How Important Is FTP Access to You? OR, File Manager With Features To Upload Multiple Files With Relative Paths?

How Important Is FTP Access to You?

I have discussed the lack of no FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access with several Ning Team Members, since this platform feature was removed. I think it would be interesting to hear from fellow Network Creators and find out how important is this feature to you and your Network?

If you're not familiar with FTP access, this discussion topic probably doesn't affect you. If you want to hear a little more, I'll try to explain. This is a method used to upload files to a hosted location - - a place to store your files like for scripts, or 3rd party sliders, etc...

Currently, the Ning platform does not enable FTP access. Instead, Ning built what is called the File Manager. The problem with the File Manager method, the uploaded files are uploaded to the Ning API, and the file path names are very long. But that's not the entire problem. The limitations with this type of file uploading method are severe.

Quick Summary:

If you need to upload several files (scripts, images, css, etc...) or a folder containing all the files needed to add something like a slider to your Ning Network, you cannot. You either have to upload to an external host and call your application into your Ning Network via an iFrame, or attempt to upload many files via the File Manager, and edit your code throughout using the long Ning API file paths.

More Details:

  1. You must upload each file, one at a time.
  2. There are no relative paths using the current File Manager Upload Method. To explain: Let's say your script that runs your slider engine calls custom css or other js files. Each js and css file has to be uploaded via the Ning File Manager. You then have to hard code each path within your script and HTML. Additionally, your slider images have to be uploaded one at a time, you then need to copy/paste the long Ning API URL into the proper location in your HTML. It's a tedious and easy-to-make-mistakes process.
  • Relative Path Example - \slider\js\yourfile.js
  • Ning API Path Example - "*UFXaKvItF6DEMsWegpfCglyldZabcdefghijklmnopqr123yourfile.js"
  • If you upload a file today, and edit the file tomorrow, for example a slider image, you must do the following:
  1. Re-upload the image file via the File Manager.
  2. Change the file URL in your HTML code, to call the new image.
  3. Save and re-upload your HTML file, or change the image path in your Text Box HTML Code.


With FTP access, the paths would be relative and never change. For example, you would upload your new image, keeping the same file name, something like: slide1.jpg.

Your code would already contain the calling path for slide1.jpg. Therefore, that's all you would need to do to update your slider. The calling path would stay the same


Why Did Ning Remove FTP Access?

I think most experienced NCs understand why Ning removed FTP access. I'm sure it was a nightmare with access to backend files, and newbies wiping out files, probably NCs uploading files that had nothing to do with their Ning site, Security issues, file serving load times, cost for Support Team to stay on top of the problems, etc...

However, we desperately need a way to upload files, without having to change filename paths, therefore having to edit all code for one simple app.

I suggest that Ning build the following File Upload Interface:

  • A limited amount of disk space for uploading files.
  • No access to platform files for security measures.
  • A way to upload a folder of files and use relative paths. Note: Even if we only had relative paths like a virtual relative path, this would work.


Fellow Network Creators, what are your thoughts?

  • How much do you need this, and why?
  • Would you pay extra for this type of interface?


Thanks in advance to everyone!





Tags: api, file manager, file upload, files, ftp, ning api, relative, relative path, uploading

Views: 2072

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Replies to This Discussion


I understand the loss of access to source code, but could take forever to give my thoughts on that. A few:

  • Took away the headache from us.
  • Actually just changed Ning from OpenSource to a platform.
  • After becoming a true platform empowers the DevTeam to deliver even more features, and across the board.
  • Shares all features with all Networks.

And the list goes on...

Thanks for all your input,


networks were also free! things change.
your file manager solution is what we need, again, basically like the media gallery interface on wordpress. but ftp access? no, not needed for the aims highlighted in your post.


My purpose creating this discussion is not to debate the best method, just want a way to upload multiple files and have relative paths, and more for my Design Clients and VIP Members, than myself.



Jen, by explicitly mentioning FTP you have created a whole sub topic. FTP is not required to achieve the goals you require. If potential clients of yours won't sign up with Ning because of lack of FTP access I don't understand why that is a problem for the vast majority of NCs or Ning. Ning is not that kind of platform, simple as. I mean not to offend, and, again, I agree FTP would be useful, but in the context of the Ning UI meetings the expectations of most NCs i simply don't think this is a major concern. I say that as someone who has been designing sites for 15 years. A nice multiple file upload with relative urls would be great but this whole conversation has taken a turn for the technical which is simply wasted. It won't happen. You choose Ning for its simplicity. You need or want FTP, use jomsocial or social engine etc


I really don't know what else to say. I won't dance with you on this.




Okay, I'll bite since you've made statements that are not accurate. First, your opinion is as important as mine. But, doesn't mean your thought process is the best.

Second, you need to get your facts straight. I by far chose Ning because of it's simplicity, quite the contrary. Ning was a robust open-source platform that offered full FTP access. And these were the two biggest reasons I chose this platform.

As this platform has grown, progressed, changed, I've been there. I like change. This just happens to be one that I don't agree with, and never will. And last, I have said more than once I don't care if we regain FTP access, just a better way to upload multiple files with relative paths. This is not an unimportant topic as you have insinuated. This is a critical feature that Ning needs to find a way to restore. And for the record, a member of Team Ning suggested that I create this discussion to gain valuable feedback.

Best Regards,


I could bang on about this but I don't have the time. SP, you are entitled to your opinion but Jen is opening a much needed topic. Just because you don't understand the need for FTP doesn't mean it's not necessary. It is vital to be able to serve CSS and JavaScript from the same server to minimise http requests. It is also vital to be able to maintain these files efficiently. FTP or WebDAV are the only ways to achieve this. Jen, keep going with this.

not to mention sitemap updates  and stuff lke thsat  it is criticle to have some form of ftop or webdav  with e]root and folder access

we are paying a hell of alot of money  more then youd pasy for most platforms  but we are missing the most basic  access that comes with the cheapest or even free websites and cs]=ms

youd think if yir payinjg for 1 of the most expensive website systems out there it would have at least the most baic features found in the cr[heapest  plus a few bells and whistles  yea we get some nifty bells and whix]stles that do make ning wi[orth the extra money..but without te basics ..its harder abd hardr to justify

sure all tghe features aree nice but if we cant uoploadand manage filkesproperly

if we cant update our sitemaops rgularly andwithout the hassle of storing it on a seperarte host then downloading the index diting the urls to point to the ubdomainthen reuploading

itsreally a pain and it really is crucial that we hafve the very baic stuff youd get with any website

Jen I completely understand the point towards your clients.  I tried to do some design work for Ning creators, but they always end up asking me about development type stuff.  When I inform them that there is a roadblock there, some have said forget it too, others have spent more money elsewhere to get what they need. 

Point being, Ning doesn't get that extra money.


Thanks for your input. And, exactly.

Best Regards,


most who know anything about site design ofcourse know about g=ftp

only those with zero skills wouldnt know what ftp is  and wouldnt use it

yea thereare a few ncxs that have no internet skills whatsoever nor are willingto learn what a url is

but thats a small number

and most ncs learn asthey go so by the time they have a site up several months they can bo some basic stuff like edit css and upload files


the fact is they use ftp daily without knowing it

he said he has no use for irt but when you upload photos vids  etc your using ftp through javascript or flash

your uploading those photos to the server

but you have no control over where they f=go how they are refferebnced etc


when you use a photo for a comment

you upload the photo

you use the same photo for a second comment instead of uploading to the same place so only taking up  limkited sopace it uploads as a seperarte file with a diferent url

so stupid!

i use the same welcome coment pics daily

thats 13k or so as an example

x 7000 members welcomed and  it takes up a huge amount of server sopace for esentialy whats 1 single picture

hows that smart?

if it uoploaded to the same space same url and asked is it ok to overright then that picture would load faster always being in cache (not seen as a seperate picture each load) and would take up 1/7000th the space on the server

I'm willing to bet if we had to pay for space, more people would care about it. LOL


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