What Does FTP Stand For

router with LED lights

If you spend much time working online, you'll probably find yourself wondering, "What does FTP stand for?"

What is FTP?

"What does FTP stand for?" The answer to this question is file transfer protocol'. This literal explanation of the acronym FTP still doesn't explain exactly what it does or why you'd need to utilize one. Understanding the concept of FTP goes way beyond simply knowing what the initials represent.

The phrase File Transfer Protocol refers to a specific way, or protocol, to transfer files between two servers, and is commonly used in web development to move files from one computer to a server, website, or another computer. FTP transfer is platform independent, meaning that files can easily be transferred between servers or computers regardless of the operating system each one is using.

Typically, FTP is used to facilitate the transfer of files between computers via the Internet. Even though FTP commonly facilitates transfer through the Internet, but can also be used over different types of networks. When used as a verb, the acronym FTP refers to the act of transferring files using a File Transfer Protocol process.

Terminology Related to FTP

Anonymous FTP

When data are transferred via anonymous FTP, security is an issue. With an anonymous File Transfer Protocol, the information is transferred without benefit of a password or login, which means that it would be very easy for someone other than the intended recipient to intercept the transmission.

FTP Client

In order to FTP a file, you'll need to use an FTP client program. This program will begin the process of connecting to a remote FTP server. Many network operating systems have built in FTP clients, and there are also a number of shareware FTP clients that are relatively easy to use.

FTP Server

When a server is dedicated fully or primarily to being used to facilitate file transfers, it is referred to as an FTP server. Many webmasters subscribe to an FTP server to facilitate uploading photos, PDF files, and other types of documents to their web servers. Most hosting companies provide subscribers with FTP access.

Beyond What Does FTP Stand For: How Does it Work?

To FTP a file, you'll need to use an FTP client to access an FTP server. The FTP client is able to identify the FTP server based on it's IP address, which is how you can be certain you're connecting to the right server when using this protocol to transfer files.

Assuming you're not using an anonymous FTP, you'll need a username and password to connect to the remote computer. Once you've established a connection to the FTP server, you'll be able to upload files from your computer or server to the FTP server. You can do this one file at a time, or you can upload groups of files at the same time.

Once your files are uploaded to the FTP server, they can be transferred to another server, website, or computer.

Common Uses for FTP

In web design, FTP is commonly used to transfer files from the developer's computer or network to the web server. Photos, for example, aren't placed directly in web pages. Instead, they are uploaded to an FTP server, where they can then be linked to a website. Affiliate program advertisements and banner ads are also accessed via FTP. When you copy code for an affiliate banner into your website, you aren't placing the image directly on your web page. Instead, the code points to an image stored on an FTP server.

Learning More About File Transfer Protocol

If you're interested in learning more about what FTP is and how to use it, see the following resources:

What Does FTP Stand For