FTP protip: move files instead of deleting

Lately I’ve been favoring SSH to upload/delete files from a server since it’s faster and I feel it gives me more control/power, but I still use a regular FTP client for most of my daily use (since I don’t have SSH access to all servers), this is just a very basic tip that some people may not be aware of and that can boost productivity and reduce downtime during updates.

The Workflow

  1. Upload new files to a _swap directory.
  2. Move current files to a _backup directory.
  3. Move new files from _swap to the parent directory.
  4. Test live files.
  5. Delete files inside the _backup directory.
  6. Win one free internet.


The main reason is because moving files on FTP is way faster than deleting them, specially if you are moving the files to a parent directory, it can reduce the downtime from a couple minutes to a few seconds depending on how many files you are updating.

Another reason is that you will have a backup of the current files on the server and you can easily revert the changes in case anything goes wrong. - You should also keep all source files on a version control system and make updates when the site has as few users as possible (usually from 9pm to 9am) to reduce the chance of ruining everything…

That’s it!


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