What Is FTP And What Is It For?

By Tanner Abraham •  Updated: 08/06/22 •  4 min read

FTP is short for File Transfer Protocol. If you are familiar with the world of computing or web hosting, you have surely heard of this term on occasion.

This will make it likely that you know what it is for, but it may also be the case that you don’t know how it works or what it is used for. We are going to try to answer all of this in the following lines. FTP is a file transfer protocol, that is, a system used to transfer files from one computer to another.

It is based on client-server architecture. This means that a person is capable of uploading or downloading files that are located on another remote server, resorting to Internet transfers. In addition, it is possible to carry out the exchange of these files without needing to have the same operating system.

To better understand what it is, you need to know what a protocol is. A protocol is a series of rules that are focused so that an action or task can be carried out in an appropriate manner. Its objective is to allow the circulation of data according to a series of rules.

When it is necessary to use an FTP protocol

When you want to create, for example, a web page, for the installation of a CMS or to upload a template to it, you can use the FTP protocol for it. Depending on the hosting you have contracted, you can carry out the same process by other means, but FTP is always a possibility.

Keep in mind that it is not only used for the field of web pages, but you can have a cloud storage service. In this way you can upload and download the data you consider in a fast and comfortable way.

What is an FTP client

An FTP client is a software program that allows a user to connect to a computer or service that is located in a remote location. To do this, it makes use of the well-known FTP protocol, so that files can be exchanged between both computers.

It is called a client because it is the software in charge of requesting or uploading the files. They are frequently used to access corporate servers within a company. In addition, also to be able to exchange files for the cases already mentioned. Keep in mind that the FTP client will only be able to access the folders based on their permissions. The best known FTP client is Filezilla, although there are many others. These types of applications require the introduction of a series of data that must be provided by the file host and that correspond to the server.

These data are the following:  server address, username and password. Once these data are known, they will be able to connect to the server. Through this type of software it will be possible to carry out the exchange of files in a fast and very comfortable way.

What is an FTP server

The FTP server, meanwhile, is a program that is installed on a server. The latter is nothing more than a computer that has special specifications and is permanently connected to the internet.

The mission of this is to be the provider of files for other computer equipment, allowing access to upload or download files stored on it. Usually, this type of server is used as a web storage service. These way users can upload or download files to their account.

How to create an FTP account

In the vast majority of hosting that you can contract through the network, you will find an FTP account that will be available and that will have been created by default. However, it may be the case that this is not the case or that you simply want to create another account to give certain people access to the accommodation.

For this reason, we will briefly explain how this process is carried out. To do this you must go to the hosting control panel, be it panel, Pay…, accessing it and trying to find the option called “FTP Accounts” or similar.

After clicking on this option you will find yourself with the need to enter a username and password and the size of the account (quota). Once these data have been filled in for the new FTP account, it will be enough to click on “Create FTP account” and it will be available.

From that moment on, or if the provider itself has provided it to you at the beginning, you will be able to access the server with your data with the FTP software that you use from your computer. So you can upload and upload files very comfortably from your computer.

Tanner Abraham

Data Scientist and Software Engineer with a focus on experimental projects in new budding technologies that incorporate machine learning and quantum computing into web applications.