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Happy 40th Birthday FTP and Farewell

Apr 2011

FTP has served me well over the years. It is a simple straight-forward way to get files from my desktop to my server. At one time I considered it indispensable... until I discovered SSH File Transfer Protocol.

As soon as I logged in to my first SFTP session, I wondered why I ever used regular FTP. FTP screws up timestamps. It requires 2 ports (port 20 as well as 21 --not a big deal really, until you try to configure firewalls and forget about also needing 20). It frequently disconnects. It is insecure. It requires another layer of management beyond your normal Linux accounts.

Anyway, after installing OpenSSH, a must-have for every Linux install (and default bundled in Mac OS X), I just randomly tried sftp, and it worked like a champ. SFTP is a subset of the normal OpenSSH effort, so I can expect it to be always be available, with no additional configuration. Unlike FTP, where I have to set up admin, set up user accounts, set up their FTP root folder. Boo.

I'm happy to have FTP available to me, but I am even happier to have SSH with a built-in better FTP that requires no extra effort to set up.


Dan Nagle is a SW Developer and the founder of NagleCode. His apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Contact Dan to speak at your event.

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