Is FTP a TCP or a UDP?

Alex Rivers

Confused whether FTP belongs to TCP or UDP? Well, we are here to help you understand where it truly belongs. This article will guide you in understanding the difference between TCP and UDP and answer questions related to it.

Let’s dive into it!

What are FTP, TCP, and UDP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a networking protocol wherein files are transmitted from one location to another with the help of TCP/IP ( Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). FTP is an application layer protocol.

TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol. It is the leading internet protocol in the internet protocol suite. It enables application programs and computing devices to exchange messages over a network. It is used for sending packets across tInternetnet and ensuring the successful delivery of data over networks.

UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is a communication protocol used over the Internet for time-sensitive transmissions like video playback or DNS lookups. It helps in speeding up communications by not precisely establishing a connection before the data gets transferred.

Is FTP a TCP or a UDP?

FTP is a TCP. It exclusively belongs to TCP services. As mentioned in the definition, it helps transmit data with the help of TCP/IP (¬†Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). There is no connection of the UDP component to FTP. FTP utilizes two ports –

  • a data port
  • a command/control port

There are port 20 for the data port and port 21 for the command/control port.



I. Why TCP and UDP are used?

TCP is used in applications where trustworthiness is more necessary, such as for transferring files, emails, and web browsing in general. It focuses o organizing the data transmitted between a server and a client. UDP is a standardized method for transferring data between two computers in a network, and it does so by sending packets to the destination system.

II. Which is better, TCP or UDP?

In our opinion, TCP is better than UDP. TCP is more reliable than UDP. This is so because UDP does not guarantee delivery of every packet, even though it is faster and smoother than TCP.

III. Where are TCP and UDP used?

TCP is used by:

  • HTTP
  • HTTPs
  • FTP
  • SMTP
  • Telnet

UDP is used by:

  • DNS
  • TFTP
  • SNMP
  • DHCP
  • VoIP
  • RIP

IV. What is the difference between TCP and UDP?

It is a connection-oriented protocol. It is a datagram-oriented protocol.
It assures delivery of files and data to the destination.It cannot assure delivery of files and data because of packet loss.
It is slower than UDP.It is faster than TCP.
It has a variable length header of about 20 to 60 bytesIt has a fixed length header of 8 bytes.


So, to sum it up, FTP is a TCP, not UDP. TCP is more reliable than UDP, but UDP is faster and smoother than TCP. While TCP is more connection-oriented, UDP is more datagram-oriented.

Also Read: Is SFTP Encrypted and Secure?

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