As an example, here are some basic instructions for using a popular FTP program called WS_FTP (http://www.ipswitch.com/downloads/index.html). Most configuration for other FTP programs will be similar.
When you open WS FTP, the first window you will see is called Session Properties. The fields that must be completed are:
Profile Name: Any name you wish to supply as a nickname to this particular web site account. If you are going to be connecting to more than one site, you will want to assign each setup a distinctive name.
Host Name/Address: Your domain name. e.g., domainname.com
Host Type: Should be set to Automatic detect or UNIX [standard].
User ID: Your username is generated and emailed to you once your account is processed.
Password: Your password
When the fields are filled in correctly, click the "OK" button at the bottom left side of the Session Properties window, or press the "enter" or "return" key on your keyboard. Selecting "OK" begins the login process.
You will likely see a series of commands scrolling by in the box at the bottom of the main WS FTP window. This is the program sending commands to the web server, verifying username and password, etc. When you are logged into your account, the two windows in the program will display a list of files. The window on the left, "Local System", is displaying files on your personal computer. The window on the right, "Remote System", displays the files in your account on the web server.
In order to upload files to your site, the first thing you will have to do is locate the files you wish to upload in the left window. You do this in one of two ways:
Double click the green arrow in the upper left of the Local System window until the box directly above the window reads: "C:". At that point you will be in the root directory of your computer, and you can then select the folder which contains the files you want to upload. Double click the yellow directory folders to open them.
If you know the path to the files you wish to upload, you can click the ChgDir (change directory) button to the right of the Local System window and type in the path manually.
The Remote Host window opens by default to the root (main) directory of your site. The yellow folders in the Remote Host window are directories in your web server space. In order to upload files to the root directory, you need not change anything in the Remote Host window. In order to upload files into a different directory, you must first open that directory by double-clicking on the yellow folder representing the directory.
When you have made your way to the files to be uploaded in the Local Host window, and have the destination directory in the Remote Host window, the next step is to select which files you want to upload to the web server. This works just like selecting files in most applications; that is, one click on the left mouse button to select a file. To select a group of files, left click on the first file of the group, move your cursor over the last file of the group, press and hold the "shift" key on your keyboard, then left click on the last file in the group and release the shift key.
Below the Local Host and Remote Host windows you will see radio button selections for "ASCII", "Binary" and "Auto". These are file transfer modes, and for most files, Binary, or Auto is the appropriate selection. However, if you are uploading CGI scripts it is very important that you do so in ASCII mode. Scripts uploaded in binary mode will not function properly. Therefore, files with .cgi or .pl extensions must be uploaded in ASCII mode.
When the files and transfer mode are selected, you transfer them to the web server by clicking the -> button between the Local Host and Remote Host windows. In order to download files from the web site to your computer, simply reverse the process by clicking the <- button.
When you see your files listed in the Remote Server window, they are on the web server and available to anyone who visits your site. You can view/test the new files in your browser as soon as they are on the server.