File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Acronyms

According to AbbreviationFinder, an FTP server is a special program that runs on a server computer normally connected to the Internet (although it may be connected to other types of networks). Its function is to allow the exchange of data between different servers / computers.In general, FTP server programs are not usually found on personal computers, so a user will normally use FTP to connect remotely to one and thus exchange information with it.

The most common applications of FTP servers are usually web hosting, in which your clients use the service to upload their web pages and their corresponding files; or as a backup server (backup) of the important files that a company may have. For this, there are FTP communication protocols so that the data is transmitted encrypted, such as SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol).

FTP client

When a browser is not equipped with the FTP function, or if you want to upload files to a remote computer, you will need to use an FTP client program. An FTP client is a program that is installed on the user’s computer, and that uses the FTP protocol to connect to an FTP server and transfer files, either to download or upload them.

To use an FTP client, you need to know the name of the file, the computer on which it resides (server, in the case of downloading files), the computer to which you want to transfer the file (in case we want to upload it to the server), and the folder it is in.

Some basic console mode FTP clients are built into operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, DOS, GNU / Linux, and Unix. However, clients with added options and graphical interface are available. Although many browsers already have FTP integrated, it is more reliable when connecting to non-anonymous FTP servers to use a client program.

Anonymous access

Anonymous FTP servers offer their services freely to all users, allowing access to their files without having a ‘Registered User’ or a user account. It is the most convenient way outside of the web service to allow everyone to have access to certain information without the administrator of a system having to create an account for each user.

If a server has an ‘anonymous FTP’ service, just by typing the word “anonymous”, when it asks for your user you will have access to that system. No preset password is needed, although you will have to enter one just for that moment, usually your own email address is used.

Only with that you get access to the FTP files, although with less privileges than a normal user. Normally you can only read and copy existing files, but not modify them or create new ones. Normally, an anonymous FTP server is used to deposit large files that are of no use if they are not transferred to the user’s machine, such as programs, and are reserved by web page servers (HTTP) to store textual information for online reading.

Web-based FTP client

A “WEB-based FTP client” is nothing more than an FTP Client that we can access through our Web Browser without having to have another application for it. The user accesses a web server (http) that lists the contents of an ftp server. The user connects via http to a web server, and the web server connects via ftp to the ftp server. The web server acts as an intermediary, passing the information from the ftp server on ports 20 and 21 to the http port 80 that the user sees.

There are always times when we are away from home, we do not carry our laptop with us and we need to carry out some urgent task from a public access computer, from a friend, from work, from university, etc. The most common is that the applications we need are not installed and in many cases we even lack the necessary permissions to install them. Other times we are behind a Proxy or Firewall that does not allow us to access external FTP servers.

By having a Web-based FTP Client we can access the remote FTP server as if we were doing any other type of WEB browsing. One of the most popular Web-based FTP Clients is Net2Ftp. Through a Web-based FTP Client you can create, copy, rename and delete files and directories. Change permissions, edit, view, upload and download files, as well as any other function of the FTP protocol that the remote FTP server allows

Types of file transfer in FTP

It is important to know how we should transport a file across the network. If we do not use the appropriate options we can destroy the information in the file. Therefore, when running the FTP application, we must remember to use one of these commands (or put the corresponding option in a program with a graphical interface):

  • ascii type

Suitable for transferring files containing only printable characters (ASCII files, not word processor output files), for example HTML pages, but not the images they may contain.

  • binary type

This type is used when it comes to compressed files, executables for PC, images, audio files.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)