To view a web page in a browser it needs to know what the address is and what protocol to use. The most common protocol is http (hypertext transfer protocol. Using hypertext transfer protocol (http) lets the browser know how to display the information that it receives when requesting a web page. Because this is the most common protocol it is usually unnecessary to add http:// to the address as the browser will add it automatically.
When requesting a secure page use encrypted hypertext transfer protocol (https). This tells the browser that the information transferred to and from the website must be encrypted so that it will be secure.
File Transfer Protocol (ftp) allows users to transfer files and documents from one computer to another. There are a few different software programs that will assist with this process. Also, using ftp:// in a url will indicate to the browser that the link points to a file that can be downloaded.
Computer users can also use an ftp program to download files and software off the internet. Many companies and universities offer ftp sites that contain software and documents which can be downloaded. A search for 'ftp' will display dozens of ftp programs that can be used to download and uploading files.
FTP programs provide a file manager which assisits with managing the files on a website to help copying files from a computer to a website or from a website to a computer. The benefit of using an ftp connection is that your computer makes a direct connection with the server allowing for the transfer of multiple and/or large files.
There are a number of other protocols which are used to make different types of connections between computers through the internet or directly. Some of these are SMTP/IMAP for email and Telnet/SSH for shell access.
Last update: March 11, 2017