HTTP Vs. FTP: What's The Difference?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and is a standard method for web browser and web servers to communicate with each other. A variation of this protocol is HTTPS, which is a secure HTTP connection.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and is a standard for transferring files over the internet.

While both HTTP and FTP allow you to transfer files back and forth, FTP offers some advantages over HTTP when used for transferring files. FTP offers a directory view similar to your file explorer on your computer. You can see files dates and sizes, order the files, etc. HTTP does not natively have that capability. Also, FTP is a more efficient way of transferring files, as that is what it was designed to do. HTTP is designed more to view files (web pages).

You can use a commercial product to manage files using FTP, but some web sites like offer a free web based FTP client that works directly from the web page so you don't have to have separate FTP client software installed on your computer. Click here for more information.

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