FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which involves the process of transferring files from one location to another. FTP is used within a network configuration for file transfer and it is also used to transfer files from a computer to a location on the Internet such as a website console.
How the FTP Process Works
FTP is used to transfer files from your computer to another computer that is in a distant location instead of the process that is used to copy files from computers that are located on the same network. FTP can transfer files between two computers both of which have a connection to the Internet regardless of the computer’s location.
To use FTP to transfer files it is necessary to have an FTP client manager installed on your PC. The FTP client manager will hold the information about the server that you are connecting to such as the server address name or IP number. To connect to the FTP server it is necessary to have a user name and password.
FTP consists of two different connections for utilizing commands and sending and receiving files or data. The FTP server listens for connections through a standard port which is the connection for using Internet Protocol to communicate commands and data transfers.
If you want to receive files or data the FTP client manager sends a command to the FTP server that is known as a “list.” When the FTP server receives the list it sends the files and data back to your FTP client manager. If you want to send files such as Web pages that have been revised to an FTP location, you must do so by entering your user name and password for the FTP server.
Active and Passive FTP Connections
An FTP server has two different types of mode connections which are active and passive. If the server contains an active connection, your FTP client will open a port to allow the FTP server to actively connect with the client. If the server is using a passive connection, the server opens the port so the client can connect to the FTP server point.
Most FTP client manager programs use the passive connection mode as an added security measure because the firewalls are active in preventing outside connections. With a passive connection your FTP client is initiating the connection instead of the connection coming from an outside source. An active connection requires re-configuring the firewall settings on the network to allow a connection from an FTP server with active access.
FTP client managers are available for download as free software and are easy to install and use. However, if you are planning on using FTP to maintain your website or upload data and files to a specific location, you should obtain an account from that location with a user name and password.