What are the main basic differences between the HTTP and the FTP protocols? Not details but main principles.


  • FTP opens a session, during which the user can perform multiple file transmission commands. HTTP usually shuts down the connection after each file transfer, or keeps it open for a short time only.

  • FTP uses two simultaneous channels (ports), one for control information, one for data transfer. HTTP only uses one channel.

  • FTP is based on logging in and giving a password, in order to transfer files between closed directories. By use of anonymous FTP, it can also be used for downloading public files. HTTP also allows both options, but the major usage is for getting public documents.

  • HTTP has more support for caching and proxies.

  • HTTP supports file type information better than FTP.

  • FTP converts line breaks for text files, HTTP does not.

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