File Transfer protocal Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

File Transfer protocal vs Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTP and FTP are two of the most common means of transferring data between servers and clients. Which of the two would be the better pick for you?

The transfer of data between users is essential for business and even personal interactions. In the consideration of a means of data transfer, some of the key factors that would be imperative to consider include; security, reliability and accessibility. HTTP and FTP are two file transfer protocols that have gained a large number of users because of their ability to transfer data in relation to the discussed factors.  They have some similarities like their ability to transfer data and their reliability on the internet to do so. However, it is their differences that govern the decision to be made by potential users between the two.

What are the differences between FTP and HTTP?

Password authentication
Port number
TCP port no 21 and 20
TCP port no 80
Large files
Small files
Basic use
File transfer
Website access


FTP Vs HTTP- How do they compare?

  • Primary use

The main difference between HTTP and FTP is the primary use that they were intended for. Though to some degree they both allow for transfer of files across the internet, HTTP is designed to allow a user to access a variety of websites on the open web. On the other hand, FTP was made to allow file transfer between users. Although they have different primary uses, HTTP and FTP are equally capable of transferring files on the internet.

  • Security

Security is a crucial factor in considering a means of file or any other form of data transfer. FTP is known to be insecure and vulnerable to hacking attempts like spoofing and data theft. In recent times, it has been used over security protocols like SSH to add a layer of encryption for the protection of data. HTTP has its own security protocols and does not need to be passed over a security protocol to guarantee data security. Therefore, HTTP is more secure than FTP.

  • Storage

The data that is sent from or delivered to a device via FTP is automatically saved to the default memory of that device, making it available in the future. On the other hand, data content and web pages that are transferred via HTTP to a device are not saved. This is a matter of preference since if you have no use for the data after the fact, then saving it is a waste of device memory, while if you will need the data after use, then having it automatically saved is very convenient. FTP uses up more device storage than HTTP.

  • Efficiency

There is no clear metric to measure the efficiency of HTTP and FTP, against each other or independently. However, it would be correct to say that; HTTP is more efficient in the transfer of small data files, while FTP is more efficient in the transfer of large data files.

FTP Vs HTTP- A comparison review



File Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as FTP, is an internet protocol that allows the exchange of data between two hosts who have different configurations. It uses TCP over two ports, Port 20 and Port 21. The earlier port facilitates data transfer, while the latter is used for information control which is basically the responses and commands. Its separate port set up increases its overall efficiency and makes it suitable for the transfer of large data files. Its security protocol is a basic plain text password which can be intercepted, making security an issue when using FTP.


  • Its transfers can be scheduled
  • Its transfers can be paused and resumed
  • It has no size limitations on transfers that are singular
  • It has a machine readable and uniform directory listing
  • Many FTP clients have synchronizing utility
  • It allows access restrictions and ownership for files
  • Many FTP clients have scripting capabilities


  • It is not secure
  • It us prone to hacking like spoofing
  • Dependency on the vendor makes activity monitoring difficult
  • It does not offer independent encryption


File Transfer protocal vs Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as HTTP is an internet protocol whose primary function is to allow the user to access data from the Web. It can be said that it works by combining the functions of SMTP and FTP, which are slowly being phased out of technological use by protocols like HTTP. It uses port 80 to establish a single TCP connection for data transfer, making it efficient for the transfer of small data files. Its messages are encrypted, being read by the web browser and server, and are immediately delivered, without automatic storage.


  • It is secure
  • It makes deleting files easy
  • Some websites require HTTP to be extended to all pages
  • It has some light SEO benefits


  • It is costly
  • It is complex
  • It may negatively affect website performance


The major setback faced by users of FTP would be its lack of security protocols, other than its mandatory client authentication, which is not nearly enough. This has been remedied by running it over security protocols like SSH and SSL, leading to hybrid forms of the protocol like SFTP and FTPS which offer the convenience of FTP with additional security.

HTTP is rapidly becoming widely used and preferred as a way to transfer smaller data files because it is secure and has an even more secure version, HTTPS which is run over SSL or TLS. Its efficiency in the transfer of small data files, makes TCP performance better with it compared to FTP.

Verdict- So which is better, FTP or HTTP?

HTTP has the ability to perform all the functions that are engrained in FTP, while being more secure. This is the main reason why it is being more widely adapted, leading to the phasing out of FTP as we know it. In conclusion. HTTP is a better pick for data file transfer than FTP.


What can I use as an alternative for FTP?

The main set back associated with FTP is its lack of security. Bearing this in mind, it has been run through security programmes to retain its convenience and ease of use and combine it with security features to give:

  • SFTP – This is FTP over SSH
  • FTPS – This is FTP over TLS


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