Talk:File Transfer Protocol

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FTP is more secure than email[edit]

While some people claim that "FTP is no more secure than email", I beg to differ. In fact, rather than merely claim one thing is better than another, or claim they are the same, I'm going to explain why FTP is better than email:

The main reason FTP is better than email for sending files:

  • Many malicious people email me viruses or other malware, spoofing the source to make it appear to be a harmless file from someone I trust. After I find out that it is a malware, it is far too late to stop it from showing up in other people's in box. The people who I *thought* sent it can do nothing about it.
  • It is much more difficult to spoof a FTP site. Even if some malicious person does manage to get malware onto a FTP site and trick me into downloading it, I can inform the FTP site maintainers and they can do something about it, so other people are not harmed by it.

Another reason FTP is better than email for sending files:

  • Many people have email systems that have a relatively small amount of storage space. If you send them a short note telling them what FTP site to get your file from, they will read your note and can get the file when they are ready to receive it. If, on the other hand, you attach the file to the message, there is a far higher chance that it will not fit in their remaining storage space, so the message will be bounced back to you, and they will never see any message from you.
  • Some people are so sick of viruses that they set up the mail system to either (a) completely rejects any email with an attachment, or (b) chop off all attachments, letting the text of the email through.

Is there any reason not to move this conversation to file transfer ? -- 20:09, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


Hi Everyone, I have a question. Is there any limit on the file size that can be transferred through FTP??

No. In future though, see Wikipedia:Reference desk for questions like this. I could be wrong, after all. :) — Saxifrage 23:28, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
The protocol itself imposes no standards. Most FTP server software will work with any file size without a problem, but some FTP client software will "time out" on long transfers. Notably, Internet Explorer (up through version 6, anyway) is really bad at big FTP transfers; use a "real client" instead. Rpresser 23:32, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Anonymous FTP ?[edit]

I don't understand, in the article, why trivial FTP or Gopher are "alternatives" to anonymous FTP. How do those address the issues against anonymous FTP? And isn't TFTP only useful in a local network since it doesn't use the reliable TCP? —Długosz

TFTP and Gopher each use a single TCP connection instead of two in the way that FTP does. In situations where anonymous FTP would be used, but might be obstructed due to firewall issues because of the dual connection requirement, TFTP or Gopher can supply the same service -- anonymously retrieving a file without authentication -- to get around the firewall issue.
TFTP can theoretically work wherever UDP works, but you are correct, it is usually only useful on high speed LANs, though this is more due to latency issues -- TFTP only transmits one packet at a time, then waits for acknowledgement, much like the old XMODEM protocol for modems -- rather then because of reliability problems.dc


It seems that it is impossible to upload a file with FTP and retain the original file Date/TimeStamp. I have just wasted a half day trying every possible way. It would be helpful if the article said so in plain terms. And it would be helpful if anyone who knows could at least explain here why there would be such a limitation, and what ways there might be to get around it. I guess one could zip files into an archive and transfer them that way... But I don't know how to get them unpacked at the other end. What a big nuisance! This should be added to the "Criticisms of FTP", by someone who knows more than I do... 01:43, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

This ability was not thought important when the FTP protocol was standardized. There is an extension that handles it, draft-somers-ftp-mfxx-01:
"These extensions provide the ability for a FTP Client to modify the last modification time, the creation time, or multiple facts (last modification time, creation time, operating system permissions, etc.) of a file in the server-FTP process NVFS. These extensions are implemented by three new optional commands: 'MFMT' (Modify File Modification Time), 'MFCT' (Modify File Creation Time), and 'MFF' (Modify File Facts)."
However since it is an extension and not the original protocol, servers are not obligated to support this. I've just tested and found that IIS 6 (Windows Server 2003) does not support it, nor does my installation of Fedora Core 4. But a quick web search shows a lot of talk about it, so maybe it's spreading. You can test if the destination server supports it by sending the literal command "HELP MFMT" to the server; your ftp client should have a way to send literal commands to the server. The built-in Windows commandline client ftp.exe does this using the "quote" verb, so you'd type "quote HELP MFMT" after logging in.
Other file transfer methods, like rsync, rcp, scp, sftp are more likely to preserve file facts, though they're also harder to find in the wild. Then there's always WebDAV, which is practically a filesystem. Rpresser 15:23, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank You, Thank You, Rpresser!! 12:17, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
The Rcp (Unix) article is a 3-sentence stub -- please help it if you can! 12:25, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

History of FTP[edit]

I'd really like to see a history of FTP--it's predecessors, the team that lead its development, etc. I'm not knowledgeable enough abouot the issue to do it myself.--Sludge 20:21, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Seconded. I'd like to see a brief synopsis of FTP history (e.g., adoption was before or after the http?) --Anon, June '09 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Along similar lines, from the dates in this article and the articles on the history of the Internet and IP it looks like FTP predates IP. If so how did it work originally? (talk) 17:11, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
How did FTP work before TCP/IP? It work over TCP/IP's predecessor - NCP. (talk) 08:34, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Removal of 'Technological obsolescence'[edit]

I ( 21:07, 5 May 2007 (UTC)) just removed the recently added 'Technological obsolescence' section for the following reasons:

  • Repeated information already mentions elsewhere in the article
  • "Although FTP may never become extinct on the Internet, it could be replaced by a BitTorrent (but trackerless) style uploading and downloading protocol in the next 20 years."

Bittorent(-like) protocols serve different purposes than FTP

  • "An encrypted segmented transfer protocol would allow for terabyte sized data transfers with point to point authentication.", "FTP, unlike a lot of modern segmented downloading protocols -- handles file authentication very poorly."

Authentication and integrity are different things

  • "Segmented downoading and uploading is not possible"

Download is possible (client uses REST command, just closes connection after receiving enough data), upload not.

  • "Full support for UTF-8 filenames is variable"

"Full support for UTF-16 filenames almost non-existant" UTF-8 and UTF-16 encode the same set of characters, so lack of UTF-16 is hardly fatal.


How about a section on the history of FTP? Who developed it, how did it become popular, etc?
I know, I know: Be Bold. Unfortunately, I have several other projects on my desk, plus a moderately-extensive watchlist, so I'm not really likely to have time/resources to address this any time in the foreseeable future. Please feel free to charge ahead, someone, and add a little about the origins of FTP.
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 11:24, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

PASV mode in Loopback?[edit]

Is there any reason for the PASV response being "227 Entering Passive Mode (127,0,0,1,78,52)", using the loopback ( interface. I think this should be changed to some IP like wikipedia one: (66,230,200,100,78,52). The loopback response may create some confusion like "is 127,0,0,1 a default response for every request?". -- Edans Sandes 13:55, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Strange sentence[edit]

FTP servers can be set up anywhere between game servers, voice servers, internet hosts, and other physical servers.

What does this mean? Shinobu (talk) 09:34, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

unique/static IP required for anonymous ftp??[edit]

Many webhosts claim that a unique IP is required to set up an anonymous ftp server. It is never explained why a static IP is necessary. Can the article address this point? Why can't we have anonymous download from an ftp server with a shared IP? Thanks. AugustinMa (talk) 09:27, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, as long as both client and server recognize each other IP for the whole length of an ftp session, the server can serve the client. Just follow the actions during an ftp session to see where each party must know the exact IP of the other. Other then that, the server can live in any IP. It also could change its IP from time to time. webhosts tend to use shortcuts for different reasons. (talk) 17:16, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Opening paragraph still confusing for the general reader[edit]

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a network protocol used to transfer data from one computer to another through a network, such as the Internet. FTP is a file transfer protocol for exchanging and manipulating files over any TCP-based computer network. A FTP client may connect to a FTP server to manipulate files on that server. As there are many FTP client and server programs available for different operating systems, FTP is a popular choice for exchanging files independent of the operating systems involved.

OK, that's fine as far as it goes. But if someone who knows little about computers - but has heard FTP servers referred to as "useful", and just wants to check what they are and what they can do - then they need to be able to read a brief explanation. The existing opening para isn't one...

For instance, if there was a sentence along the lines of: "Some examples of commonly-used client software would be Bittorrent, [a couple of others]. These pieces of software download data - which could be film, still images, a word-processed document, or any kind of file - using FTP."

If there was something like that in there, then it would be much clearer what FTP is actually for. As it stands, it just seems to be an abstract, technical thing.

Maybe it's just me. That's why I haven't edited it myself - firstly, not sure if it's as big a problem as I think: secondly, don't want to get involved in an edit war with anyone who disagrees. :-)


WikiReaderer (talk) 17:21, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

That's getting into guidebook territory. Mentioning particular modern clients is inappropriate considering that a) FTP is nowhere near as broadly-used by average Internet users as it once was and b) the technology is decades old. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:09, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to try to fix this. I agree that I don't think I should add particular uses, because that can be seen as biased. I can however add several FTP clients and software to the see also section. What do you think? 麦泽聪 (talk) 20:54, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Active mode without PORT command ?[edit]

According to RFC 959, PORT command is not needed because "There are defaults for both the user and server data ports, and under normal circumstances this command and its reply are not needed." but this fact is never mentioned in the article (talk) 08:35, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Those defaults are partially mentioned. Quoting the Communication and data transfer subsection

In active modes, the client starts listening for incoming data connections on port N+1 from the server

Here is the default for the client port. The default for the server port, 20, indeed not mentioned. But not saying anything about it, some might think that it is a fixed port. By the way, the following from text comment to the sentence I just quoted, namely

(the client sends the FTP command PORT N+1 to inform the server on which port it is listening)

is a bit odd. Why should the client announce something the server can calculate by itself? The answer is, probably:
  1. N+1 is the default.
  2. The client might tell another port.
Is that apparent from the text?
To conclude, I think the subsection should be rephrased. (talk) 17:55, 27 March 2015 (UTC)


The tutorial information in the article have been moved to b:Communication Networks/File Transfer Protocol. Ftiercel (talk) 13:59, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Citing for FTP article[edit]

To All,

I am editing this article for a class that requires me to use APA citation. When citing in text, I saw Uncle Bubba's revisions. Thank you, I didn't realize that the middle of the page was messed up. That is my mistake. In terms of citing, is it acceptable if I cite like this:

FTP is awesome (Clark, p.23)<ref>APA STYLE CITATION</ref>


FTP is awesome <ref>Clark, p.23</ref>

Thank you for your help. I plan on making the majority of my small changes and many citations later today. Hope to see your reply soon.

-- 麦泽聪 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 麦泽聪 (talkcontribs) 15:01, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

In short, in-line citations are gross (personal opinion) and I don't believe they are allowed.
Your second example is better but I believe many people would want to see the name of the publication, not just the author.
While I'm not a Wiki-expert, I believe citations should look similar to one of the following
 <ref>"My Great Citation". Retrieved 2009-09-15. </ref>
 <ref>By Sharon Krum, Women's Weekly, December 2005.</ref>
 <ref>Liz Smith (journalist), 'Name of the Article', New York Post, November 2, 2006.</ref>
REMEMBER: You can name citations so they can be defined once and used multiple times. Just add a name=something after the ref tag, like this:
 <ref name="Splat">Dummy, Crash Test (March 30, 2009). "Driving Cars Into Brick Walls". Highway Adventures 666 (13). </ref>
THEN, if you want to reference it again, you can use something like:
 <ref name="Splat"/>
Your really should "Edit this page" so you can see the original text of these tags.
I hope this helps! Good luck with your paper!
UncleBubba (Talk) 22:12, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I have improved the syntax. Ftiercel (talk) 07:09, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the replies. The multiple tags to a single reference helps a great deal. Thanks again and please feel free to post any suggestions you have for me in changing the style of my references. I don't want to have anyone have to go through the trouble of correcting my work in the article if I made the mistake. 麦泽聪 (talk) 16:07, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Removed "an example of this is the FTP server of the National Center for Biotechnology Information"[edit]

This was a reference to a specific example of an anonymous FTP site. Because of possible bias, and lack of diversity, I added a site that lists many anonymous FTP sites, but the site was updated in 2003. After looking at the site, I was able to access several sites. I liked this because a user can now see different examples of anonymous FTP. The trade off is there may be several broken links since the site is outdated. Any suggestions?

麦泽聪 (talk) 12:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know about everyone else, but I don't think we should be publishing the specifics of any server, especially without permission from its admins and owners. This could even be tortious and might expose WP to legal liability. Is it really buying us anything? Why take the chance? UncleBubba (Talk) 20:36, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

The site I posted just shows the URL to certain sites, but I completely agree with you. Why take the chance, especially because no one really is learning anything from going to the site. If anything, I'm thinking about maybe linking a picture of someone accessing an FTP site to this article. This is a very minor goal for me, so feel free to shoot it down.

麦泽聪 (talk) 00:42, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

References for URL syntax[edit]

I've added/replaced the references to URL syntax in the Web browser support section with a more generally authoritative reference to the relevant RFC (1738). UncleBubba (Talk) 20:36, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Excellent addition!! I just re-cited your source to APA format. I was told in class that APA format is widely adopted. For the project, I have to change all sources to APA format. What I am removing is "Tim Berners-Lee, CERN; Larry Masinter, Xerox PARC; Mark McCahill, Univ of Minnesota (December 1994). "RFC1738 - Uniform Resource Locators (URL)". Retrieved 2010-04-17. ". I'll be happy to add this back in after my project is over, if you feel that is necessary, as well as re-cite any of my sources. Thanks again!

麦泽聪 (talk) 00:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Removed references to FONC and FTPSSH Proxy[edit]

I removed two references to the above to mentioned programs in the article. Instead I have included hyperlinks in the article text. If there are any problems with this please feel free to reply to this post and I can fix it. Thank you.

麦泽聪 (talk) 19:41, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Please include an explanation for non-computer geeks.[edit]


I'm seeking information on FTP on Wikipedia because I want to start understanding FTP. And, I wish it would start out with a "non-techy" explanation. The info contained here is the same techy explanation I've read on FTP pages. Isn't making things clear to average Joe's what Wiki is all about?

Joe O (talk) 14:24, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


REST should be in there, I don't know what it means although -Zack3rdbb 21:56, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

There are many missing standard and non standard commands . 09:27, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

um, what about chmod ? is it non-rfc? even though, i think it should be listed, in additin, anything like chgrp used by some/any ftp servers?-- 11:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
chmod and chgrp have nothing to do with FTP, they're UNIX commands, and can be used remotely over SSH. You can use them with some SFTP clients, but not over FTP. Kankkis (talk) 19:50, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Maybe its a good idea to point out that ther is no specification for the output of the LIST command (if indeed this is the case)? 11:39, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Maybe the list should be presented as a table? That way you could remove all of the "(not RFC959)" notes, and just change the background color of the cell. It looks a bit confusing now, since about a third of the commands aren't RFC959. I don't know how to make a table in wiki, but I'm willing to learn if people agree that a table would be better. Kankkis (talk) 19:50, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

commands from cmd[edit]

What is this: ! delete literal prompt send ? debug ls put status append dir mdelete pwd trace ascii disconnect mdir quit type bell get mget quote user binary glob mkdir recv verbose bye hash mls remotehelp cd help mput rename close lcd open rmdir (talk) 15:28, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

propose merge[edit]

A list, almost identical to this one, is already contained in the main article about FTP. I think it should either (1) be removed from there and link here, or (2) this article should be merged with it (which might not be a bad idea, since many people looking for FTP might actually want to look up a specific command). PizzaMan (talk) 12:24, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

It was removed from FTP a few months ago. RossPatterson (talk) 00:35, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

It was merged.--Wipsenade (talk) 11:43, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

It went here, oh and I'm not a geek!--Wipsenade (talk) 11:47, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

This is HowTo information, which is purpose of Wikibooks. Many users search this type of information here but they should purchase it on the Wikibooks. It should be only on this page. Ftiercel (talk) 07:36, 6 October 2010 (UTC)


The content of §3, "Security" and §8, "Secure FTP" discusses nearly the same thing. Additionally, there is no mention in the cited RFCs (that I've found) of "Explicit FTPS", etc. We're gonna need to see some accurate citations for that or the article text is gonna have to be changed.

I'm also not quite sure I believe the so-called "implicit" protocols (using the 9xx ports, I believe) are truly "deprecated".

I really don't want to hack up the article without some consensus but, on the other hand, I can't stand hearsay and guesswork promulgated as "fact"--especially when it's demonstrably incorrect.

Anyone have any thoughts/comments? Thanks! — UncleBubba T @ C ) 03:56, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Many citations in Protocol overview[edit]

Hello, I come from the german wikipedia and I'm a bit confused of the many many citations in the section Protocol overview of the article. Is it the normal style here at to place references after every single sentence? With the many citations that reffer to one ore two single sources it's not much fun to read that section of the article. Any problems if I clean the up a bit? Regards --Mlorer (talk) 11:20, 27 January 2012 (UTC)


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WikiProject icon A version of this article was copy edited by a member of the Guild of Copy Editors. The Guild welcomes all editors with a good grasp of English and Wikipedia's policies and guidelines to help in the drive to improve articles. Visit our project page if you're interested in joining! If you have questions, please direct them to our talk page.

Richard asr (talk) 18:03, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Reverted Merge[edit]

I have reverted the merge of the FTP commands to this page and restored the List of FTP commands; this is in accordance with the result of the deletion discussion here. As regards the previous discussion of the merge, I feel it was premature to merge the list to the main article, especially given that the associated List of FTP server return codes was not merged. The initial merge discussion above took place before the AFD; there was no discussion at all after the AFD and the article was summarily merged.Vulcan's Forge (talk) 01:26, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Indefinite article[edit]

See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User: 109.77.xx.xx and the indefinite article and Talk:XMPP#Please discuss changes to the indefinite article. Andrewa (talk) 15:11, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Need some specific info on proper server responses for various FTP client commands.[edit]

For each possible client command, I would like to know the proper server response. I'm creating my own FTP server software and want to know EXACTLY the signal that the server should send when the client calls PASV. I know it should contain the IP address and the port of the file server, but what is the format of that response? Is it "227" or is it something else? Please post this kind of info here on Wikipedia. I can't find this specific info anywhere on the net. Animedude5555 (talk) 22:56, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

some correction is needed>>>>>>>>>>>>> — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 1 June 2014 (UTC)