“FTP” is often heard in the production and management of websites. Originally, it is a term that refers to a communication method, but it is sometimes used in the meaning of FTP software, FTP servers, and commands, and it is difficult to understand the whole thing. Here, for beginners, we will explain the basics of FTP and FTP servers in an easy-to-understand manner.
What is FTP?
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a type of communication protocol used when sending and receiving files on a network. Also, depending on the context, it may be used to describe an “FTP server” or “FTP client (software)” that uses FTP.
FTP is widely used in the field of website production, publication, and management. In order to publish a website, it is necessary to transfer, that is, upload, various files such as text and images created in advance to the webserver.
The communication protocol for this file transfer is called FTP.
Recently, CMS (Contents Management System) represented by WordPress has become widely used, and the work of transferring files from a personal computer to a server is decreasing. However, FTP and its improved version, SFTP, are still useful in the field of website production and management. It is no exaggeration to say that FTP has a long history and began to be used with the birth of the Internet, but it is still known as one of the most popular communication protocols.
What you can do with FTP
What you can do with FTP can be summarized in the following four points.
- Connect to an FTP server and operate data (easily possible by using FTP client software)
- Access a physically distant server (no need to go to the server location)
- Data manipulation (1) File upload (client → server)
- Data manipulation (2) File download and backup (server → client)
To publish your website, you need to transfer the files to the server. FTP is the protocol used to send and receive this file. Through FTP, you can perform data operations such as adding new data, overwriting and updating existing data, and deleting data on the server.
The first thing you can think of with FTP is uploading files. You can add a new web page by uploading the created file to the FTP server. You can also update the contents of a published page by uploading a partially rewritten version of an existing file and overwriting the existing file on the server.
You can also download the data on the FTP server on the client side. If you download the file of the website that is open to the public, you can make a backup and also use it for file sharing between computers.
Since the communication is via the network, you can easily access the server in a remote location, and you do not have to go to the server installation location.
When operating the data listed here, it is convenient to use FTP client software. By using the software, you can operate the data easily and intuitively.
What is an FTP server?
An FTP server is a word that refers to the computer that is connected using FTP and the recipient of a communication.
As I mentioned earlier, the FTP server works closely with the web server, and file operations on the FTP server are reflected in the files on the web server.
When using a rental server, it is basically not necessary to prepare an FTP server individually. This is because the rental server has installed an application for the FTP server on its own server and has set it in advance so that users can use it immediately.
When using an FTP server, authentication (login) using a user name and password is generally required. This is to prevent a third party from accessing the server and manipulating the file without permission.
However, there are also anonymous types of FTP servers that can be used without authentication. It is mainly used by public institutions and government offices for the purpose of information disclosure, and in this case, anyone can freely download the file on the server.
Types of FTP Servers
Open-source or free FTP servers:
There are two main classes of FTP servers, Free and Paid. The open-source FTP servers are free to download and access the server solution by both the client and server. This means they can be downloaded and used to send and receive files without paying any charges.
There are some free FTP servers among this group that are good for users. They include:
- Filezilla: This server has a user-friendly interface that promotes secure and simultaneous file transfer. It can also automatically ban an IP address when it fails to log in successfully after multiple times. However, it does not allow files to be edited from the app.
- Complete FTP server: It is an easy to install server that also supports the transfer of files securely. Though it has more features than most other servers, they are limited in the free version. It can also have some regular working issues.
- CoreFTP server: It is a fast user-friendly server that is easy to set up. It also promotes secure file transmission. But the free version only allows the usage of 3 domains.
- VsFTPd: This is a high-performance, stable and secure server that is a default in computer systems that use Linux operating software.
Paid-option FTP servers
Under the paid options, there are plenty of FTP server hosting vendors and solutions. They offer services like reliable cheap ftp storage space ranging from 100GB to 1TB, high file transfer security, and regular automatic backups of files on the server. This will be dealt with in other sections of this content.
What to know before buying an FTP server
Before buying an FTP server, the following factors are points to check out:
Price and Storage space
The price of the FTP server is a significant point to consider when you want to buy FTP servers. There are cheap FTP servers, and there are also expensive ones depending on your budget.
The cheapest cost is about $5 per month while the most expensive is about $25.
Hence, it is evident that it is easy to buy a cheap FTP hosting server.
Your choice of FTP server provider can be guided.
Security and Ease of Usage
Another factor to consider on what type of FTP server hosting services to choose when planning to buy FTP servers is how secure the server is and its user-friendliness.
One of the reasons why some FTP servers lost users was the problem of inadequate security and encryption of transferred files. Recent updates on FTP servers have solved these problems by introducing SSL and other security services into FTP servers.
Also, being able to operate and navigate the FTP servers’ website pages helps users manage their accounts without involving external parties, helping them save some privacy in stored files.
Advantages of FTP servers
- Disaster recovery is an essential feature that top FTP servers offer which regularly backs up user’s information safely, keeping it in order to prevent them from totally being lost from unexpected and uncontrollable events.
- Ability to transfer large files:
FTP servers can transfer large-sized files at an excellent speed, saving companies that work with large files the stress of where and how to transfer the data.
- Improved work Speed
Users and companies who transfer multiple information simultaneously, e.g. telecommunications, find this feature advantageous because it increases the speed of workflow. Files are sent in bulk simultaneously rather than sending them singly per time.
- Top FTP server providers save company workers and users from the monotony of sending files hence interrupting workflow. Therefore, it allows users to schedule their transfers.
- In using FTP servers, there is the benefit of resuming interrupted file transfers with ease. There are occasions where an interruption in power supply occurs during file transfer of very important files, FTP servers can resume these transfers making the efforts of transfer not to be wasted.
Disadvantages of FTP servers
- FTP servers are not really secure. When a file is sent using the protocol, it transfers the data, password, and username without encrypting it but as plain text. This leaves hackers and third parties with easy access to users’ information.
To secure an FTP server, it must be upgraded to FTPS or SFTP.
- Another disadvantage is the presence of inefficient vendors in FTP servers. The existence of vendors was to deal with the problem of security loopholes. Sadly, some vendors are ineffective in adequately managing and executing proper security functions.
- Vulnerability to Hackers.
Another flaw in FTP servers is how vulnerable it is to hacking and brute force attack, which is done by running a series of usernames and passwords until the correct entry with ease and enough speed. Companies that don’t make any efforts to secure their FTP servers suffer issues of being hacked regularly.
Send and receive files to the server easily by FTP!
In this article, we have briefly introduced the mechanism and usage of FTP and FTP servers. We hope that you understand the importance of FTP and FTP Server in the creation, publication, and management of Web pages, the mechanism of file transfer, and the convenience of FTP software.
One of the shortcuts to getting a better understanding of FTP is to actually touch it and get used to it. How about trying FTP operation by referring to this article?