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FTP means File Transfer Protocol, it is standard networking used to file transfer between one entity, let’s say a client, and another, named server. FTP has been established back in the 1970s to help people or organizations to share files between one computer to another. FTP uses port 21 as its main communication form and will only work with clients that use port 21 as well.
A lot of the Internet’s content uses FTP. For example, web pages are uploaded on the Internet by using FTP protocols. Web pages are essentially created on a local computer, then they are sent to the web server using FTP.
FTP is a simple file transfer protocol. It only requires a username and a password to be able to access a server. It’s as easy as logging into an account or your personal computer.
Some FTP servers don’t even require an account in order to access them. As mentioned before, FTP uses port number 20 or 21. For example, an FTP client server such as Commander One or FileZilla sends a request to a server on port number 21. The port is the connection control, where the client can send and receive directions and responses. There are several types of FTP from server to client, such as:
In most of the cases, the user needs to log into the FTP server through a FTP client and establish a connection. For file and folder transfer, the FTP uses a different connection, named data connection. This type of connection has two ways: active and passive, which we will explain more in this article.
To a better understanding of FTP, it’s important to explain how the data connection works.
Active server connection is when the client opens a port and waits until a server connects to it. The FTP client can connect from a random port to port 21 of the needed server. After, it sends a command to the server which tells it where to connect. Finally, the server connects from port 21 to the port signaled by the FTP client. Once this connection is fully established, the data transfer can take place between the two.
The passive server connection is mainly used when the FTP client can’t access the connection. It usually means it’s blocked by a firewall. In such situation, the user connects from a random port to the FTP client and then to port 21 of the FTP server. The passive connection is much more secure and most IT admins prefer it.
To use FTP, you simply need a File Transfer Protocol software and to follow some very simple steps. Let’s say you have a Mac device and want to do a file transfer using Commander one. Here is the simple way to use FTP to safely get your files from one place to another:
Launch Commander One FTP client.
Open the connection manager by either clicking on the icon toolbar, selecting Windows -> Connection Manager from the menu, or use Command+F key combination.
Complete the connection name, server’s address and port, as well as your login credentials.
This is a question that’s on many people’s mind, especially now when the Internet has become such a big part of our personal and business lives. FTP was not created to be secure, as it’s one of the first type of file transfer ever created. They mainly rely on a generic username and password, which is a very futile type of authentication. However, there are two types of secure FTPs: SFTP and FTP/S. They both have been designed to address the main security issue FTP has.
Although FTP is not very secure, it can be a great method to quickly send your files from a computer to another. There’s multiple File Transfer Protocol clients developed lately, which can assure a secure and fast file transfer. Among popular ones is Commander One, which has multiple features that will make the FTP experience a great one.