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this is a bit of an embarrassing question but please bear in mind that I am a novice at this. I understand about FTP but how do you actually find FTP files in the first place? Is there a search engine in the same way as for normal website pages? Or do you just look for the FTP option when you are downloading files?

Thanks for your help.

Jamie
 

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FTP is File Transfer Protocol. As such, it is a definition for a mechanism to transfer files over a network.

So, there aren't any "FTP Files" since you could theoretically FTP any file.

I believe you're referring to "FTP Sites". Usually, FTP sites are maintained by businesses or individuals who would like to allow people to transfer files to or from them quickly - using FTP. Usually these sites are technical or scholarly in nature - like a computer company having update files on it's FTP site. There will usually be a link on a companies home page. Or a user might have an FTP server with MPEG or MP3 files on it available for download.

As stated, you usually have to be told of the existence of an FTP site or server. You could just "gues" however, this is the hard way.

FTP is "quicker" than using HTTP although file transfer is possible with both.

Modern browsers are capable of changing from HTTP to FTP pretty seamlessly to the user.

Older users (like me ;) or "power users") sometimes prefer the command line FTP which can give a little more control over the intracacies of the protocol. Some programmers have built this into GUI FTP programs such as WS-FTP.

Hope this helps.
 

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In the bad old days of the Internet before WWW, there were a number of Internet search applications for FTP sites, one was Archie. Here's a page on searching the net, including a number of ways to search for FTP files. http://www.rice.edu/Internet/
 
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