FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) are protocols used to transfer data over the Internet, but they serve different purposes and have different characteristics. FTP is a standard network protocol created in 1971 that is predominantly used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. The client initiates a connection with the server to obtain or upload files via FTP. FTP requires that the client and server establish two connections: one for data transmission and another for control (commands and responses).
In contrast, HTTP was created in 1989 and served as the basis for data communication on the World Wide Web. HTTP employs a request-response protocol in the client-server computing model, unlike FTP. A web browser is an example of a client, while an application on a computer that hosts a website is an example of a server. HTTP is stateless, meaning each command is executed independently and without knowledge of previous commands. FTP is typically used for direct file transfers between systems, whereas HTTP is used to transfer data as part of the World Wide Web’s architecture.
What is FTP?
FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is a network standard set up in 1971. It is used to send files from one computer to another over a TCP-based network, like the Internet. FTP is based on a client-server approach. To download or upload files, the client machine starts a connection to the server. FTP differs from web-based protocols like HTTP in that it is meant to help with uploading and downloading files. FTP uses two different channels: a data channel, which handles the actual file transfer, and a control channel, where the client and server communicate the state of operations and any commands to be run.
FTP sessions can work in active or passive mode, affecting the data connection. In active mode, the client opens a port so the server can connect to it and send data. The server lets the client link to it passively by opening a port. FTP authentication is usually done with pairs of usernames and passwords, which enables you to control who can view which files. Some FTP sites also let people log in anonymously. In short, FTP is a special protocol that is used to send files straight from one computer to another over a network. It has ways to keep control and data separate.
What is HTTP?
HTTP, which stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol,” is one of the most important protocols for sending and receiving data on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee made HTTP in 1989. It lets people share hypertext, structured text with logical links (called “hyperlinks”) between text nodes. In a client-server form of computing, HTTP works as a request-response protocol. Like a computer browser, a client sends a request to a server, usually the server for a website. The server then sends a response back to the client. The response has information about the request’s status and may also have the requested content.
One of HTTP’s most distinguishing characteristics is that it is stateless, meaning each request is handled independently of others and without reference to previously processed requests. This system works well for the Internet, where pages change constantly, and information is spread across many servers. HTTP uses different methods (like GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE) to do different things, like get, send, modify, or delete data. The protocol used to send data as raw text, but now HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP, uses SSL/TLS protocols to encrypt data to be transmitted safely. Because HTTPS is more secure, it has become the standard for most web interactions. In short, HTTP allows clients and servers to share information on the World Wide Web.
Difference Between FTP and HTTP
There are two main protocols for transferring data over the Internet: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). FTP’s client-server architecture makes it ideal for exchanging data between computers. It has two connections, one for controlling it and one for transferring data. On the other hand, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) makes the World Wide Web possible by allowing clients (such as web browsers) to communicate with servers and exchange hypertext and other data. Each request is handled separately, and the system functions on a stateless, request-response model. We’ve outlined the key differences between FTP and HTTP below.
While HTTP is meant to promote communication between web browsers and servers to display web pages, FTP is designed to transfer files from one host to another.
For file transfer in both directions, FTP employs a client-server architecture. HTTP uses a request-response model to retrieve information for display in a web browser.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sets up two different channels, one for data (file transfers) and one for control (commands and responses). To send both commands and data, HTTP uses a single connection.
Because FTP keeps connection information between requests, it is considered stateful. Since HTTP does not keep track of user activity, it processes each request independently.
HTTP can be used with SSL/TLS (HTTPS) for secure data transfer, although FTP can be secure (FTPS or SFTP), but generally isn’t.
While HTTP is primarily used for downloading files and HTML pages, FTP enables both uploading and downloading files.
In contrast to HTTP, which is accessed by a file’s URL in a web browser, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers can either allow or require authentication.
While HTTP is better suited to quickly loading simple portions of websites, FTP is better suited to transmitting huge files.