Useful ways of using an FTP server on your desktop

While searching through the net on various ways to set up my SVN server, I found a few tutorials on "how to map an FTP drive", some of which was utter bullshit as it only created a stupid shortcut in your Windows Explorer. [ Example 1, Example 2 ]

1. Use an FTP client
OK, this one is pretty straight forward.
Download a client like CuteFTP, SmarFTP or FileZilla and you're on your merry way.

2. Create a shortcut
Handy, but not terribly useful. As shown in the example earlier, simply right-click "My Computer" and select "Map Network Drive".

A wizard dialog appears, and click on the "Sign up for online storage or connect to a network server" link at the bottom.

Skip the intro page of the new wizard. Select "Choose another network location" and enter in your FTP address, such as "".

Next you can enter in your account details and give it a name.

Whalla, it appears under "My Network Places" with the given name, and also "Internet Explorer" as the given FTP address.

This method allows for drag and drop functionality as well as cut/copy/paste too.

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3. WebDisk
If your web host is using cPanel as a CMS, you can access your host via WebDisk.

In your cPanel home page, click on "Web Disk" and then "Access Web Disk".

Select the appropriate operating system and follow the instructions from there.

Its not as versatile as the shortcut method, but this would work for other operating systems.

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4. Map to a drive using WebDrive (3rd party software)
South River Technologies have developed a nifty peice of software called WebDrive, which allows you to map various protocols to a Windows drive. Unfortunately, it isnt free.

Once you've set up the details for your FTP site and assign it a letter, it'll work like a normal folder in your Windows Explorer. Definitely my favourite solution by far.

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4 WebDrive - UNC Paths (Optional)
WebDrive also has an option to create a UNC path for this mapped FTP site, making it accessible via the path format of "//hostname_of_your_choice/share_folder". This is the method I used to set up my SVN server.

The options can be found under the "Advanced" item of the site properties dialog.
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