FTP: what it is and how to use the cloud storage system

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The FTP (File Transfer Protocol) system, which was born long before today’s online storage systems, allows files to be sent to the web. Through it, users can 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 somewhat old system, it is still very useful, especially for people who have virtual disks on the internet and for those who have websites 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 even the storage of files on a server – something similar to what we currently do with cloud storage systems. Now that you have a broad knowledge of the FTP system, you need to understand what your server is.

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 itself 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, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The objective of the creation was to enable a secure transfer of files between computers and the servers of the ARPANET Network Control Program, a pioneering model – and, by the way, quite archaic – of the internet that we know today.

Over the years, the system has undergone numerous changes and improvements. However, it was the arrival of home computers that implemented the biggest upheaval in their use, which became especially focused on sharing content over the network by users.

What is it for?

Well, you already know in general what the system is for, but what are its practical applications? Although it serves for storing and transferring light files, it is especially useful for handling large volumes of data. Therefore, 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.

And, ah, as a curiosity, the FTP protocol is also used in some daily activities, such as accessing a website on the internet. This is because, such action requires that the machine ask permission from the hosting server to download data from that page. Only through this, it is 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, which is compatible with the 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. Once this is done, the programs will establish an automatic connection, allowing the user to view all hosted files and send new documents to the server.

This system also allows you to access a disk that has already been created and that has been shared with you. In this case, it is possible to use software as explained above or simply log on to the web. If you prefer the latter, type “ftp: // ip number” in your browser. Then, a prompt will ask for your 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 internet operation.

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