Anonymous FTP

Written By: Richard Lowe

How many times have you downloaded a file off the internet? I’ll
bet you just clicked a link and the downloaded started
automatically. You probably didn’t notice the URL as it flashed
across your screen, but there’s a good chance that it was an FTP

You know about FTP, don’t you? FTP stands for File Transfer
Protocol, and it is a very efficient way to copy files over the
internet. It’s far more efficient than the standard HTTP protocol
(the way your browser transfers information). Because of that, you
will find FTP addresses buried in web sites all over the internet.

Most of the time, these are anonymous FTP sites, which means you
do not need a username and password to get the files. You see, you
can set up FTP to require a username and password – this is
perhaps the most common way people get information loaded up to
their web site.

However, if you want you can remove the username and password
requirement to allow anyone to get access to your files. Most of
the time an anonymous FTP site only allows files to be downloaded
from the site: finding one that allows uploads is very rare as
this means anyone can add information at any time.

It’s easy to log into an anonymous FTP sites. Sometimes no
username or password is required at all, and sometimes you just
enter “anonymous” and a password of your email address. Once you
do that using your favorite FTP client (or just Internet
Explorer), you can have a great time looking through what’s

Why would anyone want to use FTP instead of just loading some web
pages? Besides the fact that FTP is more efficient, it’s also
very easy to maintain. An FTP site is structured very much like
your standard file system, with directories (or folders) and
files, along with folder-level security (the ability to require a
username and password on selected folders or directories). That’s
about all there is to an FTP site. It’s very simple to maintain,
relatively secure (as long as you don’t allow people to upload or
write) and easy for visitors to understand.

You will find fully anonymous FTP sites are common in situations
where large numbers of files need to be made available to the
general public. These include support sites which post patched
versions of software, desktop themes and screen savers and volumes
of documentation.

The wealth of information that is available from these sites is
huge. It can be an incredible pleasure to explore the files
available on one of these sites. One of the things that makes them
so pleasurable is no one has gone through any great effort to make
a good presentation (as with a web page). Thus, what you see is
raw files containing information, and not pretty web pages.

Some great anonymous FTP sites and FTP site lists include the

Swedish University Network’s, FTP archive
One of the truly great FTP sites. Tons of files freely
available for download.

Archive-name astronomy-ftp-sites
List of FTP sites with information for people interested in

Perry’s FTP-List Page
List of hundreds (if not thousands) of FTP sites.

Introduction Exhaustive List of FTP Sites
Another list of lots and lots of FTP sites.

About the Author

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at http://www.internet-tips.net – Visit our website any time to
read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.

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