What does an FTP server stand for?
An FTP server is a server that uses the File Transfer Protocol. It is used to exchange various files between PCs connected to a local network or the Internet. Also, by setting up an FTP server on Mac or any other computer you can create and maintain sites since all data on any web resource is located on such a server.
The main advantage of using FTP servers is simplicity and convenience because when a developer needs to “upload” a new file to the server or edit an existing one, they simply download it and then upload it back.
How does an FTP server work?
The main task of any Windows, Linus, Mac FTP servers is to send and receive files. However, in addition to it, the user can execute various commands that also allow you to manage directories and files. Also, the FTP server has the following technical differences:
- To connect your Mac to FTP server, you need to pass authentication.
- One data transmission channel is allocated for each connection to the server.
- You can work in 2 modes of sending information: text and binary (binary system). Using the second mode, you can save traffic and gain speed.
- The connection to the FTP server can be multiple (not less than two-channel). One channel, at the same time, is used to send commands and receive responses, while the rest allow you to send and receive files.
Technically, an FTP server is a computer that external users connect to. Connecting to FTP server on Mac, users need to run a special FTP client on their computers that makes a connection attempt. The client allows you to upload and download files from the server.
FTP client programs can be built-into the operating system, web browser, HTML editor, file managers, and also be separate programs, like Commander One. The interaction between the user’s Macintosh and FTP server is as follows:
- Communication is usually done via port 21, which is open by default on the server computer. The client connects to it and goes to the control channel.
- After connecting, the FTP client issues certain commands to the interpreter.
- After agreeing on the commands for data transfer, it is necessary to wait until the channel number is received, through which the files will be transferred for downloading or uploading to the server. This operation is not done through port 21.
- After sending or receiving files, the channel is closed, leaving port 21 open to process new commands.
Are FTP servers inherently secure?
After setting up FTP server on Mac or any other computer, you will face both positive and negative aspects. From a security point of view, the FTP connection has many vulnerabilities, since, at the time of its creation, many types of attacks were not widespread. All information, including the personal data of users, transmitted via FTP (password and login) is transmitted unencrypted in text form and can be read when the packets are intercepted by an attacker.
You can use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to secure FTP sessions. SSL ensures that all information transmitted over FTP is encrypted. This ensures the confidentiality of all data, including usernames and passwords. The FTP server also supports client authentication using digital certificates.
In addition to these FTP security capabilities, you can give users access to non-confidential information using an anonymous user account. Anonymous FTP allows you to provide open access (without a password) to a piece of information hosted on a remote system. The information shared is determined by the settings on the remote system. This information is considered publicly available and can be accessed by any user. Before setting up an anonymous FTP account, you should assess the potential dangers and consider using exit programs to secure the FTP server for Mac users.
Benefits of using FTP server on Mac OS X
Modern FTP servers are secure as they store information in encrypted form, fast - with channels up to 100 Mbit and unlimited traffic, convenient because they have a control panel with a file manager, FTP accounts, statistics on the use of resources, profitable since the rental cost is lower than on hosting. As you can see, in brief, FTP servers have several advantages:
- High speed of file exchange, the ability to create file storage, and processing large amounts of information.
- Ability to work both with files and with sites from other remote computers.
- Multilevel information protection from virus attacks, daily backups.
- Maintenance by specialists, setting up access rights.
- Unlimited traffic.
How to connect to FTP server on Mac
To access the content of the server, you must authenticate with the system. There are also resources that do not imply mandatory registration, but its absence imposes restrictions on the user's capabilities. Connecting to FTP server on Mac or any other computer occurs through a browser or client program. In the first case, the visitor can only view and download files, but cannot edit them. After entering the login and password, you must specify the server address or host. You also need to specify the connection port (21), if it is not specified automatically.
The second method to set up FTP on Mac and log into an FTP server is anonymous access. So, by default, the connection is made after entering the login “anonymous”, but the most common way to connect to the FTP server is via e-mail, where invitations to login are sent. This method is most commonly used by FTP hosts that send out software updates.
You can access the FTP server through a file manager that supports this function or using a browser. At the same time, using the browser, the user will be able to view and download the data, but it will not be possible to edit it.
Commander One is the best FTP client for Mac
FTP clients, as already mentioned, can be provided with the software, or they can be separate programs. Commander One is the most common, convenient, and simple solution for connecting your Mac to FTP servers. You will need to download and install the application.
After installation is complete, open the application and go to the Connections Manager tab, and select the “Connect to FTP Server” icon there. For this action, by the way, there is a combination of hotkeys - Ctrl + F. Next, enter the name of the new connection, host address, account, and password. Click on the Mount button to save all the entered information and establish a connection between Mac and FTP server.
Besides that, Commander One is an excellent file manager with a set of impressive features to facilitate your file management. Here you can find everything you have dreamt about, starting from the dual-pane interface, ability to work with archives, Terminal emulator, support for cloud storages, and work with MTP, Android, and iOS devices, and way more.
All the data that millions of people use every day is stored on FTP storage. These are programs, books, documents, any important data that can be converted into a file form. An FTP connection turns your server into a directory that is convenient to work with using a special file manager, i.e. FTP client. You can master such a program in less than 10 minutes! Flawlessly connect your Mac to FTP server and enjoy using it.