FTP is an abbreviation for the term “File Transfer Protocol" which is a method used to transfer files from one computer to another over the internet. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is used to display web pages and related files, but not to transfer them. SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is used to transfer email via the internet, but not files. While there are other ways to transfer files from one computer to another via the internet, FTP is the simplest method for transferring electronic files as it uses the TCP/IP protocols of the internet to complete the transmission. FTP functions are actually complementary to HTTP functions due to the fact that web pages that are uploaded to the internet to be displayed using HTTP are generally uploaded via an FTP process. So, is FTP web hosting necessary for your internet business?
Well, the importance of FTP web hosting to your business is largely dependent upon whether or not you will be transferring files via the internet. If your internet business involves the sharing of files - if you provide customers with large documents or graphic files, or if you receive large documents or graphic files from other sources, FTP web hosting can be pretty useful.
Of course, you can email large files back and forth between two computers; however, if you've used email for very long, you are probably aware of the limitations of some email accounts and email service providers. More often than not, email servers have a limit on the size of file that can be received via email. FTP web hosting is an alternative to having to deal with email limitations.
With FTP web hosting capabilities, you can actually develop directories of files that are stored on your web hosts servers allowing for easy access to the files through the internet. Others can access and download the files via the internet. With FTP web hosting, others can also upload files to you via the FTP technology. You may be thinking that you wouldn't want just anybody to have access to your files. This is certainly something to consider when reviewing, evaluating and choosing a FTP web hosting provider.
With FTP web hosting, security is essential. When your website has FTP web hosting, and relatively, FTP download and upload capabilities, you have the ability to organize your files on your FTP site and to determine which files will be publicly accessible and which ones will remain locked. User names and passwords can be set to limit access to files on your FTP website that you do not want to be publicly accessible. For public FTP websites, it is standard for the user id to be “anonymous" and for the password to be the email address of the individual attempting to access and download from, or upload to, the FTP website.
With FTP web hosting for your site, your site visitors will be able to access the FTP connection using common web browsers like Netscape or Internet Explorer; however, downloading files through FTP access is more efficient and more secure if a software application called FTP Client is used. FTP web hosting that uses FTP Client is best because of the security potential it provides along with other features like resume capabilities which are rather crucial if an interruption in the internet connection occurs during a download.
Most web hosting companies offer FTP web hosting with the capability of transferring files from your computer to your web server as a standard feature, but sometimes you have to ask to have the capabilities enabled. For FTP web hosting with public access capabilities, some web hosts charge extra for it. When selecting a web host for your website, whether or not you foresee the need for FTP web hosting, it is a good idea to select a web host that provides FTP web hosting with both uploading and public access capabilities without added fees.
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