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Lesson 4 – Part 4 – Synchronize your Local and Remote Files

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In this part of the lesson we will learn how to synchronize the local file structure and your remote domain file structure. Synchronizing these is an important time saver and convenience. If you synchronize the local and website files, you won’t inadvertently copy files to the wrong place.

I’m going to show how you can inadvertently copy to the wrong place without synchronization.  Go to wp-content on the local machine and you can see it’s got plugins, themes and index.php.  Start Notepad.  We’re going to make a dummy file that we can copy around.  This as an example file.  Then save this as an html file.  We’re not going to save it as a txt so we’ll select all files and then save it as test.html.

Then we want to scroll down to our business website location which in this case will be Rick, My business websites, WordPress, wp-content — let’s go ahead and save it there.  Click close.  If you go back over to FileZilla now and hit View, Refresh, you can see that test.html has now been added to the local file structure.

Set FileZilla to Use Synchronized Browsing

Go over here on the right hand side and open up plugins, Select test.html, hit Upload and you can see that it copied test.html to the folder plugins, even though we placed test.html in the folder wp-content.  If you have these files synchronized and you create a file here and Upload, it will automatically place the file in the appropriate folder on the website.  So let’s set that as a condition.  Come up here to File, Site Manager, go to our entry which in this case is byobtutorial. Go to Advanced and down here hit Use synchronized browsing.  In addition to that we should set our default remote directory which is in this case /public_html/wp-content/.  Click the button that says Use Synchronized browsing.  Let’s hit our default local directory at the same time and that is under Rick, and then My business website, and then WordPress, and wp-content.

Test Synchronized Local and Website File System

So now we have this local directory and this domain directory set up to synchronize.  Hit Connect, Abort previous connection and connect in current tab — just say Okay to that.  Now we have it set up and properly synchronized.  If you double-click on plugins you can see that plugins opened up over here.  If you double-click on the Up it goes up.  If you double-click on themes, themes open up over here.  So these two are now synchronized.  If you select test.html and Upload, test.html now gets uploaded to the proper directory and it can’t be uploaded to the wrong directory.  Because these are synchronized they automatically move in one place when it moves in the other.

Go ahead and delete these extra test files.  Just right-click on the file and click Delete, say Yes.  I think we have one in plugins.  Right-click on it say Delete and say Yes.  If we go back over here we can also delete this test file.  Say Yes.

That concludes Part 4 of Lesson 4 of the Build Your Own Business Website Tutorial Series.  You now have a fully functioning FTP system where your local file structure is synchronized with your remote website file structure.

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24 Comments… add one
24 comments… add one
  • chung tang November 27, 2010, 10:06 pm

    Hi Rick,

    I have a couple websites, the developer’s thesis license, and was wondering what you think is the most organized way to work with multiple sites using thesis and having it up on filezilla?

    for example my main domain is
    then i have and as add-on’s to

    So far, I’ve followed your way of organizing the folders except under My Website folder I’ve created extra folders for,, etc then in it i have wordpress => wp-content =>themes = thesis_18 => custom for each site folder etc.

    Is that the best way to go about it? or should I be renaming each thesis 1.8’s custom folders with an ID. for example custom-1, custom-2, etc?


    • Rick Anderson November 28, 2010, 4:52 am

      Chung Tang – You have it set up exactly the same way I do it. I have something on the order of 50 websites (sometimes 1 per lesson) and each of them has their own identical file structure.
      * My Websites
      — Website 1
      — Website 2

  • chung tang November 28, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Thanks Rick,

    looking forward to more video updates.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  • Mykella Harley July 14, 2011, 11:21 am

    Please help! I’m trying to figure out why the video is saying go to Bluehost. I thought we were using inmotion in this lesson. Is the process the same?

    • Rick Anderson July 14, 2011, 11:26 am

      Mykella – The process for setting up and configuring FTP is the same at Bluehost and InMotion Hosting. The reason is that they both use cPanel.

  • Mindy Lighthipe September 5, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I am on a Mac and my only option is to use Cyberduck. I am trying to parallel with this video but there are a lot of differences. Do you have a video on how to use Cyberduck?

  • Mindy Lighthipe September 5, 2011, 2:24 pm

    I do not believe I can synchronize Cyberduck like you are doing in FileZilla….. What is a girl to do now?

    • Rick Anderson September 6, 2011, 6:26 am

      Mindy – Cyberduck isn’t your only option on the Mac. Filezilla is available for the Mac and works exactly the same as it does on the videos.
      I recently helped a member using Cyberduck and I’d say that it isn’t a good choice for a beginner. Not because it is hard to use, it isn’t. But because it doesn’t have the same synchronized browsing feature. Synchronized browsing is essential for beginners.

  • Ellen Ward November 20, 2011, 11:20 am

    I already have a GoDaddy hosted site. Do you have any tutorials that relate to GoDaddy?

    • Rick Anderson November 20, 2011, 11:40 am

      I’m sorry Ellen, I don’t have videos for GoDaddy. However, the fundamentals are the same. Are you having difficulty with something in particular?

  • Anurag Bhagat December 15, 2011, 3:40 am

    I have a specific query regarding setting up FTP. My hosting services provider is Blue Host and my primary domain is I have a number of add on domains in this account such as, and

    I have to configure FTP for each of these websites separately in Filezilla. How should I go about it.

    • Rick Anderson December 15, 2011, 7:35 am

      Anurag – all you do is use Site Manger (in Filezilla) to copy your primary FTP setup and then modify it to reflect the differences in local and remote files. Generally speaking the login information is the same, you’ll just change the default local directory and the default remote directory.

  • Diane MacKinnon June 10, 2012, 6:41 pm

    Hi Rick,
    I use HyperMart to host my website. Which tutorials should I view that would be closest to how HyperMart functions? any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Rick Anderson June 12, 2012, 7:04 am

      It looks very similar to Bluehost. I’d try those videos first.

  • Shane Arthur July 31, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Great job on the vids. Saw your link in the DIY forum and just knew I had to stop by and take a look. Rock on.

  • Rick Van Ness November 24, 2012, 11:36 am

    I carefully followed your instructions but ended up with a few folders under public_html that don’t exist locally (thesis, upgrade, uploads). Here’s a snapshot:
    Do I need to repair anything before continuing?
    Many thanks!

    • Rick Anderson November 24, 2012, 12:36 pm

      Rick, that file structure looks fine. The Thesis 2 file structure is somewhat different than a typical wordpress them in that it adds the thesis folder under wp-content AND wp-content/themes

  • Rick Van Ness November 24, 2012, 11:39 am

    To clarify: the wp-content folders should be synchonized (I think) but don’t appear so with the extra folders on one side.

    • Rick Anderson November 24, 2012, 12:37 pm

      Rick, that doesn’t really matter. You’ll add plugins that will also create folders withing wp-content. And with Thesis 2 you’ll be doing a lot less of this sort of file management anyway.

  • Rick Dugan April 7, 2013, 12:27 pm

    Hi Rick,
    I got an error during sync folders, not sure why I tried several times..
    Command: CWD /public_html/wp-content
    Response: 550 Can’t change directory to /public_html/wp-content: No such file or directory
    Command: PWD
    Response: 257 “/” is your current location

    I have in motion hosting

    • Rick Anderson April 8, 2013, 9:46 am

      Rick, this suggests that the directory doesn’t exist. It needs to exist in the path. It could be that you need to remove /public_html from the directory path. It might be easier to answer this in a live session. You could sign up for one of the Wednesday sessions.

  • Julie Lardner May 15, 2013, 10:41 pm

    Thanks for this Tutorial, I am on a Mac and use Cyberduck, and I found the syncronize option pretty easy to use. Maybe an update since some of the comments above are from a couple of years ago

    • Rick Anderson June 4, 2013, 7:27 am

      Julie, at some point I probably will do Mac versions of these tutorials. The thing I don’t like about Cyberduck is its inability to do synchronized browsing. This is the primary reason I teach FileZilla.

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