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FTP Access Explained

Web Hosting Article Details

FTP or File Transfer Protocol is an integral part of hosting and maintaining a website. This article explains all you need to know about FTP access, FTP server, FTP client and setting up an FTP client to maintain your website.

What is FTP?

FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. It is a global standard or protocol for the transfer of files from one computer to another on the Internet. The most common application of FTP is the uploading of web pages to your website. There are also many FTP sites that allow you to download applications, games, etc., from the Internet to your computer.

What is FTP Access?

Usually, when you visit or browse a website, you send a request to the site’s server using another global standard protocol called HTTP or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. You need FTP access when you upload your website’s pages to the server or when you want to access an FTP site. FTP access is nothing but the way in which you connect to any site using FTP to transfer files to or from your website.

History of FTP

The first version of FTP was published in 1971, even before the birth of the Internet. In its initial days, FTP allowed the transfer of files over the Network Control Protocol or NCP. Originally, FTP was designed for the transfer of large volumes of data or bulk data transfers. This functionality of FTP holds true to this day on the Internet, where FTP is most commonly used for uploading and downloading web pages, songs and software programs.

How is FTP Used?

To use the FTP for accessing a site, you need to install some FTP software on your computer. This is called the FTP client. There are a number of free to use FTP client programs available online. Once downloaded, you will need to provide FTP access details like the FTP domain name, FTP username and FTP password to access your site by FTP. This is usually supplied to you by your web hosting company when you sign up for a web hosting account. Once it is set up with the correct information, the FTP client acts as the interface between you and the server and allows you to either download files from the server or upload files to the server using FTP.

What is an FTP Server?

An FTP server is a server that has been configured for FTP access by users. In other words, any server that allows you to upload and/or download files using FTP is an FTP server. Usually, an FTP server’s address looks something like: ftp.domainname.com. Most web hosting servers are FTP servers and your web hosting provider will provide you with FTP details to access this server when you sign up for a web hosting package.

What are the benefits of FTP access?

When accessed through HTTP or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, web pages are usually broken up into packets and transmitted as many small files. This ensures that parts of a page start loading on your machine even as other parts are still being downloaded. In turn, this reduces the time a user would have to wait before a web page was downloaded completely. On the other hand, when you are uploading or downloading files using FTP, it gets transmitted as one request resulting in a continuous transfer of data till the file is completely uploaded or downloaded. This speeds up the uploading or downloading of single files.

FTP access has today become quite simple. All you need for FTP access is your FTP address, user name and password and you are ready to go.

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