Your web hosting account comes with an awesome control panel that will allow you to do a lot of tasks online, without the need of any software on your local computer. This can save a lot of time and effort required for downloading apps and software. It is especially helpful when you are travelling and want to manage your account or upload files and check email. At the same time certain functions are best performed by the software installed on your local computer.
This article lists a couple of useful tools if you are using a Ubuntu computer and are also managing a website.
It is important to have an FTP client for managing and manipulating the files in your account. The FTP client also allows you to use a secure encrypted connection to connect to your account and make changes. It also allows you to change file permissions and also make recursive changes automatically through a GUI interface. You can also compare directories and files and limit the bandwidth for downloads or uploads. You can change the priority of downloading files and also set a command to be executed at the end of the download queue completion. Your control panel does come with an online file manager, but the uses of that file manager are pretty limited, unlike a local FTP Client. On Ubuntu, we recommend FileZilla FTP client.
Email is an integral part of having a web hosting account and the use of email is almost inevitable. You can choose to store your emails on the server or download them to your local computer. Outlook is one of the mail clients which is very popular on Windows, however, it does not have a version for the Windows operating system. When travelling or using another computer, you can always use the online Webmail Client to access your mail. On Linux we recommend Thunderbird to download and access your emails.
Although you may not always require this tool, a website copier or extraction tool can be a useful tool to backup and troubleshoot your website. The copier will copy all your files and store them on your local computer in the same file structure as on the server. The copier logs will also give you the error codes and and any other warnings that would be visible to your website visitors. WebHTTrack is the ideal solution on Ubuntu.
Getting your images ready for the web can be quite a challenging task, especially if you have little experience in image editing. Everyone needs a basic image editing tool which can crop, put arrows and labels, resize and change the format of images. Some image editor software are expensive, but there are a lot of free alternatives which you can use on Ubuntu. We recommend Shutter for basic image editing and GIMP for expert users. Many control panels now do come with a basic image resizer and cropper, however, they are no match for comprehensive tools like Shutter and GIMP.
PuTTY is a free terminal emulator for advanced web hosting users. This means that it will allow you to run commands on your hosting server through a software on your local computer. It can be especially useful when you want to run scripts or commands which do not have a Graphical Interface or which do not run through the browser. PuTTY is also helpful when you want to test your POP3, IMAP and SMTP connections through telnet.