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File Transfer Protocol specification (RFC0765) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003813D
Original Publication Date: 1980-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Document File: 70 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

J. Postel: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0765: DOI

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 4% of the total text.

IEN 149 J. Postel RFC 765 ISI June 1980



The objectives of FTP are 1) to promote sharing of files (computer programs and/or data), 2) to encourage indirect or implicit (via programs) use of remote computers, 3) to shield a user from variations in file storage systems among Hosts, and 4) to transfer data reliably and efficiently. FTP, though usable directly by a user at a terminal, is designed mainly for use by programs.

The attempt in this specification is to satisfy the diverse needs of users of maxi-Hosts, mini-Hosts, and TIPs, with a simple, and easily implemented protocol design.

This paper assumes knowledge of the following protocols described in the ARPA Internet Protocol Handbook.

The Transmission Control Protocol

The TELNET Protocol


In this section, the terminology and the FTP model are discussed. The terms defined in this section are only those that have special significance in FTP. Some of the terminology is very specific to the FTP model; some readers may wish to turn to the section on the FTP model while reviewing the terminology.



The ASCII character set as defined in the ARPA Internet Protocol Handbook. In FTP, ASCII characters are defined to be the lower half of an eight-bit code set (i.e., the most significant bit is zero).

access controls

Access controls define users’ access privileges to the use of a system, and to the files in that system. Access controls are necessary to prevent unauthorized or accidental use of files. It is the prerogative of a server-FTP process to invoke access controls.


June 1980 IEN 149 File Transfer Protocol RFC 765

byte size

There are two byte sizes of interest in FTP: the logical byte size of the file, and the transfer byte size used for the transmission of the data. The transfer byte size is always 8 bits. The transfer byte size is not necessarily the byte size in which data is to be stored in a system, nor the logical byte size for interpretation of the structure of the data.

data connection

A simplex connection over which data is transferred, in a specified mode and type. The data transferred may be a part of a file, an entire file or a number of files. The path may be between a server-DTP and a user-DTP, or between two server-DTPs.

data port

The passive data transfer process "listens" on the data port for a connection from the active transfer process in order to open the data connection.


The end-of-file condition that defines the end of a file being transferred.


The end-of-record condition that defines the end of a record being transferred.

error recovery

A procedure that allows a user to recover from certain errors such as failure of either Host system or transfer process. In FTP, error recovery may involve restarting a file transfer at a given checkpoint.

FTP commands

A set of commands that comprise the control information flowing from the user-FTP to the server-FTP process.


IEN 149 June 1980 RFC 765 File Transfer Prot...