What is FTP Protocol?

FTP is an abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a TCP/IP-based internet protocol that is used to transfer files from one host to another. It is mostly used to move web page files from the creator’s computer to the computer that serves as a server for other computers on the internet. It can be used to download data from other servers to a PC.

Although transferring files from one system to another is simple and uncomplicated, it can occasionally cause issues. Two systems, for example, may use distinct file conventions. In two systems, text and data may be represented differently. The directory structures of the two systems may differ. The FTP protocol solves these issues by establishing two connections between hosts. One link is used for data transfer and the other is used for control.

How does FTP works?

Individuals and corporations can use file transfer protocols to share electronic files with others without needing to be in the same room. This can be achieved by using an FTP client or the cloud. Regardless of the choice chosen, all participants will require a functional Internet connection.

Most online browsers have FTP clients, which allow users to transfer files from their computer to a server and vice versa. Some users may prefer to use a third-party FTP client because many of them include additional capabilities. FileZilla Client, FTP Voyager, WinSCP, CoffeeCup Free FTP, and Core FTP are among the free FTP clients available for download.

Many people have utilised FTP without even knowing it. You have used FTP if you’ve ever downloaded a file from a website. The first step is to log in, which can be done automatically or by entering a username and password manually. You must also use a specified port number to connect to an FTP server. You can now transfer files by connecting FTP server to your FTP client. In some public FTP servers, you can access anonymously that means you can use it without signing in.

As previously stated, FTP was designed to transfer and receive files between two physical computers. However, as technology advances, users can now perform file transfers via the cloud. Using the cloud allows for transfers to be done quickly, securely (protecting individuals and businesses from data breaches), and at a reasonable cost.

FTP sessions can be active or passive:

Active Mode: - When a client requests a session via a command channel, the server establishes a data connection with the client and begins transferring data.

Passive Mode: - The command channel is used by the server to send the client the information required to open a data channel. Because all connections are initiated by the client in passive mode, it works well across firewalls and network address translation gateways.

How to Use FTP?

There are three methods for establishing an FTP connection. Using a command-line FTP client, such as Command Prompt for Windows or Terminal for Mac/Linux, is a very simple method. It is still used by developers today for FTP file transfers.

A web browser can also be used to communicate with the FTP server. When users need to access large directories on the server, a web browser is more convenient. However, it is frequently less dependable and slower than using a dedicated FTP program.

Using an FTP client is now the most common way to use FTP, especially for a web developer.

In comparison to the command line and web browser, an FTP client offers more flexibility. It is also more powerful and easier to manage than the other methods.

When using such a client, you can also access additional features. Users can, for example, transfer a large file and use the synchronising utility.

What are the types of FTP?

FTP mainly classified into two types. They are

  • Control Connection

  • Data Connection

Control Connection: - The control connection communicates using extremely simple rules. We can transfer a single line of command or response at a time via a control connection. The control link is established between the control procedures. The control connection remains alive throughout the interactive FTP session.

Data Connection: - Because data types differ, the Data Connection employs extremely sophisticated rules. The data link is established between data transmission operations. When a command to transfer files is sent, the data connection starts and closes when the file is transferred.

Why FTP is important?

FTP is a network protocol that allows for large-scale file transfers across IP networks. In the absence of FTP, other systems, such as email or an HTTP web service, can manage file and data transmission, but they lack the clarity of focus, accuracy, and control that FTP provides.

FTP is used for file transfers between systems and has various typical applications, including the following:

Backup: - Backup services or individual users can use FTP to backup data from one location to a secure backup server that offers FTP services.

Replication: - Replication, like backup, involves duplicating data from one system to another, but it takes a more comprehensive approach to provide greater availability and resilience. FTP can also be used to help with this.

Data access and Loading: - FTP is also commonly used to connect to shared web hosting and cloud services as a method of loading data onto a remote system.

Advantages and Disadvantages of FTP

Advantages of FTP:

FTP has the following advantages:

  • Speed: - One of the most significant advantages of FTP is its speed. FTP is one of the most efficient ways to transfer files from one computer to another.

  • Efficient: - It is more efficient because we do not have to perform all the operations to obtain the entire file.

  • Security: To gain access to the FTP server, we must enter the username and password. As a result, we can conclude that FTP is more secure.

  • File transfer: FTP allows us to transfer files back and forth. Assume you are the company’s manager, and you send some information to all of the employees, who all send information back to the same server.

Disadvantages of FTP:

Following are the disadvantages of FTP

  • All FTP transmissions must be encrypted, which is a standard industry requirement. However, not all FTP providers are created equal, and not all providers provide encryption. As a result, we will need to look for FTP providers that offer encryption.

  • FTP performs two functions: it sends and receives large files over a network. However, the maximum file size that can be sent is 2GB. It also does not support concurrent transfers to multiple receivers.

  • Passwords and file contents are sent in clear text, allowing for unauthorised eavesdropping. As a result, attackers may be able to carry out a brute force attack by attempting to guess the FTP password.

  • It is not compatible with all operating systems.