FTP file transfer

What is an FTP File transfer, and how it happens? In this article, we will explain how FTP works. Internet users make millions of FTP File transfers every minute. Basically, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is a protocol specially meant for file transfers between a client computer and a server.

The brief history of FTP file transfer

FTP is one of the oldest internet protocols. It was firstly created in 1971. At that time, not even TCP/IP existed. The first protocol version defined its basic commands. At this time, it worked over NCP (Network Control Protocol), which was the predecessor of TCP, which is a standard of today.

FTP File transfers were used for a small number of computers inside a local network at ARPANET (the father of the Internet).

The modern and current FTP protocol specification was defined by RFC959 in the middle of 1985. Since then, a few adjustments of security were done to the FTP file transfer protocol, but nothing significantly changing its nature.


What is an FTP file transfer

Firstly, consider two devices. In one side, a client computer with files of a new website locally. In the other side, a web hosting server computer. The client computer wants to send files to the server, and publish its website over the internet.

If there weren’t FTP file transfers, there are some alternative methods. The client could go personally to the server, with a USB stick pen drive, and copy its files… Or else, the client could email all the files to the server, and then restore these files from the email. Thus, all of these alternatives would demand lots of hours, and be a very time-consuming task.

This is where FTP file transfers come in action. The FTP protocol reduces time and effort, and make file transfers easy.

Steps of an FTP File Transfer

Basically, the FTP File transfer happens in a few steps.

First step: The user opens his FTP Client program on the client computer.

Second step: Connect the FTP Client to the FTP Server

Third step: Authenticate with the username and password

Fourth step: Send specific files and folders to the server

Fifth step: The server verifies if the files exist, and then, receives them

Bingo! The client completed the FTP File transfer to the server computer.

FTP client programs

You need a FTP client to perform a FTP file transfer. The FTP client is a program that you install in your computer. Then, you will use this program to transfer the files from your computer to the FTP site server. There are some free widely used FTP client programs:


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