FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a standard network protocol that helps to transfer files between hosts over TCP/IP-based networks. Now, here we will cover all possible things about what is FTP (File Transfer Protocol)? And how does FTP work; involving with different types of FTP protocol with ease. We can hope that at the end of this article, you will get fully aware about what is File Transfer Protocol without any hassle.
What is File Transfer Protocol?
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that is used for transferring files between two computers over a network, such as the Internet. It is one of the oldest and most widely used methods for file transfer.
FTP allows users to transfer files between a client and a server, with the client being the computer initiating the transfer and the server being the computer receiving the files. FTP uses a client-server model, where the client establishes a connection to the server and then sends commands to the server to perform various file transfer operations.
To use FTP, a user must first have an FTP client installed on their computer. The client can be a standalone program, a web browser, or a command-line interface. Once the client is installed, the user can connect to an FTP server by specifying the server’s IP address or domain name, as well as their login credentials.
After connecting to the server, the user can browse the server’s file system and transfer files between their local computer and the remote server. FTP supports several file transfer modes, including ASCII and binary, as well as various transfer types, such as upload, download, delete, and rename.
‘FTP Protocol’ Tutorial Headlines:
In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:
- What is File Transfer Protocol?
- History of File Transfer Protocol
- Different Types of FTP
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
- FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure)
- FTPES (FTP over explicit TLS/SSL)
- HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure)
- SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)
- SCP (Secure Copy) Protocol
- WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning)
- WebDAVS Secure Version
- TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol)
- AS2, AS3, AND AS4 Protocol
- OFTP (Odette File Transfer Protocol)
- AFTP (Accelerated File Transfer Protocol)
- MFT (Managed File Transfer)
- PESIT (Exchange Protocol for an Interbank Telecompensation System)
- Working of FTP Protocol
- FTP Connections Types
- FTP Communication Channels
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What does FTP stand for?
- Why is FTP important?
- What do you mean by File Transfer Protocol?
- What is FTP protocol and how it works?
- What is an FTP client?
- What is an FTP server?
- Is FTP secure?
- What is the default port for FTP?
- Can FTP transfer large files?
- What is anonymous FTP?
- What are the different types of FTP protocol?
- What are some common FTP commands?
Let’s Get Started!!
History of File Transfer Protocol
FTP protocol was first developed in the early 1970s as part of the ARPANET project, which was the precursor to the modern internet.
Also Read: 40 Advantages and Disadvantages of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) | Features & Benefits of FTP
The original specification for FTP was published in 1971 as RFC 114, and it underwent several revisions in the following years, leading to the creation of the modern FTP protocol. In 1985, RFC 959 was published, which defined the basic FTP commands and responses, as well as the file transfer modes (ASCII and binary).
In the early days of the internet, FTP was one of the most commonly used protocols for file transfer. However, as the internet grew and new protocols such as HTTP and HTTPS emerged, FTP’s popularity began to decline. Today, FTP is still widely used in certain industries such as web development, where it is often used to transfer files to and from web servers.
Different Types of FTP
In this section, we are going to explain 15 different types of FTP protocol in detail; below shown each one, you can check them:
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol):
HTTP protocol is used for communication between web servers and web clients, such as web browsers. It is the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web (WWW).
HTTP is a stateless protocol, which means that each request is treated independently of any previous request. This allows for efficient communication between web servers and clients, but it also means that the server does not remember any information about a client between requests.
FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure):
FTPS protocol helps to transfer files securely between a client and a server over the Internet. It is a variation of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that adds support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.
FTPS uses two different modes for data transfer: active and passive. In active mode, the client initiates a connection to the server and the server sends data to the client over that connection. In passive mode, the client initiates a connection to the server and the server opens a new connection to send data to the client.
This protocol is commonly used by businesses and organizations that need to transfer large files securely, such as financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies. It is also used by website owners to upload files to their web hosting servers securely.
FTPS is often considered more secure than regular FTP because it encrypts data in transit, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept and steal sensitive information. However, FTPS does have some drawbacks, such as being more complex to set up and configure than regular FTP, and potentially being slower due to the overhead of encryption.
FTPES (FTP over explicit TLS/SSL):
FTPES is a secure version of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that is commonly used to transfer files over the internet. FTPES adds an extra layer of security to FTP by encrypting the data and authentication information that is transmitted between the client and server.
FTPES works by using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt the FTP connection. The encryption is initiated by the client, which sends a request to the server to establish a secure connection. If the server supports FTPES, it responds with a certificate and the client can then authenticate the server’s identity and establish a secure connection.
Once the secure connection is established, all data transmitted between the client and server is encrypted, providing protection against eavesdropping and data interception. FTPES can also use a variety of authentication methods, such as username and password, public key authentication, or client-side certificates, to provide an additional layer of security.
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure):
HTTPS protocol helps to establish a secure and encrypted connection between a client (such as a web browser) and a server (such as a website). It is a combination of HTTP and SSL/TLS protocols that provide secure communication over the internet.
When a user enters an HTTPS URL in their browser, a secure connection is established with the web server through a process called SSL/TLS handshake. During this process, the server presents its SSL/TLS certificate to the browser, which is then verified by the browser to ensure it is valid and issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA). If the certificate is valid, a secure session is established between the client and the server.
HTTPS provides several benefits over plain HTTP, including data confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity. It ensures that any data exchanged between the client and the server is encrypted, preventing it from being intercepted and read by unauthorized parties. It also ensures that the data has not been tampered with or modified during transmission. Finally, HTTPS verifies the identity of the website to prevent phishing attacks or man-in-the-middle attacks.
SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol):
SFTP is a secure way of transferring files over a computer network, typically the internet. SFTP is an extension of the SSH protocol and uses encryption to protect data in transit. It provides a secure channel between two remote systems and allows for secure file transfers, remote file management, and file synchronization.
SFTP is often used by businesses and organizations to transfer sensitive data, such as financial information, medical records, or personal data, securely between servers or to external partners. It is a reliable and secure way to transfer files, as it encrypts all data in transit, preventing unauthorized access or interception of sensitive information.
To use SFTP, you need an SFTP client installed on your computer, and access to an SFTP server. You’ll need to provide your login credentials to access the server, and then you can transfer files securely between your local computer and the remote server.
SCP (Secure Copy) Protocol:
The SCP (Secure Copy) protocol is a secure file transfer protocol that allows users to securely transfer files between hosts over a network. SCP is based on the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol and provides secure authentication and encryption of data in transit.
This protocol works by establishing an SSH connection between two hosts and then using that connection to securely transfer files. SCP encrypts all data that is transferred between hosts, including authentication credentials and file contents. This makes it a popular choice for securely transferring sensitive files over a network.
SCP is a command-line tool and is available on most Unix-based systems. To use SCP, you must have an SSH client installed on your local machine and an SSH server running on the remote host. You can then use the “scp” command to copy files between the two hosts.
WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning):
WebDAV is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that enables collaboration and remote management of files over the internet. It allows users to edit, create, move, copy, and delete files on a remote server using HTTP.
WebDAV can be used for a variety of applications, including web content management, collaborative authoring, and remote backup. It provides a standard way for applications to read and write data on a server, and it supports many file types and metadata.
This protocol has been widely adopted by many operating systems and web servers, and it is supported by many applications, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and many web authoring tools. It is also used by many cloud storage providers, including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box
WebDAVS (WebDAV over SSL/TLS) is a secure version of WebDAV that uses SSL/TLS encryption to protect data in transit between the client and the server. It is recommended to use WebDAVS when transferring sensitive data, such as login credentials, personal information, or financial data.
TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol):
TFTP is a simple file transfer protocol that is used to transfer files between machines in a network. It is a lightweight protocol and is used mostly for transferring small files, such as firmware updates, configuration files, or boot images, between devices on the same network.
Trivial File Transfer Protocol operates on UDP (User Datagram Protocol) port 69 and is designed to be simple and easy to implement. Unlike FTP (File Transfer Protocol), TFTP does not support authentication or encryption, which makes it less secure but easier to use.
TFTP uses a client-server architecture, where the client initiates the transfer request and the server responds with the requested file. TFTP uses a block-based data transfer mechanism, where each block of data is acknowledged before the next block is sent, to ensure reliable delivery of files.
AS2, AS3, AND AS4 Protocol:
AS2, AS3, and AS4 are all communication protocols used for data interchange between computer systems.
AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is a widely adopted protocol for secure data transmission over the internet. It uses digital certificates and encryption to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data being exchanged. AS2 is commonly used in industries such as retail, healthcare, and finance.
AS3 (Applicability Statement 3) is a protocol for the secure transfer of data over the internet using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). It is primarily used for the exchange of large, unstructured data such as images or documents. AS3 is commonly used in the healthcare and logistics industries.
AS4 (Applicability Statement 4) is a newer protocol that is designed to replace both AS2 and AS3. It is a standardized messaging protocol for secure and reliable data exchange over the internet. AS4 provides advanced security features and supports a wider range of communication patterns, making it more flexible than its predecessors. It is widely used in the European Union and is gaining popularity in other regions as well.
OFTP (Odette File Transfer Protocol):
OFTP is a communication protocol that is used for the secure exchange of electronic data between businesses in the automotive industry, particularly between Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers.
The Odette International organization developed the OFTP protocol in the 1980s to facilitate the exchange of standard business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices. OFTP uses a point-to-point connection between the sending and receiving systems, providing end-to-end security through encryption and digital signatures.
OFTP is widely used in the European automotive industry and is also becoming more popular in other regions. The protocol has evolved over the years to support newer technologies, such as the use of the internet and IPv6. OFTP2 is the latest version of the protocol and offers several new features, including support for large file transfers and advanced security mechanisms.
AFTP (Accelerated File Transfer Protocol):
AFTP is a file transfer protocol that is designed to improve the speed and reliability of file transfers over networks. AFTP works by using a variety of techniques to optimize the transfer process, such as data compression, data caching, and parallel transfers.
One of the key features of AFTP is its ability to dynamically adapt to changing network conditions. For example, if the network becomes congested, AFTP will automatically reduce the amount of data it sends at any given time to avoid further congestion. Similarly, if the network bandwidth increases, AFTP will increase the amount of data it sends to take advantage of the additional capacity.
AFTP is often used in situations where large files need to be transferred quickly and reliably, such as in the media and entertainment industry, scientific research, and enterprise data backup and recovery. It is also used in cloud-based applications, where files need to be transferred between cloud storage and local devices.
There are several software solutions that implement AFTP, such as FileCatalyst, Signiant, and Aspera. These solutions typically offer additional features such as encryption, authentication, and detailed logging to meet the requirements of enterprise-level deployments.
MFT (Managed File Transfer):
Managed File Transfer protocol is going to use for secure and reliable file transfer between systems, servers, or networks. It is designed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data during transfer, while providing advanced features such as automation, scheduling, tracking, and reporting.
MFT is different from traditional file transfer protocols such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) because it offers enhanced security features such as encryption, authentication, and access controls. MFT also provides features like audit trails, automatic retry mechanisms, and notifications for successful or failed transfers.
MFT protocol is commonly used by organizations that need to transfer sensitive or confidential data, such as financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies. It helps these organizations comply with regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR, which require secure transfer and storage of sensitive data.
Some popular MFT solutions include IBM Sterling File Gateway, Axway SecureTransport, and Globalscape Enhanced File Transfer (EFT).
PESIT (Exchange Protocol for an Interbank Telecompensation System):
PESIT is a communication protocol that was widely used in Italy for interbank transactions and settlements. It was designed to facilitate the exchange of financial messages between banks and other financial institutions over a secure and reliable network.
The PESIT protocol is based on the X.25 standard for packet-switched networks and uses a store-and-forward mechanism to transfer messages between the sender and the recipient. The protocol supports a range of message formats, including SWIFT messages, and provides features such as message validation, acknowledgment, and error handling.
However, PESIT is no longer used in Italy for interbank transactions and settlements. It has been replaced by the new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) standard, which is used across the European Union for electronic payments.
Working of FTP Protocol
Here, we will explain you about how does FTP works step by step; and the working process of FTP protocol is divided into 5 different segments; below shown each one, you can read them.
Establishing a Connection: In FTP protocol, the client must establish a connection to the FTP server. This is done by sending a request to the server using the server’s IP address and port number (usually 21).
Authentication: Once the connection is established, the client must provide authentication credentials (username and password) to the server to verify its identity.
Navigating Directories: Once made authentication, the client can navigate the server’s file system to locate the files to transfer. This is done using FTP commands such as CD (change directory) and LS (list directory contents).
Transferring Files: To transfer files, the client uses FTP commands such as PUT (upload a file from the client to the server) and GET (download a file from the server to the client). The files are sent over the established connection in binary format.
Closing the Connection: Once the file transfer is complete, the client can close the connection to the server using the FTP command QUIT.
FTP is an older protocol and has some security vulnerabilities, so it’s often replaced with more secure protocols like SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) or FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS).
FTP Connections Types
While working of FTP protocol, it makes two different kinds of connections to transfer the file over the network, as following them:
Active FTP: In active FTP, the client establishes a connection to the server on port 21, which is the default port for FTP. Once the connection is established, the client sends a PORT command to the server, specifying the port number and IP address to which the server should send data. The server then establishes a connection to the client on the specified port number and IP address, and data is transferred over this connection.
Passive FTP: In passive FTP, the client establishes a connection to the server on port 21, just like in active FTP. However, instead of sending a PORT command, the client sends a PASV command to the server. The server responds with an IP address and port number, to which the client then establishes a connection for data transfer.
Passive FTP is often preferred over active FTP, as it can help overcome issues related to different types of firewalls and NAT (Network Address Translation) devices that can interfere with active FTP connections.
FTP Communication Channels
FTP uses various communication channels to transfer data between the client and the server, like as:
Control Channel: The control channel is used to establish and manage the FTP session between the client and the server. This channel is used for sending commands and receiving responses. The control channel uses TCP port 21.
Data Channel: The data channel is used for transferring data between the client and the server. The data channel can use two modes of transfer: active mode and passive mode. In active mode, the server initiates the data transfer, while in passive mode; the client initiates the data transfer. The data channel uses TCP port 20 in active mode and a randomly selected port in passive mode.
Authentication Channel: The authentication channel is used for user authentication. It is used to send the user ID and password from the client to the server. The authentication channel uses TCP port 21.
Error Channel: The error channel is used to transfer error messages from the server to the client. The error channel uses TCP port 21.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does FTP stand for?
FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol”. It is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the internet. FTP allows users to upload, download, and manage files on remote servers.
Why is FTP important?
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is important because it enables the transfer of files between computers connected to a network. It has been a standard protocol used for transferring files over the internet for many years, and it continues to be widely used today.
What do you mean by File Transfer Protocol?
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of files from one host to another over the internet or any computer network. FTP is one of the oldest protocols used for file transfer and is still widely used today.
What is FTP protocol in computer network and how it works?
FTP works by establishing a connection between a client (such as a web browser) and a server (such as an FTP server). Once a connection is established, files can be uploaded from the client to the server or downloaded from the server to the client.
What is an FTP client?
An FTP client is a software program that is used to connect to an FTP server and transfer files between the client and the server. Some popular FTP clients include FileZilla, WinSCP, and Cyberduck.
What is an FTP server?
An FTP server is a software program that is used to host files that can be downloaded by clients that connect to the server using an FTP client.
Is FTP secure?
FTP is not a secure protocol, as files and login credentials are transmitted in clear text, which makes them vulnerable to interception by hackers. However, there are secure alternatives to FTP, such as SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS), which encrypt data during transmission.
What is the default port for FTP?
The default port for FTP is 21, but this can be changed by the administrator of the FTP server.
Can FTP transfer large files?
Yes! FTP can transfer large files, but the speed of transfer depends on the speed of the network connection between the client and server.
What is anonymous FTP?
Anonymous FTP is a type of FTP server that allows users to log in without providing a username or password. This is often used for public file repositories, such as software archives, where users can download files without having to register for an account.
What are the different types of FTP protocol?
In this article, already we have been explained several kinds of File Transfer Protocol (FTP) in detail; you can show them.
What are some common FTP commands?
Some common FTP commands include:
- ls: list the files in the current directory
- cd: change the current directory
- get: download a file from the server
- put: upload a file to the server
- bye: disconnect from the server
The Bottom Lines
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