File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a widely used network protocol for transferring files between computers over a TCP/IP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP lets people and applications exchange and share data within their offices and across the Internet. FTP was one of the first technologies developed to solve this common need, and it remains, with several generations of enhancements, the second most popular protocol used today (after HTTP or the “World Wide Web”).

Operating as a protocol, FTP is used by applications. As a program, it’s employed by users to perform file tasks by hand.

FTP also allows for access to both directories and files and can accomplish

certain types of directory operations, like relocating into different ones.

FTP teams up with Telnet to transparently log you in to the FTP server and

then provides for the transfer of files.

Accessing a host through FTP is only the first step, though. Users must

then be subjected to an authentication login that’s probably secured with

passwords and usernames implemented by system administrators to restrict

access. But you can get around this somewhat by adopting the username

“anonymous”—though what you’ll gain access to will be limited.

Even when employed by users manually as a program, FTP’s functions are

limited to listing and manipulating directories, typing file contents, and

copying files between hosts. It can’t execute remote files as programs.

FTP has been around for over four decades, and has seen significant changes in encryption standards and file transfer functionality.


An FTP site is a web site where users can easily upload or download specific files.

FTP by mail allows users without access to the Internet to access and copy files using anonymous FTP by sending an email message to and putting the word help in the body of the text.

FTP Explorer is an FTP client based on Windows 95 file manager (Windows 95 Explorer).

An FTP server is a dedicated computer which provides an FTP service. This invites hackers and necessitates security hardware or software such as utilizing usernames, passwords and file access control.

An FTP client is a computer application which accesses an FTP server. While doing so, users should block incoming FTP connection attempts using passive mode and should check for viruses on all downloaded files.

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