Looking around the web, it doesn’t take long for you to find free domain names, free hosting and free software such as Blogger or WordPress etc to create your own website. However, if you run or are involved in a website or have some of your own some server space, one of the things you might need to do quite often is use the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to upload files to the server.
Uploading can be done pretty easily and there are some nice FTP programs around such as the open source FileZilla. The programs are good, but if you just want to quickly upload a file or image it can be a bit of a pain going through FTP software just to do it. An obvious solution is to use a the right click context menu in Windows to do the work for you. Just right click on a file and click the send option in the menu, easy. Here’s a selection of ways you can achieve it.
1. SendTo FTP
SendTo FTP is almost as old as Windows XP but still actually works perfectly well with only one problem, which is you need to run the installer in compatibility mode when running from Vista or Win 7. To do that right click the setup.exe -> Properties -> Compatibility, tick the “Run this program in compatibility…” box and click OK. It will then install fine. To access the program settings, right click on a file -> Send To -> SendTo FTP.
In the window supply a profile name and add your FTP details, if you need to change Passive mode or firewall ports click the Options button. SendTo FTP maintains a list of frequently used hosts as profiles in the drop down box and can remember your user name, password and sub-directory for each one. Clicking OK will then upload your files. If you only have a single profile, you can enable automatic uploads without having to click OK or close the window afterwards by ticking a couple of boxes in Options. Multiple files can be selected but not folders. Tested and works on XP and Windows 7
2. Upload Express
Upload Express is quite an old program dating back to 2006, and as a consequence some of its functions don’t work such as the direct upload to YouSendIt and sending images to ImageShack. The official website has also gone, but the program still can upload one file at a time to FTP. After installation, when you right click on a file there will be a new context menu option for Upload Express where you can setup a new FTP entry to upload your files.
Create a new entry and enter your FTP settings in the window, then click to save them. Once that’s done, the new location will appear above Settings in the context menu. When you select a file for upload a progress window will popup letting you know about the upload progress.
As mentioned, the YouSendIt and Imageshack options don’t work but the FTP upload tested fine on Windows XP and 7.
RightLoad is certainly the most comprehensive FTP right click uploading program here and includes a wealth of other features to go with it. Also on offer is uploading to Facebook, Flickr, Imageshack, Imgur and VirusTotal by way of the included plugins and images can be automatically resized before upload or thumbnails can be created alongside the full size images.
There is also a portable version of Rightload but it doesn’t include the right click menu options so the installer is required. Open the program via the Start menu and go to Tools -> Options -> Servers tab -> New Server and enter your FTP details. The program creates 2 sets of context menu entries, one in the right click menu and another in the Send To sub menu and when you right click on the file(s) they can be queued up or sent immediately.
Drag and drop to the main window is supported and if several files have been added to a queue, they can be started off by clicking the Start Upload button. For a bit of added security to protect your logins, Rightload can be set up with a master password that will be required every time you use the program. Works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.
This is quite an easy to use program and is also portable which is handy, although it will obviously need to stay in the same location after configuration or the Send To menu entry won’t work. A function some users might like is the option to compress the file before upload, it can upload a single file or the contents of a single directory.
Run the executable and enter your FTP information, then click the Add FTP Server button to add it to the list. Multiple FTP servers can be configured and added to the list. Close the program and when you right click on a file, the option will be available as a shortcut from the Send To menu in the form of “Send to [host name] as [user name]”. A progress meter will show during transfer. The program is still a beta version and it does show a bit because we had 1 or 2 crashes during testing. Tested in XP and Windows 7.
5. Using Windows
You can easily configure Windows to set up your FTP as a network location and then upload files to it via the the Send To menu. The advantage is it requires no additional software although configuration options are limited. It may seem like a lot of steps, but is a quick method and only takes a few minutes to set up. Here’s how:
1. Open Computer or My Computer in XP.
For Vista and 7 right click on an empty space in the Computer window and select Add a network location from the context menu. Click Next.
In XP click on My Network Places on the left, then click Add a network place also on the left. Click Next.
2. Make sure Choose a custom network location is highlighted (Choose another network location in XP) and click Next.
3. Enter the address of your FTP server making sure to include the “ftp://” at the beginning ( eg; ftp://myserver.com).
4. If you don’t log in anonymously untick the box and enter the FTP login or user name. Click Next.
5. Give the network location a name of your choosing and click Next. Click Finish leaving the open network place when I click finish tick in the box.
6. Windows should now connect to your FTP and will ask for the password. Simply type it in and make sure to tick the Save password box. Navigate so you can see the folder where you want to send the files but don’t go into it. Leave this window open.
7. Open the Send To folder by pressing Win key+R to open the Run dialog and depending on your operating system, type or paste the following:
For Vista and 7: %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
For XP: %userprofile%\sendto
8. With both your network location and the Send To windows both open, right click on the FTP folder you want to send the files to. While keeping the right button down, drag to the Send To window and then let go, a small menu will popup where you select Create Shortcuts Here. You can then rename the shortcut to your liking (eg; “FTP to Uploads Folder”).
Now when you right click on files or folders -> Send To, there will be the the shortcut and when you click on it, they will auto upload to the FTP folder. The good thing is you can add several Send To shortcuts for different FTP folders by simply repeating steps 6 to 8.