File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol that enables file transfer between two TCP/IP-based computers. FTP is built on a client-server model wherein one computer functions as the file host (server) and one computer functions as the file retriever (the client). The original FTP standards were established in 1980 and FTP servers are still in use today as repositories for software updates, academic files and more.
FTP use is, however, on the decline for two principle reasons. First, FTP is very unsecure compared to other modern file transfer methods. Second, distributed file sharing such as BitTorrent has taken over as a more efficient means to transfer the same large files (such as Linux distributions) that FTP servers previously handled.
Note: SFTP, or SSH File Transfer Protocol, is not a derivative of FTP and is only related in namesake and in that it shares a similar command set with FTP.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 02/2/13