What is an FTP Program?
Enabling the transfer of data throughout the Internet over a secure connection, FTP (an acronym for File Transfer Protocol) is the simplest, fastest and most limits-free way for users to move files from one computer to another. To make use of its power, users need to have a client-side FTP program installed on their end, and an FTP server program set on the other computer.
FTP Programs on the client's side
To take advantage of all the benefits provided by the FTP technology the users are recommended to use dedicated FTP programs, which are named 'FTP clients' in the language of the Internet. FTP services are also offered by some of the modern web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer, which makes them FTP programs too.
With an FTP program at hand, users can publish their web pages online, or download various data from the Internet by opening secure FTP connections between their computers and the servers where the uploaded/downloaded information is located. The majority of FTP programs available online offer quick and secure FTP transfer of users' files and are much preferred over browsers like Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc., which lack their capacity, stability and rich set of additional features. On the other hand, the Opera and Firefox browsers provide very stable and powerful FTP tools. Some of them are embedded in the browsers and offer only the basic features, while others are available as third-party add-ons and integrate feature-rich FTP clients in the browsers.
FTP Programs on the server's side
The FTP service is TCP-based and adopts the server-client model. We have already examined the FTP programs that work on the client's side and offer us FTP access. Now we will take a look at the server's side, which actually provides the service to the clients.
The most important component on the server's side is the FTP server software. This is an FTP program which runs as a system service and allows connections to shared files and folders. Also, this FTP program allows the server administrator to set different FTP accounts, which have access to all or to only a part of the shared content.
Another FTP program which runs on the server’s side is the FTP Proxy. Actually, the FTP Proxy is not a binding component of the FTP host server setup, but is a great secure improvement. It is nearly impossible to set up a really secure FTP server only by taking full advantage of all security features supported by your FTP server application. No matter whether you use a commercial product or free FTP software, there are vulnerabilities that may come to light and that can expose your FTP server to attack. In order to secure your FTP connection and to ensure your server, you can run an FTP proxy on your firewall. The FTP proxy will let your firewall act as an intermediary in all FTP transactions. This will increase your protection against buffer overflows and many other kinds of FTP attacks. It also allows you to restrict the FTP commands executed by the FTP clients.
Recommended FTP programs
Using an FTP program you can perform limitless file transfer operations (uploads and downloads), without worrying about the files' size and number while an FTP server connection is taking place. Moreover, in recent years the popular FTP clients have been packed with a wealth of useful add-on features such as automatic update of uploaded modified files, removal of obsolete folders and files, visual directory comparison, thumbnail display of images, just to mention a few.
We, at NTC Hosting, are running an advanced FTP service based on the widely used FTPProD open source FTP server software. Our FTP setup is tested and compatible with all popular FTP clients in both active and passive mode. To all our web hosting customers we recommend and provide download links to some of the best FTP programs:
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