File Transfer Protocol


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. It is based on a client-server model architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and the server. FTP users can authenticate themselves with a clear-text sign-in protocol, normally in the form of a username and password.


The phonetics of the keyword “File Transfer Protocol” are as follows:File: /faɪl/Transfer: /trænsˈfɚ/Protocol: /ˈproʊ.tə.kɑːl/

Key Takeaways

  1. Secure File Transfers: FTP is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. It provides secure file transfers through encryption methods like SSL/TLS.
  2. Architecture: FTP operates on a client-server architecture, which means you need a server to hold the files and a client to access and download them. FTP servers are accessible via FTP clients and browsers.
  3. Ports: FTP uses two TCP ports by default: 20 and 21. Port 21 is used for control information (commands), whereas port 20 is used for data transfer. This separation allows for more reliable data transfer.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is an important technology term because it provides a standard method for transferring files from one computer to another over a network, such as the internet. This client-server protocol is vital in sharing, exchanging and manipulating files in a reliable, efficient, and secure way. Various organizations and individuals globally utilize FTP, for instance, to upload or download files to their websites or to share large files which could not be sent via traditional email systems. Hence, its importance stems from being essentially used in network communication, leading to an easy and effective method of managing a large amount of data over the internet.


File Transfer Protocol, commonly known as FTP, serves a critical role in the digital world, reducing barriers to data sharing and collaboration. Specifically, it’s a standard network protocol that facilitates the transfer of files from one host to another over a TCP-based network like the internet. As its name indicates, the primary purpose of FTP is to transfer files efficiently between two entities. Whether you need to send large data files or systematically back up your digital data to a remote location, FTP can handle tasks of varying magnitude with ease.FTP is extensively used in businesses and even in academic circles due to its utility in transmitting large amounts of data more seamlessly and efficiently. For instance, web developers often use FTP to upload files to their web server. It can also be leveraged to share software updates or patches for widespread distribution. In addition to that, offsite storage companies use FTP for scheduled backups of their clients’ digital data. This range of applications illustrates the pivotal role FTP holds in facilitating large-scale data sharing and collaboration in a technologically evolving environment.


1. Website Publishing: FTP is commonly utilized in the process of uploading and publishing files to a website. For example, a web designer or developer might create the HTML, CSS or JavaScript files for a website on their local computer and then use FTP to transfer those files to a web server.2. File Sharing and Collaboration: FTP often serves as the backbone for enterprise solutions that need to share and collaborate on heavy documents or files. For instance, a film production company might use FTP to share video files or large images with their editing teams, each other, or clients for review, edit or broadcast.3. Software Updates and Patches: Many software companies rely on FTP for the distribution of updates, patches, or new versions of their software to users. For instance, when a user’s computer software notifies them of an available update, the software will use FTP to download and install this new update from the software company’s server.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is File Transfer Protocol (FTP)?**A: File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. **Q: Is FTP Secure?**A: FTP itself is not considered a secure method of transferring data because it doesn’t encrypt the data sent between the client and server, potentially allowing it to be intercepted. However, variants like FTPS and SFTP offer security features.**Q: What is the difference between FTP and HTTP?**A: HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is designed for viewing web pages on the internet whereas FTP is specifically designed for transferring files over a network.**Q: What are FTPS and SFTP?**A: FTPS is an extension to the original FTP that adds support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocols. SFTP, on the other hand, uses the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol for secure data transfer.**Q: What are some common uses of FTP?**A: FTP is commonly used to transfer website files from their creator to the computer that acts as their server for everyone on the internet. It’s also used to transfer large files in a business or home environment.**Q: How do I use FTP?**A: To use FTP, you would typically need an FTP client software on your computer. Use this client to connect to the FTP server where you can download files from or upload files to.**Q: Can I use FTP with my web browser?**A: Yes, most web browsers support basic FTP. However, for more robust functionality, you might want to use dedicated FTP client applications. **Q: Are there any alternatives to FTP?**A: Yes, alternatives to FTP include HTTP for file transfer over the Web, FTPS and SFTP for secure file transfer, and file syncing services like Dropbox and Google Drive for easy file sharing.**Q: Do I need a username and password to use FTP?**A: Often, yes. Private FTP servers usually require a username and password for access. However, some servers offer anonymous FTP where one can log in with the username “anonymous.”

Related Finance Terms

  • FTP Client: An application that manages file transfers using File Transfer Protocol.
  • FTP Server: A server on a network that provides FTP access to a user or a system.
  • Data Packet: A unit of data transferred over a network.
  • Port: A communication endpoint in a networking context, often used to specify where data should be directed during an FTP transfer.
  • Anonymous FTP: A type of FTP where users don’t need to identify themselves with a password or username before accessing files.

Sources for More Information


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