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Everything You Need to Know About File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a widely used network protocol for transferring files between computers over a TCP/IP-based network (such as the Internet). FTP allows people and applications to exchange and share data in their offices and over the Internet. FTP was one of the first technologies developed to address this common need, and after several generations of enhancements, it is still the second most popular protocol in use today (after HTTP or the "World Wide Web").

FTP

FTP application

FTP is used in many daily business operations, including business-to-business and peer-to-peer data transfer use cases:

Organizations use FTP to allow employees to share files across different locations and branches; employees use FTP to securely share files with colleagues and external business partners; IT teams use FTP to transfer data back to the disaster recovery (DR) site; webmaster teams use FTP Transfer web pages, web application files, and images to their web server.

How to transfer files via FTP?

The file transfer protocol works in a client-server model, where the FTP server and FTP client perform file transfer operations. Configure an FTP server in the network and determine a specific file storage location (folder/system) to become shared storage, which will host the files you want to share. End users will access this file server via FTP to start copying files to their local folder/system.

FTP requires a TCP/IP network to run, and it relies on the use of one or more FTP clients. The FTP client acts as a communication agent to interact with the server and download or upload files. In other words, the FTP client sends a connection to the FTP server. After the FTP server monitors the client's request for uploading or downloading a file, it executes the file transfer operation.

What is the use of an FTP client?

Decades ago, FTP clients were just command-line interface (CLI) applications. They now provide an easy-to-use, intuitive interface to facilitate and simplify file transfers. FTP clients are used on desktops, servers, and mobile devices, and they can be used as simple extensions to stand-alone applications, web clients, and web browsers.

Active and passive FTP server connection

The FTP server can support active and passive connections with FTP clients. In an active FTP connection, the client opens a port and listens when the server actively connects to it. In a passive connection, the server opens a port and passively listens, which allows the client to connect to it.

Passive connections are more secure, and IT administrators prefer them because the data connection is from the FTP client to the FTP server. This is a more reliable method, which avoids inbound connections from the Internet to a single client. In a firewall deployment, all connections are from the Internet to the server, not from the server back to the Internet. Passive mode is also called "firewall-friendly" mode. The more secure the file transfer protocol (such as SFTP, FTPS) supported by the FTP client, the more secure it is.

FTP has been around for more than four years, and it has witnessed major changes in encryption standards and file transfer capabilities. This chart records the evolution of FTP and the introduction of hosted file transfers. It provides support for secure protocols (such as FTPS and SFTP) and advanced management functions for secure and controlled file transfers.

The Raysync high-speed transfer protocol is a core technology by Raysync based on the UDP protocol, which can overcome the limitations of traditional networks and hardware, the bandwidth utilization rate is more than 96%, and the transmission speed is 100 times faster than FTP. It can easily meet the safe, fast, and stable transmission requirements of TB-level large files and massive small files.

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