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The File Transfer Protocol is a protocol developed in the early 1980's for fast transfer of files from server to server. It is slowly becoming defunct but is still popular among certain hobbiest groups.

URI Scheme

The FTP Protocol follows a simple URI scheme:

ftp://[email protected]:21/directory

Many software programs are able to connect to FTP servers, such as Web Browsers. In addition, file managers (usually) have native FTP availability. Of course, there is always the ftp command.


In the official specification of the FTP Protocol, it uses a large amount of undefined words that are hard to find definitions for due to their obsolete nature. Due to the confusing terminology, many clients attempt to access ftp in different ways, thus making the entire FTP standard un-standardized.

Furthermore, even if it breaks it, the files transferred are converted to ASCII by default (NOTE: Most modern clients switch to bin mode by default, breaking the pseudo-standard). Many people have switched over to SSH transfers. Read GreyCat's Rant on the subject for more info.

FTP Links