In This Chapter
Figuring out the basics of FTP
Setting up an FTP server
Retrieving files from an FTP server
Using FTP commands
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the basic method for exchanging files over the Internet. If you need to access files from someone’s FTP site, this chapter shows you how to do so by using a web browser or a command line FTP client. If you need to set up your own FTP server to share files with other users, this chapter shows you how to do that, too.
FTP is as old as the Internet. The first versions of FTP date to the early 1970s, and even the current FTP standard (RFC 959) dates to 1985. You can use FTP with the command line FTP client (which has a decidedly 1980s feel to it), or you can access FTP sites with most modern web browsers if you prefer a graphic interface. Old computer hounds prefer the FTP command line client, probably for nostalgic reasons.
In spite of its age, FTP is still commonly used on the Internet. For example, InterNIC (the organization that manages Internet names) maintains an FTP site at