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Anonymous File Transfer Protocol (AFTP) – Overview

Anonymous File Transfer Protocol (AFTP) – Overview


Anonymous File Transfer Protocol (AFTP) is a network protocol transmitting files using TCP-based networks. Furthermore, this protocol lets users transfer files anonymously from computer to computer.

Upon visiting an Anonymous file transfer protocol site, a user will not be prompted to provide a username or password. Even if it asks to provide a username and password, the user can simply provide the word FTP or anonymous as their username, and for the password, they can provide one spontaneously.

Functioning of Anonymous File Transfer Protocol Session:

To begin an anonymous FTP session, the user logs into a remote server and uses the FTP command and the hostname/IP. Requiring to access the archive site via FTP, the user can follow either of the commands:



Step-by-step Procedure of Anonymous FTP Session:

  1. By logging into the local host, the user invokes the FTP program.
  2. The user then establishes a connection to the host by employing either the hostname or its IP address.
  3. Upon successful connection with the remote host, the user logs in with the username “anonymous.”
  4. They provide a password, which may be a “guest,” user email address, or any other credentials the site requests.
  5. Depending on their requirement over the archive site, the user issues the requisite FTP commands (e.g., alter directories or recover a file from a specific directory).
  6. The user leaves the FTP program. Subsequently, the connection to the archive host and the anonymous FTP session ends.

Advantages of Anonymous File Transfer Protocol:

  • It allows users to easily access and retrieve files from the archive without requiring authentication.
  • It shortens the process through a user-friendly experience, unburdening the accessibility using common credentials such as “anonymous” or “FTP.” Additionally, it accepts an email address as the password.
  • Its uses are widespread and acceptable as there is no restriction for accessing or transferring the files on the servers. Therefore, AFTP is utilized to issue available software, patches, or other resources.

Disadvantages of Anonymous File Transfer Protocol:

  • As it is not completely anonymous, it raises privacy concerns for the users.
  • While using AFTP-supporting archive sites, users feel the need to be cautious.
  • Users don’t have complete control over file accessibility while accessing the FTP server.
  • Considering security and privacy concerns, users must be careful while selecting file publicity.


In conclusion, Anonymous FTP is a widely used method for accessing public files without proper authentication. However, as it offers accessibility benefits, users should be watchful of privacy concerns, as the process is not completely anonymous.

Consequently, owners encounter challenges controlling access to their FTP servers and safeguarding the security of publicly available files.

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