File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP is a protocol used to transfer data over the Internet (as is HTTP
and SMTP). It gets its name from its usage to move files between
servers. If you need to move a large file or document, FTP is most
certainly the way to go. FTP is a two-way protocol in that you can
both send and receive files and control both processes.
How It Works
When you run an FTP program, you simply tell it which server to connect
to and it does. Sometimes, you have to enter a specific login and
password. Other times you can log in with anonymous and an
e-mail address. Once you are logged in, you are presented with a
directory structure that you have access to. You can navigate the
directory structure and depending on the system, pull files off the
server or put files on to the server (get and
put). The files will then be copied from one location to
the other (typically, from the server to your hard drive). It's
analogous to copying files from one directory or folder on your
computer to another, except that one of the folders could be on a
server three thousand miles away.
What You Need
FTP requires a client on your machine that you use to connect to the
server. Windows and Mac customers can use Web browsers such as Internet
and Netscape Navigator to transfer files via the FTP protocol by simply
typing ftp://'firstname.lastname@example.org in the browser's address bar.
Once the user has logged in with the password for the account, files
can be easily transferred to the server with a simple drag and drop
or copy and paste.