File Transfer Protocol (FTP, File Transfer Protocol) is a great way to transfer files on the Internet or a local computer network. It was created back in 1971 and is still one of the most popular file transfer protocols. With its help you can give access to data or certain parts of your project to a developer so that he can modify them, delete them or create new folders. With FTP, you can easily send and receive files, update websites, or share data with other users. Because of its ease of use and widespread use, FTP remains one of the most important tools in information technology.
HTTP and FTP - what is the difference?
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is used for remote file sharing between clients and servers. It features more advanced file and folder management capabilities, including the ability to download and upload entire folders and set file permissions. FTP provides more reliable transfer of large files, and is often used by site administrators, software developers, and designers in web development.
FTP server - what is it?
FTP servers, in simple words, are computers connected to the Internet or a local network that are designed to store information and transfer data via the FTP protocol. They are different from standard web servers.
- A separate network link is used for each connection to the FTP server, which ensures the security and efficiency of data transfer.
- FTP servers support two modes of data transfer - binary and text. In binary mode, information is transmitted in its original format, while in text mode, data is converted to ensure compatibility between different servers.
- Access to an FTP server requires authentication - a login and password verification procedure. This is important for security, although it is also possible to set up anonymous port access.
- FTP servers allow you to determine the format of files transferred, which is especially useful when transferring site content to the servers of the hosting provider.
- Gives the ability to set permissions on files and folders remotely.
What is an FTP server for - examples
How you can share files
Lera is a real creative soul who not only loves playing computer games, but also actively develops her own mods. She wants to share her unique creations with other players, and has recently found a way to do it with minimal effort.
Instead of creating a complicated website with CMS and navigation, she uses an FTP server. The girl spent a little time setting it up and successfully uploaded all the mod files in just two clicks. Other players, in turn, can upload and download mods as well. In addition, Lera has full control over the users. She only gives the server login and password to her friends to keep the server safe from unauthorized people joining
You may ask: "Why doesn't Lera use cloud storage, for example, Google Disk or Yandex Disk?". Of course, this is also a good option, but there is one restriction of HTTP protocol - you can't upload folders as a whole. FTP has no such restriction - Lera can upload mods one by one or a whole folder at once.
Kirill is a real expert in administering his university's website. When the rector called and set him two tasks, the guy quickly found a simple and effective solution.
The first task was to remove the teachers' photos from the New Year's corporate party from the photo gallery on the website. Kirill realized that deleting photos one by one via CMS is very time-consuming. Instead, he used an FTP connection to quickly and easily delete the entire folder with corporate photos.
The second task was to upload photos from the cleanup day to the site. Kirill coped with this task just as easily and quickly with the help of an FTP connection. He uploaded the whole folder with photos to the server.
A backup is a copy of data that is stored separately from the main data. You can easily use FTP to quickly copy all the site files to your computer and thus get a local backup. This is what the prudent Ivan did when he inadvertently "demolished" several valuable site files while finalizing the site. He uploaded the saved files from his computer to a remote FTP server and restored the site in a couple of minutes.
How the FTP protocol works
To establish an FTP connection, you need two parties: a server (remote host) and a client (local host). A special software - FTP client - must be installed on the client machine.
Working with FTP server
For home use or a small office you can use free programs - FTP clients: FileZilla, WinSCP, FAR Manager, FireFTP, Total Commander, Cyberduck and others.
In most cases, you need to have a login and password to connect to an FTP server. But there are also anonymous servers that you can connect to without login credentials.
When connected, data is transmitted through two channels:
- command (commands are given - to open a folder, download a file, etc.);
- data transmission channel - for sending files.
This separation makes working with FTP more efficient. For example, when the contents of one folder are downloaded, you can freely navigate the server and browse other folders without delaying the download.
Advantages of FTP
- Does not use encryption and does not access system data records, making the transfer process faster.
- Allows you to transfer several different files or folders at the same time. There is no need to wait for one file transfer to complete before starting another.
- If the transfer is interrupted, there is no need to worry about losing the process. With the rest command it is possible to painlessly restore the transfer from the point where it was interrupted.
Disadvantages of FTP
- Does not guarantee security. Files sent via FTP are transmitted in the clear, so any attacker who has accessed the channel can read their contents.
- Does not authenticate the source. Attackers can use a DDoS attack on a server to transfer files and disrupt its operation.
- It is difficult to track user activity on the FTP server and monitor the files being uploaded or downloaded. This creates a security risk.
For maximum security, it is recommended to use other protocols for data transfer - SFTP or HTTPS, which provide encryption and source authentication.