File Transfer is the process of moving files from one system to another, whether that’s uploading a new project file for collaboration purposes or sending an email attachment with an invoice to an account payable. Many different mechanisms and protocols exist to facilitate file transfer, which are typically categorized as push or pull systems.
Push based file transfer occurs when a sender transmits data to a server, where it is stored until it’s needed. This type of file transfer can be done manually or through automation, such as by using a Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution.
Businesses rely on file transfer for day-to-day operations. Whether it’s sending a file to an outsourced payroll service or sending a video for a marketing campaign, they need to be able to move data between internal and external systems reliably and securely. Workload requirements are increasing as file sizes and transfer frequencies increase, leading to the need for innovative application processes and a greater focus on security.
FTP was first developed in early 1971, predating TCP/IP. Over the years it has undergone several revisions and improvements to ensure compatibility with new technologies. Today, FTP is used mainly for uploading and downloading files to and from servers. Most websites on the Internet use FTP or its secure counterpart, SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).
There are two types of connections in an FTP session: a control channel and a data transfer channel. The control channel is used to send commands from the client, and information such as username and passwords are sent through this connection. Files are transferred over the data channel, which is initiated through port 21.
Text files are transferred as ASCII data, and nontext data such as images and compiled programs are sent as binary data. The binary format is more efficient than ASCII, as it only transfers the data that has changed since the last write, reducing transfer times and bandwidth usage. Most FTP files are compressed, and you may need to run a utility program such as PKZIP to extract the data.
In addition to providing a means for transferring files between hosts, FTP also supports the creation and deletion of files. This is done through an additional command channel and is generally not available to unauthenticated users. In order to enable this, a user must log in to the server and be granted access credentials.
Choosing the right file transfer solution for your business depends on how much security you require, how much automation you need and the amount of data you need to move. It’s essential to select a solution that offers all 12 major file transfer protocols to meet your business needs, and it’s even better to choose one that comes with security and compliance features so you don’t have to add them separately. JSCAPE MFT Server is a powerful managed file transfer platform that provides comprehensive support for all 12 protocols and delivers advanced security, tracking, logging and compliance settings right out of the box.