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Your FTP Server

Of course, in order to use Fetch, you need an FTP server. If you have a web site or blog hosted on a server to which you have FTP access, you’re all set.

For example, I use GoDaddy.com to host my sites and blogs, on a Deluxe Hosting account that includes 100GB of disk storage and 1,000GB of bandwidth per month. Both of these numbers are important:

  • Disk space limits the quantity of data I can store in my account’s server space. I’m currently using only 5% of that space for my web sites, so I have plenty of room. (Unless you have a lot of graphics and animations, web sites take a surprisingly small amount of disk space to host.)
  • Bandwidth limits the amount of data that can be transferred to and from the server within a month. I transfer data to the server when I upload site content, including updated web pages, MySQL data (for my blogs), images, and podcasts. My site visitors download data when they use their web browsers to view my sites and blogs. Three days into my billing cycle, my bandwidth is currently .14% of capacity. If I calculate a daily percentage of .05% and multiply that by 30 days, I’m only using 3% of my capacity per month. So I have plenty of bandwidth for backup use, as long as I don’t back up too much data too often.

FTP isn’t just available with web sites and servers. You might have access to another computer via FTP. For example, I write books for Peachpit Press and upload completed manuscript chapters in PDF format to a private folder on Peachpit’s FTP site. My editors download the chapters to edit them. But I also use the FTP folder on the server to upload backup production files for the book. I do this to back up the files for safety, as well as to make the backup files available to Peachpit in case something happens to me. (Why should my work on a project be lost if I’m suddenly unavailable to complete it?)

You might also have FTP access to another Mac or even a Windows computer on a network in your workplace. Mac OS X has FTP server capabilities built right in. (Use the Sharing preferences pane to set it up.) In this case, you might access the computer by its IP address rather than by a domain name; speak to your system administrator to get details.

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