Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

Short for File Transfer Protocol, FTP is the most common way of sending and receiving files between two computers. An example of how FTP is used today is by web developers, who connect to their web server using an FTP client or FTP program (e.g., FileZilla) to send (upload) updated versions of a web page.

FTP login and security

Although many FTP servers require logins, many FTP servers also allow anonymous FTP login, which only require a username and e-mail with no password. It is also important to realize that FTP is insecure. When your username and password are sent to the server they're both sent as plaintext and could be intercepted and read. If your server supports SFTP or FTP with TLS encryption, we suggest one of them instead of plain FTP to help keep your information private.

What port is FTP?

FTP uses network ports 20 and 21. Below are other ports that may be used by other types of FTP.

  • BFTP uses port 152
  • FTP over TSL/SSL uses ports 989 and 990
  • NI FTP uses port 47
  • RSFTP uses port 26
  • SFTP uses port 115
  • TFTP uses port 69,

FTP history

Short for File Transfer Protocol, FTP was first proposed on April 16, 1971 by Abhay Bhushan for and developed for implementation on hosts at MIT. FTP was later defined by RFC 959 that was published in 1985.

Computer acronyms, File transfer, FileZilla, FSP, HTTP, Internet terms, Network terms, Port, Protocol, SFTP, TFTP, Web design terms