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Difference Between FTP and Telnet

telnetFTP vs. Telnet

FTP and Telnet are two very old protocols, that are used on networks to add certain functionalities. FTP is a File Transfer Protocol, and its only concern is to facilitate the transfer of files from one point to another, along with a few management capabilities like making and deleting directories. Telnet is a bit more like a ‘jack of all trades’, as it is simply a connection protocol that allows a user to connect to a remote server that is listening for Telnet commands. Once the connection is established, the user can then issue commands to the server computer, and examine the responses that are sent back.

Although both started out as command line tools, GUIs later appeared that greatly simplified the use of FTP. Instead of knowing all the commands and typing out all the filenames, some dedicated applications let you browse a local drive and a remote drive, as if you are using a file explorer. It keeps all the commands invisible to the user, thereby lessening the learning curve. This is not really possible with Telnet, as there are a wide range of commands and parameters that can be issued to the server.

Due to the age of both software, they do not have any built-in security measures. Even usernames and passwords are sent in plain text, making them vulnerable to sniffing. With later modifications, people can now use secure versions of FTP, called FTPS and SFTP. On the other hand, Telnet has been largely replaced by SSH, due to the addition of security measures. As Telnet has been superseded by SSH, making it secure seems redundant.

Currently, FTP is still in wide use, as it is an easy way to upload files to web servers. There’s a wide array of applications that use FTP to achieve their purpose. The use of Telnet has been dwindling since the creation of SSH, but there are still people who use it mainly as a diagnostic tool. Telnet provides a good view of how certain network services work, by sending commands and examining the response to determine if it is proper or not.


1. FTP is a protocol used specifically for transferring files to a remote location, while Telnet allows a user to issue commands remotely.

2. FTP can be used with a command line, a dedicated application, and even with most web browsers, while Telnet is restricted to the command line.

3. There are ways to use FTP in a secure environment, while Telnet will always be unsecured.

4. FTP is a well-known and reliable method of uploading files to web servers, while Telnet is now commonly used in diagnosing network services.

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  1. So basically you really would only want to use telnet when you are troubleshooting someone’s computer from a remote computer,for example?

  2. nice explanation

  3. I’m hack

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