What is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is the traditional method for securely transferring files between a local computer (the client) and a remote computer (the server).
How is it different than SFTP?
At Bravenet, we encourage people to use SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol). It functions similarly to FTP, but it encrypts all communication between the two computers, including the user's login and password. We do offer regular FTP (labelled 'Legacy FTP' in most areas) for compatibility reasons, but we highly encourage people to use SFTP instead when possible.
Our FTP and SFTP servers are located at the same addresses, and the same usernames and passwords work for either technology. We will shortly be adding the ability to disable legacy FTP logins to enhance your security - keep an eye on our newsletter for more!
Risks and advantages to FTP
FTP is a older technology (it was developed in 1971!) so there's a fair number of programs, especially older ones, that support FTP but not SFTP. Additionally, since SFTP has to encrypt and decrypt your data, it is marginally slower, although with today's computers the difference is pretty small.
On the downside, FTP sends all information, including the login and password you use when connecting, in plain text, so that anyone can read it if they have access to the data passing between the server and the client.