FTP Meaning explained: What is FTP ?

FTP meaning is File Transfer Protocol (RFC 959). It’s an internet TCP protocol, used to transfer files between one client computer to a server. Widely used to publish websites, transfer images, backups or any kind of files.

This protocol was initially developed in the 70s by Abhay Bhushan, who was a student of MIT. It was first created with the objective of transferring files between servers and hosts at ARPANET Network. ARPANET, after some years, originated the internet. In other words, the Internet is an evolution of this network.

How FTP works

Firstly, an FTP server is like a store. The store attends to clients, and give and receive files for them. An FTP Client is like a customer. One customer can enter a store and negotiate files.

The first step is configuring your client, placing the host, login, password of the FTP Server. This protocol typically used TCP port 21 for communication.

After configuring the credentials, client and server will connect and make a “handshake”, where they confirm the connection. The FTP Client can list files, get files or put files.

Ftp meaning: What is SFTP

A similar protocol, but different, is SFTP. This is a Secure Shell (SSH) based transfer protocol. It’s based on an encrypted connection, protecting both the client and server from data theft. As a conclusion, this is a big advantage.

To work, it requires an SSH server, which is different from a standard FTP Server.

Finally, it’s important to differ SFTP and FTP meaning. SFTP is not really an FTP protocol, as we explained. SFTP is, in fact, the SSH protocol, visually adapted to a file manager screen. Just like an FTP Client, but in a safe channel.

Meaning of FTP Clients

With an FTP Client, the user can upload or download files to a server. This is a simple software that you can install in your PC. Then, you must place the server hostname, login, and password and click Connect. Afterward, you are ready to send and receive files from the server.

There are many nice and free FTP clients available for Windows. There are also Web FTP Clients like cPanel.

FileZilla is a complete and robust software. It’s a free GPL software.

ftp meaning

CoffeeCup Free FTP is also a nice option. It’s free as well.

FTP Commands

Basically, the client FTP application will connect to the FTP server. Then, it will authenticate. There are several commands that the FTP client uses to talk to the server. The most common are:

PORT command which specifies the server IP address and port to connect.

AUTH and PASS commands, to authenticate the username and password at the beginning of the connection.

LIST, to list the files and directories inside the current folder.

STOR is the command used to send a file. It asks the server to store a file on it, and then, performs the file transfer.

RETR is used to download a file. It will retrieve a copy of the file to the local computer.


When we ask what’s the FTP meaning, we have to explain its literal meaning, which is File Transfer Protocol. It’s good always to explain a brief of its history. Basically, the FTP protocol is based on commands. So, the client FTP talks to the server FTP site using these commands. The FTP clients have a good looking interface, to make things easier for the end user. FTP is one of the most popular internet protocol nowadays. It’s simply the industry standard to transfer files to web hosting servers.



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