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FTP Transfer

The capability of the File Transfer Protocol (the full name of the popular FTP acronym) to transfer files back and forth between separate computers on the Internet makes it really essential for anyone publishing a website online or downloading multi-media files from the web.

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Table of contents

What is an FTP Transfer?

What does the FTP transfer process actually represent? It is about making real-time connections from a personal computer to a hosting server and has to do with manipulating files through the user-friendly interface of an FTP client (a dedicated FTP software program). If the FTP file transfer is from a PC to a web hosting server, the process is referred to as file upload, and if the movement is reverse (i.e. server -PC), we talk about file download.

The FTP transfer operations are accessible to beginners and professionals alike. All the necessary prerequisites for establishing FTP connections and executing file transfers include installing an FTP program on the PC, obtaining a hosting account on a server, and the respective FTP server address and login credentials for authorized access to that server.

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

SFTP is a network protocol that provides FTP transfer over any reliable data connection. The Secure FTP protocol uses SSH to provide a crypted connection over the SSH port 22. Unlike the standard FTP transfer, the SFTP connection has encrypted commands and data channels, which prevent the passwords and the sensitive information from being transmitted insecurely over the network. Except for the method of connecting, the SFTP is functioning similarly to the common FTP service. In order to utilize an SFTP connection, you need an SFTP-enabled FTP client and an SFTP compatible FTP server on the other side.

FTP over SSH

The FTP over SSH connection method is very similar to the commonly used FTP transfer. The main difference is that one of the TSP channels opened by the FTP service - the command channel, is tunneled by using a secure shell connection - SSH. The SSH protects only the command connection, while the data transfer channel stays unprotected.


The FTP over SSL, also known as FTPS, FTP Secure and FTP-SSL, is an extension to the commonly used FTP protocol, which enables the usage of TLS and SSL cryptographic protocols. When an FTPS connection is established, TLS/SSL encryption is used to protect the connection between your FTP client and the FTP server. TLS stands for "Transport Layer Security," and SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer." TLS is a newer version of the SSL protocol. The FTPS secures both your FTP account data and the files which are transferred during the FTP transfer session. It prevents the command and data transfer channels from being captured or stolen as they travel over the network.

FXP (File eXchange Protocol)

The FXP (File eXchange Protocol) is an FTP transfer method which uses the FTP protocol to transfer files from one remote server to another without routing this data through the client's connection. Unlike with the conventional FTP which involves a single server and a single client, with the FXP transfer all the data is transmitted between two FXP-enabled FTP hosts. To open an FXP session, you need an FXP-enabled FTP client which maintains a standard FTP connection to two servers, and which can direct either server to connect to the other to initiate a data transfer. The advantage of using the FXP over FTP is evident when a high-bandwidth server demands resources from another high-bandwidth server, but only a low-bandwidth client, such as a network administrator working away from location, has the authority to access the resources on both servers.

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