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File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the protocol used to transfer files between two computers on a Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) network. FTP was one of the earliest protocols used on TCP/IP networks and the Internet. Although the World Wide Web (WWW) has replaced most functions of FTP, it is still used to copy files between clients and servers over the Internet.

FTP to transfer files between two computers, both computers must support their respective FTP roles. For example, one needs to be an FTP client and the other an FTP server. The FTP client can issue commands to the server to download and upload files and create and change directories on the server.

FTP uses TCP as its transport for all communications and data exchanges between the client and the server. TCP is a connection-oriented protocol, which means the communications session is established between the client and the server before data is transmitted. The connection remains active during the entire FTP session. Connection-oriented sessions are known for their reliability and error recovery features. These features include the following:

FTP is distinct from the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP). TFTP is a fast, simple file transfer protocol that uses the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) transport. UDP, unlike TCP, is a connectionless protocol and does not have the capability of re-transmitting packets. This means that UDP is not as reliable as TCP.


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