The File transfer protocol reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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File transfer protocol

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Internet protocol suite
Application layer FTP SMTP HTTP IRC ...
Transport layer TCP UDP SCTP ICMP ...
Network layer IP IPv6 ARP DHCP ...
Data link layer Ethernet Token ring FDDI 802.11 WiFi ...

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a part of the Internet protocol suite that is able to transfer computer files between machines with widely different operating systems.

It is an 8-bit client-server protocol, capable of handling any type of file without further processing such as MIME or UUEncode. However, FTP has extremely high latency; that is, the time between beginning the request and starting to receive the required data can be quite long, and a sometimes-lengthy login procedure is required.

FTP is standardized in RFC 0959 by the IETF as:

Which obsoleted the earlier RFC 765. The FTP protocol goes back to RFC 114 originally.

FTP commonly runs on port 21.

The objectives of FTP are:

  1. To promote sharing of files (computer programs and/or data).
  2. To encourage indirect or implicit (via programs) use of remote computers
  3. To shield a user from variations in file storage systems among hosts
  4. To transfer data reliably and efficiently.

Disadvantages are:

  1. Passwords and file contents are sent in clear text, allowing eavesdropping which may be unwanted
  2. It is hard to filter FTP traffic using a firewall, since the data connection is made to an apparently arbitrary port
  3. It is possible to tell a server to send to an arbitrary port of a third computer

FTP, though usable directly by a user at a terminal, is designed mainly for use by FTP client programs.

Many sites that run FTP servers enable so-called "anonymous ftp". Users do not need an account on the server. By default, the account name for the anonymous access is 'anonymous'. This account does not need a password, but users are commonly asked to send their email addresses as their passwords for authentification, but there is no verification.

Table of contents
1 FTP and web browsers
2 See also
3 External links

FTP and web browsers

Nowadays, web browsers can manage the FTP protocol, via a URL in the form ftp://<ftpserveraddress>  (e.g., [1]).

A username and password may also be added:  ftp://<login>:<password>@<ftpserveraddress>.

In GUIs such as Microsoft Windows, one can create a so-called desktop shortcut for more easy access to FTP servers.

See also

External links

FileZilla 2.2.1b FTP client on Windows 2000Enlarge

FileZilla 2.2.1b FTP client on Windows 2000