Update 11/20/2012: This post is no longer relevant. The FeedSmith plugin is no longer needed since it has been replaced with the FeedBurner FeedSmith Extend plugin (as mentioned in the post, My Favorite Plugins under "Plugins for feeds"), which is available via your Dashboard (here's how to install a plugin via your Dashboard).
I still highly recommend you be familiar with using FTP as it is a very helpful skill to have as a website owner. Please refer to How to Use FTP for more.
Previously, I showed you how to use FTP — getting it set up and how it works. Today we'll see FTP in action. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) allows you to transfer several files at once. It also gives you access to your site's files when you might not be able to access them via your Dashboard.
One of the most common ways FTP is helpful to you as a blogger is when you hear about a really great plugin or theme and you look for it via your WordPress Dashboard (see How to Install a Plugin and How to Install a WordPress Theme) but can't find it. That's because not all plugins and themes are listed in the WordPress directory. Some must be downloaded to your computer and then uploaded to your server. That's where FTP comes in!
Still, here is a basic overview of how you would work with files via FTP.
1. Download the plugin or theme
Find the plugin's (or theme's) site and download it. A simple search of the plugin's name should direct you to the right place. For FeedSmith, this is where I can find the download link:
Click "Dowload the plugin" and once it's downloaded, unzip it. (It might unzip automatically for you or click on it to do so.) Take note of where the unzipped file is located on your computer.
2. Fire up your FTP
I explained how to do this in How to Use FTP. You're ready to go when you see something like this:
3. Drill down to find the plugin file on your computer
The left side contains the files on your computer; the right contains the files on your server.
So, on the left side of your FTP window (shown above), find your unzipped file "feedburner_feedsmith_plugin_2.3" (without quotes) within your computer's directory. (Your unzipped file will be indicated by the little folder icon as opposed to an icon that resembles a zipper.)
(For me, it's located in my Downloads folder so I will click Home–>Users–>Amy–>Downloads. Your path is very possibly different but once you click around a bit, you should be able to find it.)
When you find it, simply click on it once to highlight it. There is no need to open it, just highlight it like so:
On the right side of your FTP screen (i.e. the files on your server), you need to find your "plugins" folder among your WordPress files.
It's likely the right side of your screen looks similar to mine in which case you will click "public_html–>wp-content" to get this:
Highlight the "plugins" folder by clicking on it. Again, opening the "plugins" folder is not necessary, just highlight it.
So now your FeedSmith folder is highlighted on the left and your plugins folder is highlighted on the right. You are simply indicating that you want the whole folder-full of FeedSmith files to transfer over into the folder of plugins.
5. Transfer the files
To get the FeedSmith plugin into your plugins folder in WordPress, simply click the arrow which will send your files on the left over the the right:
Once the transfer is complete, you can check to make sure it's there by opening your plugins folder (click on it to open it). You should see "feedburner_feedsmith_plugin_2.3" listed:
6. Activate your plugin & configure settings (if needed)
From this point, you should be able to go back to your WordPress Dashboard, click on Plugins–>Installed (refresh if necessary) and it should be there. Be sure to "Activate" your plugin and configure its settings if needed. (For FeedSmith, you can configure the settings by going to Settings–>FeedBurner. More help is here if needed.)
Note about installing themes:
You would use the same process to install a theme, except instead of working with the "plugins" folder among your server files, you'd be working with your "themes" folder. (See Step 4 above. The "themes" folder is located just below the "plugins" folder.)
That's it! You did it! You are now officially an FTP whiz.