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FTP vs HTTP | difference between FTP and HTTP

This page on FTP vs HTTP describes difference between FTP and HTTP. Also refer FTP vs SMTP which mentions difference between FTP and SMTP. Both are application level protocols supported by transport layer.


FTP PROTOCOL

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used to send/receive file from the remote computer. Files can also be attached to the email messages. This protocol helps download and upload files having huge size. It is defined in RFC959.

FTP establishes two connections between client system and server system, one for control information and the other for data to be transfered. Control information carry commands/response. Authentication need to be done initially by way of validating username and password. Once it is done files can be transferred between two systems.

FTP handles both binary and text format files. URL syntax of FTP protocol is described in RFC1738. The link starts with ftp as mentioned below.
FTP EXAMPLE:
ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Products/


HTTP PROTOCOL

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. It is the protocol used to access world wide web document from the server.

As we know that to locate any site on the web, we use a special address referred as a uniform resource locator(URL). For example a typical URL is:
HTTP EXAMPLE:
http://www.rfwireless-world.com/Tutorials/gsm-tutorial.html

The first part of the URL specifies the communication protocol to be used between the two systems, here it is http(hypertext transfer protocol).

HTTP EXAMPLE Description:
The www designates World Wide Web. 'rfwireless-world.com' part is referred as the domain or website. The item after slash(/) indicates a directory within the website software, here 'Tutorials' is a directory. The item 'gsm-tutorial.html' is the webpage within the 'Tutorials' directory. Most websites have multiple directories which houses webpages.

Other useful difference between FTP and HTTP protocols are mentioned in the following table:


Feature FTP HTTP
TCP Port Number 20 and 21 80 and 8080
RFC reference documents RFC959, RFC765, RFC1738 RFC2616, RFC7230 and RFC7231
Function of protocol Used to transfer files from remote computer after connection is established. Used to transfer web pages from remote server after internet connection is established.

RELATED LINKS

Basics of OSI and TCPIP layers
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FTP vs SMTP
FTP vs TFTP

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