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Securing FTP Connections

File Transfer Protocol or simply FTP, is a feature that has become very popular on the web hosting market. FTP offers capabilities the email system can’t touch, allowing you to transfer large files over the internet from one computer to another. Regardless of the size or file type, as long as you have access to an FTP server and client, you can upload your files to the web and share it with others. Although FTP is more efficient and secure than HTTP, it is quite vulnerable in its purest form. However, there are a few security protocols that exist to make sure this is not the case. Here is a brief overview:

SSL

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) has become a critical security tool due to the prevalence of e-commerce and online business. Designed to ensure privacy for communications made over the internet, SSL can provide excellent security for an FTP connection. Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol that utilizes symmetric cryptography to facilitate data encryption and maintain the utmost privacy. All messages transferred over the internet are sent in ciphertext, which is essentially unreadable characters that prevent unauthorized parties from viewing the contents of the file. One of the best qualities of SSL is that it offers a extensible framework that allows you to incorporate other encryption schemes for an added layer of protection.

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TLS

TLS (Transport Layer Security) is another encryption-based security protocol used to ensure data integrity and privacy between two computers communicating over the internet. This protocol consists of two components: TLS Record Protocol and TLS Handshake Protocol, both of which ensure privacy during internet-based communications in their own unique way. Just like SSL, it is highly extensible and supports the incorporation of new encryption methods in the framework. However, TLS is the successor to SSL and thus often considered to be slightly more secure.

SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) is a security protocol and method that provides encrypted channels for internet communications. This mechanism is often used to provide protection when executing commands on a remote computer, making it perfect for FTP. With SSH, you can create an encrypted tunnel between you and your users’ computers and protect that information from unauthorized third-parties. Due to its efficiency and dependability, many FTP hosting service providers use SSH to provide customers with the maximum protection for their file transfer needs.

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If you are someone who would like to benefit from all that File Transfer Protocol has to offer, keep in mind that FTP alone does not protect the files you transfer over the internet. FTP itself does not have any encryption features, therefore provides little to no security at all. For this reason, you should strongly consider a solution that offers SFTP or secure FTP. While this type of service is normally coupled with protection by way of SSH, it offers the best of all the security solutions mentioned in this article. That is strong digital encryption designed to keep sensitive information from prying eyes.

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