Hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP, and file transfer protocol, known as FTP, are both methods that allow you to transfer files between two systems. Both protocols have overlapping functions, and with Cerberus FTP Server Enterprise, you can use either method to transfer files depending upon your specific needs.
Both FTP and HTTP have secure counterparts that run over TLS to secure the connection. We assume and recommend that administrators are using these secure versions (called FTPS and HTTPS) when we discuss FTP and HTTP below.
Available in Cerberus FTP Server Enterprise edition, the HTTPS web client capability allows any user with access to a common web browser to easily connect to the server to perform file operations using a desktop or mobile web browser.
Pros of Using HTTPS Versus FTPS:
Using the HTTPS Web Client eliminates some of the challenges of using FTPS, such as:
- Requiring inexperienced users download, install and configure an FTP client
- Having to configure your network for the different modes of FTP, which can be difficult
- Allowing novice users to easily delete files
The web client provides an incredibly simple method to upload files to a server, with users requiring minimal knowledge about file transfers, and needing only a web browser installed to securely upload and download files.
Benefits of Using FTPS Versus HTTPS:
Using an FTPS client is a better idea in many situations as well:
- The ability to transfer multiple files as well as directories very quickly
- FTP is generally faster for transferring large files
- Some FTP clients allow you to schedule and automate uploads/downloads
Ultimately, FTPS and HTTPS file transfers have different use cases, which we outline below.
FTPS Ideal Use Cases
FTPS is best suited for scenarios requiring the reliable and secure exchange of data, primarily catering to power users and automated systems. Its core strength lies in its ability to facilitate rapid and efficient data transfers between systems, making it indispensable for use cases with extensive data volumes. One prominent application of FTPS is in phone and data backup systems, where automated processes need to systematically back up a diverse range of files, including multimedia content, contacts, and app data. FTPS ensures the integrity and confidentiality of this data during transit, safeguarding it from unauthorized access or tampering. Additionally, FTPS is instrumental in handling large, automated batch file transfers that occur regularly in various industries, such as finance and healthcare, where bulk data processing and exchange are routine operations. Its robust security features, including encryption and strong authentication mechanisms, make it a reliable choice in scenarios where data security and integrity are required.
HTTPS Ideal Use Cases
HTTPS offers a distinct set of advantages, primarily tailored for user-centric interactions with web servers. HTTPS web clients are usually turnkey solutions that eliminate the need for complex installations, offering a user-friendly and intuitive interface for individuals to securely upload and download files from a server. This simplicity and ease of use make HTTPS web clients particularly suitable for scenarios involving human end users rather than automated processes or system accounts. As an example, various online file sharing platforms, e-commerce websites, and cloud storage services prominently employ HTTPS to establish a secure and seamless data interchange framework between users and their servers. The added layer of security provided by HTTPS, achieved through SSL/TLS encryption, ensures that sensitive information, such as personal credentials or financial data, remains protected during transmission, instilling confidence among users engaging in online transactions or data sharing activities. Thus, HTTPS shines as the preferred choice when user experience, accessibility, and security are paramount concerns.
Want to try HTTPS and FTPS for free? Download a free trial of Cerberus FTP Server here.