FTP Meaning & Definition
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the commonly used protocol for exchanging files over the Internet. FTP uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer. FTP uses a client-server architecture, often secured with SSL/TLS. FTP promotes sharing of files via remote computers with reliable and efficient data transfer
How FTP Works
FTP uses a client-server architecture. Users provide authentication using a sign-in protocol, usually a username and password, however some FTP servers may be configured to accept anonymous FTP logins where you don't need to identify yourself before accessing files. Most often, FTP is secured with SSL/TLS.
How to FTP
Files can be transferred between two computers using FTP software. The user's computer is called the local host machine and is connected to the Internet. The second machine, called the remote host, is also running FTP software and connected to the Internet.
- The local host machine connects to the remote host's IP address.
- The user would enter a username/password (or use anonymous).
- FTP software may have a GUI, allowing users to drag and drop files between the remote and local host. If not, a series of FTP commands are used to log in to the remote host and transfer files between the machines.
Common Uses of FTP
Is FTP Used Today?
Today, FTP is largely considered to be an outdated, dying protocol. Keep in mind that FTP was designed in the early 1970's, long before TCP and IP existed. It was also designed many years before the prevalence of IT security and data breaches. While still in use today by some individuals and organizations FTP is no longer updated and has been replaced with more secure file transfer protocols including FTPS, SFTP and HTTPS.
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