FTP Port: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding FTP

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When working on your websites, you will encounter situations where you need to connect to your server via an FTP. You can handle various processes using your dashboards, such as downloading and installing plugins, updating them, uploading files, editing files, and troubleshooting errors. Other than that, you have to connect to an FTP to continue optimizing your website.

If you are looking to better your website services, it would be best to understand how you can use FTP effectively. Many FTP users don't quite understand what ports to use and how they work. This guide will help you know how the ports work to perform the various FTP functions.

What is a file transfer protocol (FTP)?

File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is the standard network protocol that enables you to transfer files from one computer to another connected within a network. It is highly reliable, safe, and the best option when sharing files between users with access to an FTP server.

The interactive protocol is the work of an MIT student Abhay Bhushan. He developed it as a platform for a swift and dependable way to transfer files within systems, regardless of their operating systems and machine architecture. Transferring large and complex files requires the use of FTP. Therefore, it is the top pick for web designers and developers when they need to copy files like web pages and graphics that carry large volumes of data and transfer them to web servers.

What port does FTP use?

To use FTP effectively, you need to understand all the elements involved. One central element is the FTP port. You can only succeed in transferring files between computers when the correct ports are open. For FTP connections, ports act as communication endpoints. They allow for building a connection and enabling data to move from the computer to servers and vice versa.

Users can connect to a specific server using the correct IP address. That IP address identifies just a particular server, and port numbers are the lowest level of identifying what application or function on the server you are trying to engage.

IP addresses are all unique to their respective servers. The FTP port number will vary, but it is in a fixed range of numbers from 0 to 65535.

The FTP default port generally helps when making standards, and an unencrypted FTP connection is port 21. That is the number that anyone using an FTP client needs to know. You can use more ports, but they differ with the type of FTP.

Standard FTP ports can be ports 20 and 21 since FTP was officially assigned both. Port 21 is referred to as a controlled port, while port 20 is the data port. Port 21 builds a connection with the server, as port 21 automatically opens to transfer the file data. The algorithm applies to users using an 'active' FTP connection.

For a 'passive' FTP connection, the computer only connects to the server FTP using port 21. The server, in turn, responds with any random port number in the free-range provided and uses it as a data port to transfer files. The port range covers numbers from 60000 – 65535.


If you had little or no idea about the correct FTP ports to use, now you do. You can tell the difference between FTP ports on your computer and the port numbers you get when on an active or passive FTP connection.

FTP has evolved over the years to inspire younger generations of developers to create better and new features. As long as computers need connection with servers and data transfer, FTP is here to stay.

Get more information about FTP ports and making connections from WinZip.

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