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Electronic Sources for HIV/AIDS Information

Anonymous FTP

Many files, especially larger ones, are stored on the Internet in sites called FTP archives. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, the "language" computers use to transfer a copy of the files from where they are stored to where you want them. (FTP is based on Unix, the computer platform and language on which many Internet sites are based.)

To retrieve a file from an FTP archive, you need to know three things: the name of the archive, the name of the file, and where the file is located (directory path) in the archive. If you've been given a URL, it should tell you all you need to know. If you know only the address and path, you may need to look at some files until you find the right one.

Most often, the files you would like to access are on remote computers for which you do not have a user account. To access these files, you must use "Anonymous FTP." This means that when asked for a user name (or login name), you enter the name: anonymous. You will next be asked to provide a password. While not required, it is considered good Internet manners (netiquette) to provide your e-mail address.

At this point, you will either type in the directory path or click with the mouse on the directory, depending on how your service works. You may need to issue some commands to retrieve the file, or simply click on the file and drag it to where you want it stored on your computer.


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