FTP is a way to transfer files online. You
might think of the sites you visit in your browser as “the internet,”
but your browser only uses one protocol: HTTP. There are many others
protocols that, collectively, make up the internet. IMAP and POP, for
instance, are two protocols that email clients use to send and receive
messages. XMPP is a protocol used to send and receive instant messages.
FTP is another such protocol.
FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol.” It’s
also one of the oldest protocols in use today, and is a convenient way
to move files around. An FTP server offers access to a directory, with
sub-directories. Users connect to these servers with an FTP client, a
piece of software that lets you download files from the server, as well
as upload files to it.
Many internet users will never have any use
for FTP, but if you’re building a website, it’s an essential tool. And
because it’s such a fundamental tool on the web, it’s worth knowing
about even if you’re not a developer. So, here’s everything the average
internet user needs to know about FTP and how to use it.