How to Access an FTP From an iPhone

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As an IT professional it pays to be able to do things on the go--and in an age where the line between computers and smart phones is becoming thinner and thinner--IT professionals can accomplish more than ever with just the little tiny device at their side. In this article I will explain how a program for the iPhone allows me to do one thing I have to do at least three times a week: access an FTP site, edit a file and then check the changes. "FTP On The Go" by Headlight Software allows you to do all this and more!

Things You'll Need

  • iPhone
  • Data Connection, preferably Wi-Fi
  • an FTP site (from your web host or your own FTP)
  • FTP On The Go app (See Resources section for iTunes Link)
  • Go to the iTunes App Store and download FTP On The Go. At the time of this writing the cost is $6.99. Install the app.

  • Tap "Skip" to skip the tutorial when you first run FTP On The Go, since you're following this tutorial.

  • Enter the address, username and password for your FTP server. The format for the address is usually something like "ftp.domain.com," but may be different. Check with your web host for the correct address.

    Entering the port and path is optional.

    Tap "Connect" when you're ready. Hitting the plus sign will allow you to bookmark your ftp credentials and add more FTP servers.

  • Hit "Yes, Connect" if a message pops up saying that your connection is not secure. This screen will show what files are on your FTP.

  • At the bottom of the FTP window are several controls. The icon on the left lets you Refresh the page. The middle icon allows you to Sort by Name, Size or Date. The icon on the far right allows you to do all sorts of ftp commands such as Delete All Files, Upload a Picture, Create a File and Create a Directory.

  • Select a file by tapping on it and you will see a Green and a Blue arrow pop up next to it. You will also notice that the down arrow icon at the bottom that was once grayed out is now active. Tapping that icon will allow you to save the file to your iPhone. To view the files that are saved to your iPhone, tap "Saved Files" at the very bottom.

  • Tap the blue arrow. This will allow you to choose to Delete the file, Rename the file, Move the File or change the Permissions. The Permissions editor works just like a regular Unix/Linux CHMOD command.

  • Tap "Edit" and this will open the selected file on your iPhone so you can edit it. It will also save the file to your iPhone, so if it already exists in Saved Files it may give you a warning to see if you want to replace it. In the editing window you can tap on the text to open the iPhone keyboard and start typing away. The buttons on the bottom also allow you to change the Encoding of the file, Find/Replace text or "Go To" a specific line number in the code. Once you're done with your edits, hit "Save."

  • Tap "Web View" at the very bottom to preview your files with the built-in web browser.

  • The browser works just like any other web browser; just type the URL and go. However, if you tap the down arrow icon in the top right it will activate a special function that allows you to save any link you touch to the "Saved Files" on your iPhone.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can actually use FTP On The Go to turn your iPhone into a web server or ftp server. Just go to "Settings" at the bottom and scroll down to the "Sharing Saved Files" section. Slide the appropriate switches to "On" and it will give you an IP address that you can use to connect to the web server or ftp on the iPhone from another computer. Nice!
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