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What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is a network protocol used to transfer data from one computer to another through a network.

FTP is the simplest and secure way to transfer files.computer_file_transfer

The most common use for FTP is to download files from the Internet to a local computer, or upload files from a local computer to a remote server.

One may ask a question:

We already have email for sending and receiving information, attaching files, why we need FTP?

Well, if you just have a few files with small size (less than 1MB), using email is a convenient way to exchange files. But if you have dozens or even hundreds of files, you will need FTP to transfer the files through the Internet.

Hostname/address, ports and usernamesftp

You must know the name (or numeric IP address) of the server you want to download from or upload to, and the names and folders (directories) of the files you want to get or send. For Anonymous FTP the exact directory name and filename is not essential, as you can browse through what is available to find the right place.

IP Address:

An IP address is a fascinating product of modern computer technology designed to allow one computer (or other digital device) to communicate with another via the Internet. IP addresses allow the location of literally billions of digital devices that are connected to the Internet to be pinpointed and differentiated from other devices. In the same sense that someone needs your mailing address to send you a letter, a remote computer needs your IP address to communicate with your computer.

“IP” stands for Internet Protocol, so an IP address is an Internet Protocol address. What does that mean? An Internet Protocol is a set of rules that govern Internet activity and facilitate completion of a variety of actions on the World Wide Web. Therefore an Internet Protocol address is part of the systematically laid out interconnected grid that governs online communication by identifying both initiating devices and various Internet destinations, thereby making two-way communication possible.

An IP address consists of four numbers, each of which contains one to three digits, with a single dot (.) separating each number or set of digits. Each of the four numbers can range from 0 to 255. For example in our classroom the color printer machine IP address is:

This innocuous-looking group of four numbers is the key that empowers you and me to send and retrieve data over our Internet connections, ensuring that our messages, as well as our requests for data and the data we’ve requested, will reach their correct Internet destinations. Without this numeric protocol, sending and receiving data between your computer and the classroom printer machine or over the World Wide Web would be impossible.

Additionally, IP addresses use a port number for security purposes. Though the default port of most FTP servers is 21, you should always check with the server administrator to make sure it’s not using something different.

FTP Authentication

You need a username and password for the remote machine you want to send files to or get files from, but there is a special case of FTP called Anonymous FTP that uses a special publicly-known username (“anonymous”) and accepts your email address as the password. Anonymous FTP allows Internet users access to huge repositories of millions of publicly-accessible files of software and data. If you are using FTP for a website upload you will have been given your username and password by the Webmaster.

What is an FTP Client?

An FTP Client is a software that is designed to transfer files back-and-forth between two computers over the Internet. It needs to be installed on your computer and can only be used with a live connection to the Internet.

The latest full-featured web editors like Dreamweaver and RapidWeaver have FTP functions built-in.


As far as stand-alone FTP clients go, there are literally hundreds out there. Some are free but besides Dreamweaver, we can find many free FTP solutions like “Filezilla” and Cyberduck.

The classic FTP Client look is a two-pane design.

Typically the pane on the left displays the files on your local computer and the pane on the right displays the files on the remote computer.


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