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The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP is built on a client-server architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and the server. The first FTP client applications were command-line applications developed before operating systems had graphical user interfaces, and are still shipped with most Windows, Unix, and Linux operating systems.

FTP users may authenticate themselves using a clear-text sign-in protocol, normally in the form of a username and password, but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it. For secure transmission that protects the username and password, and encrypts the content, FTP is often secured with SSL/TLS (FTPS). SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is sometimes also used instead, but is technologically different.

FTP was not designed to be a secure protocol, and has many security weaknesses. FTP does not encrypt its traffic; all transmissions are in clear text, and usernames, passwords, commands and data can be read by anyone able to perform packet capture (sniffing) on the network. FTP over SSH is the practice of tunneling a normal FTP session over a Secure Shell connection.

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