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HTTP vs FTP File Upload

There is, in some quarters, an opinion that you should use FTP for file transfers and HTTP for web traffic. There is some logic to this if you are transferring very large files and many web hosting companies will limit the file transfer size to 512Mb per request.

If limits are put in place, then the only option is FTP, but this restriction can easily be lifted on a dedicated web host platform.

In fact the limit at is a whopping 40Gb !

The main benefits of HTTP or uploading via the web site:

  1. Seamless integration, i.e. no need to use an external App or program such as FileZilla to upload your files.
  2. Needs only one TCP connection (port 80 or 443).
  3. Persistent Connections. A client maintains a single connection to the server and uses that for all data transfer.
  4. Better compression in data transfer; it’s a myth that FTP transfers larger files much quicker.
  5. A much easier and more intuitive GUI than most FTP Apps.
  6. Multiple selection of files and progress bars just like an FTP App.

The real kicker though is Why would you want to upload via a separate App and then when done, go back into the web site and then start providing video data (or launch) when you can do everything in one place?

These days, FTP is mainly used when you want to port across an entire directory or folder structure from one PC (server) to a remote server (e.g. hosting) and that’s fine for entire web sites, but if you just want to send 10, 20, 50 video files then there is no reason to use FTP for this, if, as we do, have close to zero restrictions on what you can just upload.

Modern web systems should not expect users to separately login with a username and password and wrestle with FTP client software when a simple click of a Select Files button and OK (just as you do with email attachments) is far more intuitive.

FTP has its place in the software development world, but there is no need to burden users with rather clunky (or #tech) systems to upload videos.

And finally, for security reasons, we don’t really want users poking around the folder structures on our server and possibly uploading non-image or non-video files, albeit the FTP user would be rooted to their personal folder, but hackers use FTP upload to load server-side scripts. With HTTP systems this is all transparent and we restrict the upload of files to images and videos.



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