FTP: What Exactly Is It?

Anyone with experience in SEO knows that first stepping into this world can be a crazy and confusing experience, as you are immediately presented with several terminologies and concepts that are completely foreign to you. To many, this sensation is still present regardless of your experience, as there are new things developing every year, and once you think you’ve mastered a concept, you find there is only more to it.

Among all of these confusing elements, there is one that has remained constant: FTP- or File Transfer Protocol. FTP has remained a staple in the world of website management and SEO, and it is one of the oldest protocols still in use today. And while most internet users will never need to worry about it, anyone with a website will need a basic grasp on this integral concept. Here is a beginner’s guide towards FTP.

The Basics of FTP

FTP is essentially a basic way to move files from your computer to a server, and is one of multiple protocols you use to browse the internet. For example, HTTP is a protocol your browser uses to access a website. Another example is IMAP and POP, both of which are used to send and receive emails. Of these, FTP is the oldest, dating back way before the widespread adoption of the internet, in 1971. Much like email’s continuous role among an ever changing array of messaging options, FTP is the one essential that has never lost its relevancy.

How Do I Use FTP?

There is a good chance you already do if you have a website. Oftentimes the protocol is used to move a file from the computer you are currently working on to an online server. For instance, if you want to install a WordPress site onto a hosting server, you are going to need FTP to copy the files over. If this is something you may struggle with, our website building team can help you.

Another use for FTP is to share files. A person can upload a file to an FTP server, and the intended recipient can download it via a link. While this is increasingly less common thanks to cloud-based services, many still prefer to have their files hosted on a cloud-based server.

Is FTP Secure?

Previously, no. Because of its early inception, it was built without security in mind, simply because cyber-security itself was a mere concept at a time. This makes it susceptible to a file being intercepted by anyone capable of packet sniffing.

For this reason, the majority of users nowadays uses FTPS, a secure, encrypted version of FTP. It essentially works the same way, but because the files are encrypted, prying eyes couldn’t read them even if they managed to intercept them. Today, most servers won’t even allow unencrypted access, offering only FTPS.

In short, FTP is an integral part of building and managing any website today, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Understanding this, and other basic pillars of website management are the key to ensuring that your website will function properly and rank well. If you feel like you could benefit from some assistance on that end, our SEO team over at Boston Web Marketing can handle all operations on the website end for you, including building your own custom SEO-friendly website, managing various aspects from blogging to content writing, as well as backend elements such as FTP, schema & more. Contact us at (857) 526-0096, or fill out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!

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