File Transfer Protocal vs Transmission Control Protocal (FTP vs TCP)

File Transfer Protocal vs Transmission Control Protocal

FTP and TCP are two commonly used terms in data transfer from user to user, sometimes being used interchangeably. What is the difference between the two?

FTP is an abbreviation for File transfer protocol. This protocol is used to remotely transfer files from one computer to another. It works by establishing two connections between the server system and the client system, one which is for the data to be transferred and the other, which is to house control information. Control information here refers to responses and commands in the protocols. FTP handles both text format and binary files.

TCP is an abbreviation for Transmission Control Protocol and it is a protocol for network communication that is designed to allow the transfer of data packets over the internet. TCP basically works to monitor an already established connection in order to ensure that the data being sent across it is undistorted and does not get lost in transit.

Why would they be compared to each other?


The main reason these two protocols would be compared to each other is that FTP heavily depends on TCP to ensure that the files it is transferring arrive at their destination without distortion, error, loss and in the order in which they were sent.

During the execution of FTP protocols to transfer files between users, a FTP client sends a request to be allowed to connect to the FTP server at the end user. A TCP connection is established during the course of this request to the FTP server’s command port. After the request is granted and the necessary authentication is complete, the second TCP connection is established to allow for the transfer of the data on port 20.


FTP is a layer 7 protocol that facilitates file transfer between two users, while TCP is a layer 4 protocol that is used to ensure reliable and efficient packet transfer. TCP acts as a watchman of sorts, to ensure that data being transferred over a certain network is secure from loss or distortion. Therefore FTP works over TCP, typically port 21 and 20, to ensure that the files it is transferring are safe and that they arrive in the order in which they were sent.


Which ports should be open for FTP?

Port 21 and port 20. The FTP protocol commonly uses port 21 to listen for client connections. This allows clients to connect to the FTP server on this port and initiate a conversation through the protocol. This connection is its main one and is referred to as the Command Connection or Control Connection.


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