FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a network protocol that is used to transfer data between computers over a network. It uses the ports 20 and 21. FTP is used for the exchange of files over a TCP network. It uses separate connections for control and data. Port 21 is used for control while port 20 is used for data. FTP is a client-server protocol in which an FTP client connects to an FTP server to access and manipulate files on the server.
The file transfer protocol is used to send files from computers hosting web servers. It can be used to download files from servers as also for sending files from one computer to another. One of the primary advantages of FTP is that it can be considered as one of the best and fastest means of file transfer over a computer network. It is an efficient way of transferring large files between computers in a network. It is popularly used for exchanging files between computers irrespective of the operating systems they run. Most web browsers and file managers are capable of connecting to FTP servers, whereby the clients can upload and download files to and from web servers. Items can be queued for upload or download, and file transfers can be scheduled using FTP.
However, FTP is not a secure protocol. It is prone to spoof attacks (one user successfully masquerades as another to gain unauthorized access). An attacker can exploit FTP to gain access to ports he cannot access through a direct connection. Also, FTP does not encrypt its traffic.
HTTP and FTP
For transferring HTML files, bitmaps, or light files, HTTP is a good option. FTP particularly suits a heavy or mass upload of files. With FTP, file transfer is faster than with HTTP. Similar to an HTTP address http://, an FTP address is written as ftp://. For anyone creating web pages, FTP is essential for a speedy transfer of files between clients and the server.