FTP – Concept, what is it for, what is client and server

We explain what an FTP is and what this protocol is for. Also, what is an FTP client and how does an FTP server work.

Connections through an FTP are designed to be fast.

What is an FTP?

In computing, it is known as FTP (Acronym in English for File Transfer Protocol, that is, File Transfer Protocol) to a protocol for the transfer of information between systems connected to a TCP network (acronym for Transmission Control Protocol, that is, Transmission Control Protocol) that is based on the client-server architecture.

In other words, it is a communication protocol or method that allows uploading and downloading files to or from one computer (server) to another (client), regardless of the operating system that both use. To do this, a TCP / IP network layer model is implemented, together with a password or secret key, to establish the remote connection.

Connections through an FTP are designed to be fast, thus maximizing the information transfer rate, but not really secure, since the information is handled (even the passwords) as plain text. For this reason, SCP and SFTP programs are often used to encrypt the content of these connections and prevent access to the information by third parties.

This type of technology began to be used in 1971 (known as RFC 114), before the invention of the TCP / IP protocol, and its current version is the one published in 1985 (RFC 959). In general, these types of connections are established using ports 20 and 21 of the system.

What is an FTP for?

FTPs transfer information from one server to another.

FTPs are extremely useful for transferring large amounts of data at good speed. That is, to send files from one computer to another without the need for removable media (such as compact discs, memory units, etc.), but directly through the Network. This facilitates the movement of data, especially if it is about a significant volume of data, which would require more cumbersome technology.

Today the FTP are used to share editorial, visual or audiovisual work information, areas where voluminous files are usually handled and often work remotely. Also in the mobilization of data through medium-sized networks, such as WAN or MAN, these protocols are often used, for example, to upload information to the Internet.

FTP client

FTP client
An FTP client accesses a server using FTP protocols.

An FTP client is a computer program that, installed on a user’s computer, allows access to a server through FTP protocols to upload or download data from it. That is, a software that allows the establishment of FTP (or SFTP, more secure) connections, once a key and a specific address of the system to which we want to connect has been provided.

FTP clients they usually come pre-installed on operating systems like Windows, but more advanced programs can also be chosen to switch between different connection modes.

FTP server

FTP server
An FTP server manages the connections and allows the flow of information.

An FTP server is a program designed to run on a computer connected to the Internet and that fulfills the function of data provider in a network. This program manages the connections and allows the flow of information to and from the different clients that exist.

They are not usually implemented on personal computers, but rather in the repositories of information from large companies or local work networks.

The difference between an FTP client and an FTP server is that the same server can serve numerous clients, since it is the central node of the information transfer.