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Web FTP, also known as Online FTP, is a type of FTP client software that runs directly in your web browser. Thanks to Web FTP clients, you can transfer and manipulate files using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) without installing any software on your computer. Overall, Web FTP clients are handy for quick file transfers and edits, but they also tend to be more limited when it comes to advanced features that are commonly found in desktop FTP programs.

Accessing a Web FTP client is as simple as navigating to a webpage that contains FTP functionality. Such FTP-enabled webpages allow you to establish a connection to a remote FTP server and initiate file transfers exactly as you would if you were using a regular FTP application on your desktop.

To learn even more about Web FTP, how it works, how it differs from a traditional FTP client, and whether you should be using it or not, continue reading or jump to the section that interests you.

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Advantages

Web FTP clients come with several advantages, some of which cannot be found in traditional FTP applications. Below, we will list the most notable benefits of using Web FTP:

  • Perhaps the biggest advantage of Web FTP is that there is zero setup required. You do not need to install any software on your system in order to use a Web FTP client. This is especially handy if you do not have administrative privileges on the computer you are using.
  • Since Web FTP clients live entirely inside a web browser, they are completely OS independent and can be run from virtually any device.
  • Most Web FTP clients are designed to look like traditional FTP programs. This makes them easy to use and instantly familiar to everyone who has worked with an FTP client in the past.
  • Thanks to their ease of use and zero setup, Web FTP clients are perfectly suited for quick file transfers and edits.

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Disadvantages

The use of FTP-enabled websites is not the best solution in all cases. Below, we will list the most notable drawbacks of Web FTP that you should keep in mind:

  • Most of all, we should note that Web FTP is less secure when compared to a traditional FTP program. The reason is that you are essentially using FTP functionality provided by a third-party system. If the Web FTP client is malicious, it may store your login credentials and transferred files without your consent.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that FTP-enabled websites tend to have fewer features than a regular desktop FTP application. For example, some Web FTP clients may lack SFTP and FTPS support.
  • In addition to fewer features, Web FTP clients may also impose size limits for the files that you are uploading and downloading. The main reason for that tends to be the fact that your web browser is acting as an intermediate between you and the FTP application.
  • Lastly, because Web FTP clients are not native applications, they tend to be slower and less reliable than their desktop counterparts.

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How Does Web FTP Work?

At its core, Web FTP works on the same principles as a traditional FTP client. It utilizes the File Transfer Protocol to connect to the file system of a remote server. Once FTP access is established, the Web FTP client can be used to initiate file transfers.

The FTP server that you are connecting to treats your Web FTP client just like any other FTP program. In fact, FTP servers may not even notice that you are not using a traditional desktop FTP application.

The web hosting services that we offer here at AwardSpace are 100% compatible with Web FTP clients. What is more, we have developed our own Web FTP client called the File Manager that is completely integrated with our hosting service. So, you can freely use your favorite FTP-enabled website or the File Manager to access your files as long as you are using our free website hosting, a premium shared hosting plan, a semi-dedicated server, or a Virtual Private Server package.

The AwardSpace File Manager allows you to access, download, and upload files with just a few clicks.
The AwardSpace File Manager allows you to access, download, and upload files with just a few clicks.

When it comes to appearance and design, most FTP-enabled websites try to replicate the experience you would have if you were using a regular desktop FTP program. As such, you will likely be able to see your remote files in a file browser-like pane, and in many cases, you would be able to drag and drop files in order to upload them onto the FTP server. And if you wish to download a remote file, then the Web FTP client will leverage your web browser’s native download capability to retrieve the requested file.

Beyond the basic upload and download functionality, Web FTP clients often come equipped with additional features. For example, good FTP sites will not use FTP for the file transfers as it is unsecure. Instead, you should have the option of using SFTP or FTPS as they perform the same function, but do it in a manner that is much more secure.

Another handy feature some FTP-enabled websites offer is the ability to