FTP vs. HTTP

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FTP (file transfer protocol) and HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) are application layer protocols that are used to transfer information.

Let’s explore the significant differences between FTP and HTTP.

FTP

  • FTP sends connection information out-of-band as it uses two parallel TCPs to transfer files. The control connection is used to send information like passwords, and the data connection is used to send actual data.

  • The FTP server maintains state information like the user’s current directory for a particular session.

  • The client-side needs to authenticate itself in order to transfer information.

  • The server keeps track of a users’ state, which constrains the total number of sessions that FTP can maintain simultaneously.​

HTTP

  • HTTP transfers control information in-band as it uses the same connection to transfer data as it does to control information.

  • HTTP is stateless. The server does not need to keep track of any user’s state.

  • The client may or may not authenticate themselves, i.e., client authentication is not mandatory.

  • Because HTTP is stateless, it can easily maintain multiple sessions simultaneously.