What Is The Difference Between HTTP and FTP? The difference between HTTP and FTP is a very commonly asked question. In this post, we will look in detail into the definition of each transfer protocol, how it works, and the distinguishing factors. Both HTTP and FTP are the file transfer protocols that are used to transfer data between client and server. The function of HTTP is quite similar to what would happen if the operation of FTP and SMTP were combined. On the other hand, FTP comes to the rescue when there is an issue because the communicating client and the server have different configurations. The main point of difference here is that HTTP provides a web page on request from a web browser to a web browser. FTP helps upload or download file between the client and server.

HTTP or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. This allows for gaining access to data from the World Wide Web. Since it works in a manner that involves the combined function of SMTP and FTP, HTTP works somewhat similar to FTP. FTP and HTTP both use TCP. Where FTP uses several TCP connections, HTTP makes use of only one – the data connection. There is no specific Control Connection used with HTTP. It uses port number 80 while using TCP’s connection.

What Is The Difference Between HTTP and FTP?

HTTP messages are not something that can be deciphered and understood by humans. However, they are easily read by the web browser and the webserver. Instead of getting stored and latter getting forwarded, the HTTP messages are immediately delivered. The client-side sends a request to the webserver which then send this requested command in a response message. HTTP and FTP are only two protocols among the tons that are being used on the internet. Each one has its own function. To put it simply, users can access websites by using HTTP via browsers.

Every time you open a website, see your blog or even do something as simple as opening your email, the HTTP protocol comes into place. You can see this by viewing the address bar. If the beginning of the URL starts with HTTP, you know what you are using to access the destination. Lay users, such as us, will hardly make use of FTP. It is used more by those who work to maintain and upload files to the websites. Since FTP offers the admin a smooth way of maintained, this protocol is quite invaluable.

HTTP does not have any specific state. The stateless protocol suggests that the HTTP Web Server does not store the requests, meaning there is no record of which request came from which user. This protocol is also the base using which a web browser communicates with the server. Although HTTP does not have any state, it uses cookies to offer the users a personalized service.

FTP or File Transfer Protocol

FTP is known as File Transfer Protocol. This comes into play when you want to copy a file from one host to another. There are some issues that could crop up when copying a file from one host to another. Some common ones are having different directory structures, different file name conventions, and that the communicating host has a different way of representing data. FTP provides a way to deal with all these issues. FTP is usually used when two hosts having different configurations want to communicate with data.

What Is The Difference Between HTTP and FTP?

As with HTTP, FTP also uses TCP. However, here TCP is used to transfer files between client and server. Where HTTP worked only with one connection, FTP needs two connection. One is for data transfer on port number 20 while the other one is for control information on port number 21. The reason behind using separate connections is that having different connections make FTP more reliable and efficient. While the control connection is quite simple, the data connection is where there is a lot of rules. This is because of the variety of data that is transferred. Since security was a big concern when FTP was designed, the password is usually sent in plain text. This makes it quite easy to be hacked if intercepted. For more security, you can always add Secured Socket Layer between FTP application layer and TCP layer. This is a solution most make use of. Naturally, FTP is less popular than HTTP.

Those wanting to download a lot of files can use FTP. There are some FTP servers that host files. They allow users to log in anonymously and download the files. The reason why downloads with HTTP is more popular is that it is more in touch with the world wide web. The content that most visitors are after is usually hosted on an HTTP server, making it easier for the users to browse around and choose their files. Despite its functionality, FTP has already become older and outdated. Other protocols are coming up and it looks like they will soon take over FTP. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like HTTP is going to lose its popularity any time soon. In fact, there are multiple languages being developed to work with HTTP.

Differences Between HTTP and FTP


What Is The Difference Between HTTP and FTP?

One of the main differences between HTTP and FTP revolves around the fact that HTTP is used for accessing websites on the internet while FTP is use transferring files from one host to the other. You can easily find which protocol you are using by simply glancing into the address bar of the browser. It will be HTTP or FTP, depending on the protocol you are using. Another good point to note is that HTTP usually transfers smaller files whereas FTP comes in useful for larger ones. Of course, HTTP uses TCP port number 80 while FTP uses port numbers 20 and 21. Another difference is that HTTP needs no authentication while FTP works using a password.

To conclude, both HTTP and FTP have different tasks and are designed for different uses. FTP is getting older now and there have come up with many newer protocols. HTTP, on the other hand, is working out quite well and is likely to stay with us.