File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used for transferring files between a client and a server over a TCP/IP based network, such as the internet. It allows users to upload, download, and manage files stored on remote servers, making it an essential tool for file sharing and remote file management. FTP operates on a client-server architecture, where the client initiates file transfer requests and the server responds to these requests by providing access to files and directories.

In the below PDF we discuss about FTP Protocol in detail in simple language, Hope this will help in better understanding.

Key Components of FTP:

  • Client: The client is the user’s computer or device that initiates FTP requests to transfer files to or from a remote server. Users interact with FTP clients (software applications) to perform file transfer operations.
  • Server: The server hosts the FTP service and stores the files that users can access and transfer. It listens for incoming FTP requests from clients and responds to these requests by providing access to files and directories.
  • Control Connection: The control connection is established between the FTP client and server to exchange commands, authenticate users, and manage file transfer sessions. It uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port 21 by default.
  • Data Connection: The data connection is established separately from the control connection to transfer file data between the client and server. Depending on the FTP mode (active or passive), the data connection can use different port numbers for data transfer.

Common FTP Commands:

  • USER: Specifies the username for authentication.
  • PASS: Specifies the password for authentication.
  • PWD: Displays the current working directory on the server.
  • CD: Changes the current working directory on the server.
  • LS or DIR: Lists the files and directories in the current directory.
  • GET: Downloads a file from the server to the client.
  • PUT: Uploads a file from the client to the server.

How FTP Works:

FTP operates over the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) using two separate channels: the command channel and the data channel. The command channel handles communication between the client and server for issuing commands and receiving responses, while the data channel is responsible for transmitting the actual file data.

When a client initiates an FTP session, it establishes a control connection with the server on TCP port 21. Once authenticated, the client can issue various commands such as login, navigate directories, and transfer files. When a file transfer command is issued, a separate data connection is established between the client and server on TCP port 20, through which the file data is transmitted.



File Transfer Protocol (FTP) has been a fundamental component of internet infrastructure for decades, enabling seamless file sharing and data transfer across networks. Despite the emergence of more secure alternatives, FTP continues to play a significant role in various domains due to its simplicity, reliability, and widespread support. As we navigate the complexities of modern digital ecosystems, understanding FTP and its capabilities remains invaluable in ensuring efficient and secure file transfer operations.

Must Read: IP Addresses,DNS Protocols and OSI Model.

Related Question

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It’s a standard network protocol used for the transfer of files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, typically the Internet.

FTP operates on a client-server model where a client initiates a connection to a server to perform file transfers. It uses separate control and data connections: the control connection for sending commands and receiving responses, and the data connection for transferring files.

The main components include the FTP client, which is the software used to initiate the connection and transfer files, and the FTP server, which is the software running on a remote host that responds to client requests and facilitates file transfers.

FTP supports two main modes of operation: active mode and passive mode. In active mode, the client initiates the data connection to the server, while in passive mode, the server opens a port for data transfer, and the client connects to it.

FTP is commonly used for uploading files to a web server, downloading files from a server, sharing files between computers on a network, and distributing software updates or patches.


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