File Transfer Protocol specification
RFC 765

Document Type RFC - Unknown (June 1980; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 959
Obsoletes RFC 542
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IEN 149                                                        J. Postel
RFC 765                                                              ISI
                                                               June 1980

                         FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL


   The objectives of FTP are 1) to promote sharing of files (computer
   programs and/or data), 2) to encourage indirect or implicit (via
   programs) use of remote computers, 3) to shield a user from
   variations in file storage systems among Hosts, and 4) to transfer
   data reliably and efficiently.  FTP, though usable directly by a user
   at a terminal, is designed mainly for use by programs.

   The attempt in this specification is to satisfy the diverse needs of
   users of maxi-Hosts, mini-Hosts, and TIPs, with a simple, and easily
   implemented protocol design.

   This paper assumes knowledge of the following protocols described in
   the ARPA Internet Protocol Handbook.

      The Transmission Control Protocol

      The TELNET Protocol


   In this section, the terminology and the FTP model are discussed.
   The terms defined in this section are only those that have special
   significance in FTP.  Some of the terminology is very specific to the
   FTP model; some readers may wish to turn to the section on the FTP
   model while reviewing the terminology.



         The ASCII character set as defined in the ARPA Internet
         Protocol Handbook.  In FTP, ASCII characters are defined to be
         the lower half of an eight-bit code set (i.e., the most
         significant bit is zero).

      access controls

         Access controls define users' access privileges to the use of a
         system, and to the files in that system.  Access controls are
         necessary to prevent unauthorized or accidental use of files.
         It is the prerogative of a server-FTP process to invoke access


June 1980                                                        IEN 149
File Transfer Protocol                                           RFC 765

      byte size

         There are two byte sizes of interest in FTP:  the logical byte
         size of the file, and the transfer byte size used for the
         transmission of the data.  The transfer byte size is always 8
         bits.  The transfer byte size is not necessarily the byte size
         in which data is to be stored in a system, nor the logical byte
         size for interpretation of the structure of the data.

      data connection

         A simplex connection over which data is transferred, in a
         specified mode and type. The data transferred may be a part of
         a file, an entire file or a number of files.  The path may be
         between a server-DTP and a user-DTP, or between two

      data port

         The passive data transfer process "listens" on the data port
         for a connection from the active transfer process in order to
         open the data connection.


         The end-of-file condition that defines the end of a file being


         The end-of-record condition that defines the end of a record
         being transferred.

      error recovery

         A procedure that allows a user to recover from certain errors
         such as failure of either Host system or transfer process.  In
         FTP, error recovery may involve restarting a file transfer at a
         given checkpoint.

      FTP commands

         A set of commands that comprise the control information flowing
         from the user-FTP to the server-FTP process.


IEN 149                                                        June 1980
RFC 765                                           File Transfer Protocol


         An ordered set of computer data (including programs), of
         arbitrary length, uniquely identified by a pathname.


         The mode in which data is to be transferred via the data
         connection. The mode defines the data format during transfer
         including EOR and EOF.  The transfer modes defined in FTP are
         described in the Section on Transmission Modes.


         The Network Virtual Terminal as defined in the TELNET Protocol.


         The Network Virtual File System.  A concept which defines a
         standard network file system with standard commands and
         pathname conventions.  FTP only partially implements the NVFS
         concept at this time.


         A file may be structured as a set of independent parts called
         pages.  FTP supports the transmission of discontinuous files as
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