synth and sample-based music online.

Scratch cat and rainbow circle

10-block demos for Scratch programming

Lots of people of all ages are learning to program with Scratch. Discover some useful tricks and techniques in my 10-block Scratch demos, including special effects you can drop into your games.

Paper Raspberry Pi case

Download free book chapters and more!

Download a free case for your Raspberry Pi, and free chapters from my books about the Raspberry Pi, Scratch, web design and more!

©Sean McManus.