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I'm really lost on this ftp/ip stuff (1 Viewer)

Paul D Young

Second Unit
Feb 8, 2001
I guess I'm new to this and I've never posted in this area before so please fell free to kill me if this is a heavily covered topic. But here it is:
Once in a while I come across statements like this:
You can use an FTP client, or Link Removed should do the trick.
which solved my problem but made me curious as well. I did not want to hijack that thread from those HTFers just because I was out of the loop so I started this thread to ask my questions. (And by the way, thanks to Frank_Lee for providing the clips and Rob Speicher for telling me how to access it.)
Anyway, what in the heck is an ftp server?
Or an ftp client?
What is IP?
And how did Rob know how to access it and I didn't?
Also, do they always have a password and login?
Why would I get all the info that Frank told me instead of just a link like Rob provided (no offense).:confused:
Am I an Idiot because everyone seems to know but me?


Senior HTF Member
Jul 2, 2000
Real Name
Nick So
FTP stands for FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL. its basically a way to transfer files. The FTP SERVER holds the files, and depending on the rules, you can send, download, rename, etc files as if it was on your computer, but on the server.
An FTP client allows you to connect to the FTP server. Some popular ones are WSFTP, and SmartFTP. I myself like LeechFTP as i upload numerous files to my website sometimes, and leech allows me to upload from many connections. Just search for these programs in Google.
An IP is an IP ADDRESS. Its the 'address' of your computer on in the internet. So lets say the internet's the world, the ip address (four sets of numbers seperated by periods) is the address to YOUR house.
Rob knew how to access it because he knows how to access FTP servers. Either with an FTP client (described above), or using your browser with the link format: Link Removed which then the browser willl recognize it as an FTP, and connect accordingly.
Some servers are anonymous. Many big companies put their downloads directly from the FTP servers. When you download say a game patch from IDsoftware, some of the download sites are FTPs. Then when you download from the FTP, you downlod from Link Removed (or in standard form, ftp.idsoftware.com). Notice it doesnt need the username and password. The server is an anonymous server and allows you to browse and download from it. Most anonymous servers allow you to only browse, and usually download. Most do not let you alter, delete, or upload.
So to connect to his server, in your FTP client, go into CONNECT. Then in IP, type in In Username, type in htf, and in password, type in oar. If the server is up, the FTP client will connect to it, then once connected display the files.
I hope this made sense and was somehwat correct :p)

Rob Speicher

Supporting Actor
Nov 24, 2000
Good explanation Nick. IP stands for Internet Protocol. FTP is just another connection protocol like HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) but is used strictly for files, as the name suggests.
The FTP client I use is SmartFTP (free), and as Nick said there's Link Removed. A friend swears by BitBeamer (shareware), and there's always CuteFTP (shareware) which I used before I found SmartFTP.

Christian Behrens

Supporting Actor
Mar 2, 2000
SF Bay Area
Real Name
Christian Behrens
To take a step back, Paul, you are asking questions about the whole wide subject of (inter)networking.
For two (or more) computers to communicate it is important that they speak the same language. Only it's not called language in this case, but protocols.
There are various levels and layers of protocols which I won't go into here for simplicity's sake, but for the purposes here the fundamental protocol is TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). This is the basis for communication in the Internet. As Nick pointed out, an IP address is needed to communicate from machine A at address A to machine B at address B.
On top of TCP/IP run various protocols for various services. Sending e-mail is done with SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), the web uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol - yes, the web is only one service of many that make up the Internet, even if the Web equates the Internet for many people), and in this case the service is to transfer files from A to B using FTP (File Transfer Protocol - as also mentioned by Nick).
The information given in the thread was enough to fire up any FTP client and connect to the machine in question, namely address, user, and password. Just type "ftp" on a prompt, press [Enter] and it will ask you for user and password.
Now, this only works because on the machine that is designated by the address, a process known as an FTP server runs. You could connect to the same address using other applications that use different protocols, i.e. _not_ FTP, but e.g. an e-mail server.
Now, your question about the link: Browsers are HTTP clients (if you will) and therefore speak HTTP for the most part, but are able to speak several other protocols as well. But you need to tell them which protocol they should speak, that's why you see "ftp://" at the beginning, instead of the usual "http://".
And as browsers cannot ask you for an FTP username and password, you have to provide these in the address, like Rob did in the link he provided.
Again, it's not a browser's main task to talk FTP, so it's a little rudimentary. For more comfort, there are full-fledged FTP clients that do a better job at dealing with several files at once, storing server and password information and so on.
Hope I didn't confuse you too much, but I believe the basic principles are pretty easy to understand. But there are a lot more details to this and a ton of other protocols you use every day (without knowing it). ;)

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