Connecting To A Remote Machine

To open a connection to a remote machine, click on Server on the Menu Bar at the top of the FTP window, then click on the Open option. This will produce a window titled Connect To Server.

You then need to specify a remote machine. To do this, type in its DNS address in the box labelled Server (eg DO NOT click on the Connect button yet.

When you connect to a remote machine, you will always be asked for a user ID and password. Some FTP programs may have dialog boxes and text entry boxes where you can enter your username and password before pressing connect (typically, if you don't specify them, you will be asked anyway !). For example, on PCs running PC-NFS FTP, you specify a remote machine in the box labelled Server, then you key in your User ID and Password in the appropriate boxes (your password will be hidden). NB: whenever you enter your password into a dialog box it will not be displayed OR hashes ( # ) or asterisks ( * ) will be displayed to keep it safe from prying eyes.

Now click on the Connect button in the Connect To Server window. On successful connection, this should produce some information into the remote server's area on the right side of the FTP window.

Anonymous FTP

There are many remote machines on the Internet which allow public access for file transfer purposes. You will be able to retrieve files from these FTP servers.

To do this, click on Server on the Menu Bar at the top of the FTP window, then click on the Open option in order to again produce the window titled Connect To Server. You may have to search a couple of menus (just click on them to view their contents) if you do not have a Server option. This should work for both Mac and PC users !

Type in the Servername, check the Server Type if you need to, and click in the box marked Use Anonymous Login or Anonymous Login. Finally, click on the Connect button (typically located on the right of the dialog/text entry boxes.

In general, the first course of action for public users will be to move into the public directory of the server (/pub), but sometimes you will be defaulted to that directory when logging in.

An Anonymous FTP Site

The ExPASy Molecular Biology server (University of Geneva) allows public FTP access from which we can retrieve pictures of molecules. The DNS address for the server is

The image files are in the /pub/Graphics/IMAGES/GIF directory. The files in this directory have the .gif extension (or suffix) to convey that they are in the GIF image format. You can try retrieveing one of these files if you like.

NB 1: Go through the retrieval procedure as efficiently as possible in order to avoid congestion for the server that you access. This means: when you have finished downloading all the files you want - logout from the server ! Then someone else may connect.

NB 2: All modern browsers are able to display files in GIF format (denoted by filename extension or suffix '.gif'). Mosaic Users: Some older versions of Mosaic do so by invoking the image viewer software called LVIEW (which can also display files in JPEG format, whose extension might be '.jpg' for example). If you want to view the image you have retrieved, click on File on Mosaic's menu bar, then choose the Open Local File option. Specify your file (don't forget the drive) and click on OK.

Go To Next Page

Go To Previous Page

Go To Overview