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FTP Web Hosting

File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is a tool used to transfer data using the Internet. Because FTP has become so common, it is critical that even novice web developers understand the differences between FTP web hosting, FTP clients, FTP servers and FTP commands.

File Transfer Protocol, abbreviated FTP, is a method for transferring data from computer to computer through a network - often, the Internet. FTP can name a server software which allows files to be uploaded and downloaded, as well as web-browser FTP programs and software applications, some of which are free and others of which are commercial. FTP web hosting allows you to store and share files on the Internet with easy access for yourself and others.

There are now a variety of ways to upload and download files, of which FTP is just one method, but it remains an important and convenient one. There are broadly two methods of server access: one requires a username and password that act as credentials to limit access. However, anonymous FTP allows for access without any credentials.

It is safer to use FTP versions that include enhancements with SSL (Secure Socket Layer), TLS (Transport Layer Security), or Kerberos, to make file transfer more secure. Such enhancements are referred to as SFTP for SSH File Transfer Protocol (SSH is Secure Shell) and FTPS for FTP over SSL.

Finding FTP Web Hosting

FTP web hosting can have a variety of components:

  • FTP Server
  • FTP Client
  • FTP Web Hosting
  • FTP-specific storage space

Many FTP clients are platform specific (for example, Transmit by Panic is for Mac only, as Panic only designs Mac software), so you need to make your choices with your equipment in mind. Tucows.com is a good place to find FTP client ratings. Choose your OS on the tab and search for "FTP client ratings." You will also be well-advised to look into the safety issues raised above.

Also, as with other web hosting situations, you need to be certain that the amount of storage and bandwidth are suitable for your purposes, and find out what happens in the case of overage for either. If you try to load a file that goes over your limit, will it load? Will it fail? Will you incur a charge? Will your account automatically be bumped up to a higher level of usage (and cost)? These are questions to ask prior to beginning your account.

Reliability, redundancy, and support are other areas worth taking a good look at. People usually value their stored files and want to know that they can be restored in the event of a hard disk failure or other error or problem, and that both they and others accessing their site will not experience long delays or slow upload and/or download times.

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