What is FTP: File Transfer Protocol Explained for Beginners

FTP is a method that users use to transfer files online. you may consider the sites you visit in your browser as “the internet”. But your browser only uses one protocol: HTTP.

What is FTP?

There are many other protocols that, collectively, compose the internet. IMAP and POP, for example, are two protocols that email clients use to send and receive messages.

XMPP is a protocol that is used to send and receive instant messages. FTP is another such protocol. Read more on this article to know What is FTP? and what it is used for.

What is FTP?

FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol.” It’s also one of the oldest protocols in use today and is a convenient method to move files around.

An FTP server offers access to a directory with sub-directories. Users connect these servers with an FTP client, a bit of software that allows you to download files from the server, also as upload files to it.

FTP Server

Many internet users will never have any use for FTP. But it does have important uses, especially for those interested in studying internet data from the bottom up.

FTP is a great tool for moving information from the computer you’re operating on to the server where a website is hosted. If you need to install WordPress on a web server, for instance, you’re going to need FTP to copy the files over.

FTP Client

It’s also occasionally used as the simplest way to share files. One person may upload a file to an FTP server then share a link to it with another person.

This type of usage has become less common within the age of easy-to-use cloud services. But some people choose to have their files hosted on a home server and use FTP to enable that.

Use of FTP

Platforms that also offer FTP downloads or support transfers largely do so out of habit. And even this can be no longer common. Both primary modern uses for FTP are:

Hobbies and Teaching:

FTP is a casual method used to introduce newcomers to internet protocols before moving on to more complex versions, making it a decent starter tool. Some people also build FTP file systems out of a sense of nostalgia or simply for fun.

Moving large numbers of server files in the house:

Some IT professionals may prefer to use FTP when moving server files within a closed system for a corporation. In this case, there aren’t security concerns, and FTP could also be the best way the IT workers know to move large amounts of files.

File Transfer Protocol

FTP is one of the best, and earliest formats created to quickly move files from one device to another. Also, it has its origins all the way in 1971, when the primary version was created and published by Abhay Bhushan.

Within the 1980s, the FTP format was updated to the TCP/IP version related to servers. FTP uses two basic channels to control.

Its command channel carries information about the task itself what files are to be accessed, if commands are registering, etc. The data channel then transfers the particular file data between devices.


These FTP connections also can have active and passive modes. Active modes are the most common and permit open communication between the server and also the device over both channels. With the server taking an active role in establishing the connection by approving requests for data.

However, this mode may be disrupted by firewalls and similar issues, so there’s also a passive mode where the server pays attention. But doesn’t actively maintain the connections, allowing the other device to carry out all the work.


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