The File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which was born long before today’s online storage systems, allows files to be sent to the web. With it, it is possible to transfer or receive documents from the Grande Rede through an address in the browser or through software installed on the PC.
Although it is a little old system, it is still very useful, especially for those who have virtual disks on the internet or sites with hosting systems.
What is FTP?
In general, FTP is a type of connection that allows the exchange of files between two computers connected to the internet or the storage of files on a server – something similar to what we currently do with cloud systems.
And what would a server be?
The FTP server allows access to a hard disk or file server created using an FTP protocol, being responsible for storing information or data sent by the user. In summary, while FTP is a protocol for transporting and delivering files, the server is characterized as a virtual environment manageable by software installed on the computer.
How did FTP come about?
The system was created in the 1970s, when computing was still in its infancy. The person responsible for the idea was electrical engineering student Abhay Bhushan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The objective of the creation was to enable a secure transfer of files between computers and servers of the ARPANET Network Control Program, a pioneering model – and, by the way, very archaic – of the internet that we know today.
Over the years, the system has undergone numerous changes and improvements, but it was the arrival of home computers that implemented the biggest upheaval in its use, which started to be geared especially towards sharing content over the network by users.
What is it for?
Although it serves for storing and transferring light files, it is especially useful for handling large volumes of data, so it could be used, for example, to create a website with programming resources that occupy multiple pages of a language script. It would also be an interesting tool in projects that require working together, since the system establishes communication between the machines and the server on which the files are stored.
The FTP protocol is also used in some everyday activities, such as accessing a website. This is because such action requires the machine to ask the hosting server for permission to download data from that page. Only then is it possible to view the available content. But it is worth remembering that, before that, someone had already sent this information to the server via FTP, allowing anyone to access it.
How to use the system?
To create an FTP, it is necessary to download a program such as Guild FTP and follow the instructions for installation and use. The procedure is simple and quick. Among the most famous programs are Filezilla and SmartFTP for Windows; Cyberduck, compatible with Mac; and Kasablanca for Linux. Although each has its specificities, they all follow the same logic: just enter the server’s IP, login and password. That done, they establish an automatic connection, allowing the user to see all the hosted files and send new documents to the server.
This system also allows access to a disk that has already been created and that has been shared with the user. In that case, it is possible to use software as explained or simply log on to the web. If you prefer the last alternative, type “ftp: // ip number” (without quotes) in the browser; then, a prompt will ask for login and password. Just provide the requested data and you’re done.
Finally, regarding file transfer, it should be noted that the process is similar to the transfer performed on the PC itself: intuitive and very practical. However, it ends up being a little longer because it is an operation on the internet.