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FTP vs HTTP. File Transfer Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol

Today we will see what exactly is FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and how does it compare to the newer protocol called HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). They both can perform similar tasks, and you can see them both still in use. But is it one of them better? Let’s compare FTP vs HTTP


FTP is an old protocol, still from the age without a graphical interface. Abhay Bhushan first published it on 16.04.1971. You can access it through the command-line, or through a modern graphical interface. There are options that integrate it inside programs for web admins.
FTP transfer files by using the TCP. It needs to establish two connections, the data connection on port 20 and the second is control information on port 21.
You can use FTP if you are trying to install WordPress or another CMS on your web hosting. You can also use it to back up your website and download a copy of it to your computer. Less and less, people are using it to transfer files between them. The cloud solutions are making FTP absolute.


You are probably familiar with this protocol. The whole World Wide Web runs on it. The creator of it is the famous father of the internet – Tim Berners-Lee. He developed it back in 1989 in CERN. Just like the FTP, HTTP also uses a client-server model. When you use your web browser and type an URL, you will use HTTP over TCP/IP (port 80). That way, you send a HTTP request to get the desired website (text, images, videos and all other kinds of content). The web server will give you back the answer with the desired web page (all files on it).


Both are part of the application layer that combines communication protocols and interface methods. Here we will see how they are different.

You can use HTTP to view websites and the FTP just for transferring files.

The client for HTTP is the browser (Chrome, Opera, etc.) and for the FTP is the command-line.

Both can be used to admin a website, but HTTP is more popular. Just in some cases, the FTP can be more appropriate.

It is believed that FTP is more efficient for larger files, while the HTTP is better for smaller. FTP doesn’t send meta-data, just binary and the HTTP uses pipelining to organize the transfer of multiple files.


FTP vs HTTP is not really a question anymore. The internet has adopted the HTTP standard strongly, and there is no way to back. FTP is not a bad protocol, but HTTP can do almost everything it can. And the safer version HTTPS is the new must on any page. FTP is starting to have problems with some firewalls because of the port that it is using (some firewalls allow just the ports for HTTP and HTTPS). FTP will soon disappear, and it is ok to let it go.

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Tags: , , , , , , , Last modified: July 26, 2021