File Transfer Protocol

n. a standard (RFC 959) establishing rules for copying files from one system to another


The FTP protocol negotiates the exchange of data between the systems and manages any differences in data structures on the systems. For example, FTP can move plain-ASCII text from a seven-bit to an eight-bit system without altering the content.


RFC 959, 1985The objectives of FTP are 1) to promote sharing of files (computer programs and/or data), 2) to encourage indirect or implicit (via programs) use of remote computers, 3) to shield a user from variations in file storage systems among hosts, and 4) to transfer data reliably and efficiently. FTP, though usable directly by a user at a terminal, is designed mainly for use by programs.