What is FTP – File Transfer Protocol.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File Transfer Protocol(FTP) is a commonly used protocol for exchanging files over the internet. FTP uses the internet TCP/IP protocol to enable data transfer. FTP uses a client-server architecture, often secured with SSL/TLS. FTP promotes sharing of files via remote computers with reliable and efficient data transfer.

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How FTP Works

FTP works in the same way as HTTP for transferring Web pages from a server to a user’s browser and SMTP for transferring electronic mail across the Internet in that, like these technologies.

FTP uses a client-server architecture. Users provide authentication using a sign-in protocol, usually a username and password, however, some FTP servers may be configured to accept anonymous FTP logins where you don’t need to identify yourself before accessing files. Most often, FTP is secured with SSL/TLS.


The original specification for the File Transfer Protocol was written by Abhay Bhushan and published as RFC 114 on 16 April 1971. Until 1980, FTP ran on NCP, the predecessor of TCP/IP. 
The protocol was later replaced by a TCP/IP version, RFC 765 (June 1980) and RFC 959 (October 1985), the current specification. Several proposed standards amend RFC 959, for example, RFC 1579 (February 1994) enables Firewall-Friendly FTP (passive mode), RFC 2228 (June 1997) proposes security extensions, RFC 2428 (September 1998) adds support for IPv6 and defines a new type of passive mode.


  • Files can be transferred between two computers using FTP software. The user’s computer is called the local host machine and is connected to the Internet. The second machine, called the remote host, is also running FTP software and connected to the Internet.
  • The local host machine connects to the remote host’s IP address.
  • The user would enter a username/password (or use anonymous).
  • FTP software may have a GUI, allowing users to drag and drop files between the remote and local host. If not, a series of FTP commands are used to log in to the remote host and transfer files between the machines.


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