How to Use FileZilla with WordPress to Upload or Download Files

WordPress is the most advanced platform to create blogs and websites. It allows you to share your content easily and upload your files including images, files, and more with a single click. But, sometimes you need an FTP client to access your blog and, add, delete, or even, edit what you want.

Today, I’ll show you how to upload images or any other files including plugins and themes to WordPress using Filezilla. It’s the most popular FTP client to upload files to WordPress and manage them exactly, the same when you manage files on your Laptop, but a little more different in the interface.

To use FileZilla with WordPress, you need to download it first. It’s free and open-source software that allows you to upload files to your site directory using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This protocol is similar to the HTTP protocol, but it works in the inverse direction.

With HTTP, you download files to the browser, but with FTP, you upload files to the server or website.

In our case today, the question is how to upload to WordPress using FileZilla? If you have Filezilla installed, then skip this step. If not yet, you need to download the FTP client from Filezilla. It’s different from ”FTP server”, you need to upload files. So, download only the client version from their official website, as the screenshot below:

FileZilla Client

You just need to use Filezilla for Windows, Mac, or Linux, it’s better to download the appropriate version that will be fast, so, click on Download if you want or on the ”Show additional download options” link like the below screenshot.

How to Download FileZilla

After downloading Filezilla, open it and enter your FTP details, to access your site directory.

If you’ve lost your FTP details, check the first registration email that you’ve received from your hosting provider.

I recommend keeping Filezilla on your computer, you may need it later to fix a problem with your site, in fact, updating WordPress with plugins and themes can break the site, so, there is no way to fix that problem without having fast FTP access to the right files.

Connect to WordPress using Filezilla the first time

To start a new connection on Filezilla, click on the bottom located at the top left area of the interface, just like the next screenshot. You can use it later to quickly connect and choose a website if you have many.

Starting a connection on FileZilla

Here is how to connect to WordPress with Filezilla, the following is a clear screenshot I created, that way, you can learn how to add the FTP detail without being confused. The steps for connection are next (you can open the photos in a new tab if you want to zoom in just click on it).

Connecting to WordPress using FTP

  1. First, click on the New Site button, you can name that site connection to use later and connect without adding the log in detail again.
  2. Make sure the type of connection checked is FTP (it will be selected by default)
  3. Add your FTP hostname, it’s your website the subdomain, or use your share IP address if you’re using shared hosting, or add your VPS IP if that’s the case.
  4. Option, most Port numbers of the FTP connections is 21, or check with your web host or leave it. For SFTP, secure FTP, it can be 22.
  5. The other options, you don’t have to check them
  6. Now, you have the choice to click on Connect, but if you click on OK, you’ll just save that connection and it will appear next in the left area of the Filezilla interface, so, you can click on it and connect automatically this time.
  7. Now, you’re connected to WordPress through FTP

Understanding the Filezilla interface

Now, after connecting to your server with Filezilla, you get the below window. I’ve divided the Filezilla window into Three sections:

  1. Connection Area: You don’t have to edit anything, it’s just a window that shows the successful connection in green, and the failure in red colors.
  2. Your Local Files Area. This window is in Blue color. It’s where you can see the files on your computer, you can drag files from there and drop them in the distant area in Green color.
  3. Distant Files. This is the most important area, it shows your website or blog directory and files. All you have to do is to open the parent folder and find the place to upload files on it, like wp-content, and themes…

Upload Files to Wordpress using Filezilla

To upload files to WordPress, you just need to copy them from the left area in Blue color and paste them in the right area in Green. It’s like working on your local computer, but with extra files and remotely (blog files).

Start uploading images to WordPress

Let’s take the example, let’s say you’d like to upload photos to your WordPress site, what you need first is the FTP software, and if you’re sung Windows, use Filezilla, or CyberDuck for Mac users, personally, I think Cyberduck is faster in sending images to WordPress, even more, there is an option to send ZIP files.

So, This will fix the problem when someone wants to restore a website and upload the photos of a full month or a year altogether using a zip file, letter, there will be an option to unzip the uploaded folder into WordPress.

For our example, when you’re connected to your site, access the WordPress main directories by clicking the Htdocs, or www depending on your web hosting server configuration.

For cPanel users, you may find public_html which is also the location for all the site files. So, if you find any of these root directories, click on it and if you installed a single WordPress site on the root of your server, then, you’ll just see the folder we’re looking for wp-contentwp-admin, and wp-includes with other files.

We’re searching for in these files is the one called wp-content, double-click on it to open the subfolders.

opening the wp-content folder

Now,  you’ll get access to the folder of WordPress themes, plugins, and of course upload where your blog images are located.

"wp-uploads", "themes" and "plugins" folders

When you click on wp-uploads for example, you’ll get a list of folders named by the number of months, which is the default way that WordPress uses to organize images by months.

Look for the exact folder you want to upload to and drag and drop the local photo from your computer to the distant servers and watch the FileZilla status buttons flashing at the bottom of the interface with green and red colors. That means there is a transfer at that time, wait a few seconds or minutes, depending on the size of the files you’re sending to WordPress and then check your media file upload, you’ll find them.

You can open the local image folder on your computer and also resize the FileZilla window, so you have the two windows opened at the same time. Now, you can just select all the images from your local machine and drag and drop them to the WordPress folder located in your web server like this example.

sending images to WordPress through FileZilla

Follow the same steps to upload plugins or a theme to WordPress using free FTP software like FileZilla.

When you upload a folder, it will be transferred into files. So, you’ll notice buttons on the bottom left window in Filezilla, they give an idea about how many files are in progress, and others that have been transferred successfully.

If you can’t find or locate your themes, for example, you need to browse the files like this: your ‘‘blog directory”, then, ”wp-content”, and ”themes”.

As you can see, Filezilla is third-party software that brings your website files to the local machine and lets you upload files to your blog if you don’t have access to cPanel File Manager which is faster and better.

Please note that files will take some time to be fully uploaded, it may take hours if the file is as large as 100 MB, for example. So, be patient and never interrupt file transfer until it is finished automatically.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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