Difference Between HTTP and FTP | HTTP vs FTP

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

The protocols for file transfer between client and server are HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). We have provided numerous difference between HTTP and FTP. Both of these protocols are similar but have different functions.

The main difference between HTTP and FTP is that HTTP sends a web page from a web server to a web browser on demand. FTP, on the other hand, is used to transfer files between client and server. Let’s look at some of the additional difference between HTTP and FTP along with their brief introduction in the upcoming sections.

Difference between HTTP and FTP PDF


Difference Between HTTP and FTP

FTP is a file transfer protocol that allows us to transfer data between a server and a client over the internet. HTTP transfers data between the web browser and the web server. Here, we have provided the difference between HTTP and FTP listed in the table below.

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.
It facilitates data connectivity. It has support for both the control and data connections.
It is a collection of principles that govern how web pages are transported across the internet between computers.  It’s a set of principles that allow you to download and upload files from your computer to the internet.
The HTTP protocol uses URLs that begin with HTTP. The FTP protocol uses URLs that begin with FTP.
HTTP does not require authentication. Authentication is always required.

HTTP uses the TCP’s port number 80.

FTP uses TCP’s port numbers 20 and 21.

HTTP is efficient to transfer smaller files like web pages.

FTP is efficient to transfer large files.

Also, check the difference between HTTP and HTTPS here.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the foundation of the World Wide Web. It is an internet standard that enables the transmission of web pages across the internet. It also specifies how the web browser handles any web request. All web pages have a protocol, domain name, and path to the web page in their web address. The HTTP protocol is indicated by the presence of http:// in most web addresses. HTTP is analogous to the combination of FTP and SMTP functionalities.

HTTP communications are not intended for people to read; the web server and browser understand and read them. HTTP messages, unlike SMTP messages, are provided immediately rather than being stored and subsequently forwarded.

What is FTP?

The FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It’s used to transfer a file from one computer to another. When moving a file from one host to another, issues can arise because the communicating hosts use different file name conventions, directory structures, and data representation methods. FTP solves all of these issues. When two hosts with differing setups need to exchange data, they use FTP.

FTP files were created when data security was not a priority issue. FTP is no longer in use, and alternative news protocols have taken their place. The FTP supports two types of Transmission Control Protocols (TCP) for file transfer: the first is the data port or data connection (port 20). The user’s authentication is handled using the command port or control connection (port 21).

Key Difference Between HTTP and FTP

The key differences between HTTP and FTP are given below.

  • A stateless protocol describes HTTP, whereas FTP preserves states and is not a stateless protocol.
  • HTTP is capable of in-band band transfer, and FTP is capable of out-of-band band transfer.
  • Only the data connection is supported in HTTP, whereas both data and control connections are supported in FTP.

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