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What Is FTP?

Simple Explanation of FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is a method used to move files from one computer to another over the internet. Imagine you have a file on your computer that you want to put on your website. FTP is like a delivery service that takes this file from your computer (the client) and delivers it to the website’s server (a special computer that hosts your website). You can also use FTP to download files from a server to your computer. It’s like sending or receiving a package through an online delivery system. FTP is widely used by website developers to upload their files to their websites.

Technical Explanation of FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is a standard network protocol used to transfer files between a client and server on a computer network. FTP is built on a client-server model architecture using separate control and data connections between the client and server. In the context of web design and development, FTP is commonly used for uploading files from a local computer to a web server, thereby updating websites or transferring large amounts of data reliably and efficiently.

In technical terms, FTP operates over the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and enables the transfer of data in binary or ASCII mode. It uses two distinct channels: a command channel for controlling the conversation and a data channel for transmitting file content. Users typically access FTP servers by entering a username and password, but anonymous FTP access is also possible where users can access public files with a standard username and no password.

FTP can be accessed using dedicated FTP client software, web browser, or command-line interface. The protocol supports various commands which allow users to list directories, change directories, upload and download files, and more. For security, FTPS, an extension of FTP, adds support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocols. Additionally, SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) provides a secure variant of FTP, using SSH to encrypt both commands and data, protecting credentials and data from being seen in transit.

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