Difference Between FTP and TELNET

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 12, 2022


Difference Between FTP and TELNET Difference Between FTP and TELNET

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While TELNET, also known as the Telecommunication Network, is the service that is responsible for giving client users access to distant servers, It provides clients with assistance in managing the resources that are kept on remote servers even though File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Telnet are both well-known IP protocols, the fundamental distinction between the two rests in the capabilities that are made available by each.


TELNET is used to access a device via its remote log-in capabilities, while FTP transmits data from one computer to another. The primary distinction between the two protocols is that TELNET is used to access a device. The File Transfer Protocol, sometimes known as FTP, is an application layer protocol that simplifies transferring data from one operating system to another. FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol." In addition, it offers a limited set of functions for managing already existing data directories.

FTP and Telnet are examples of highly ancient protocols still in use today on networks to extend the capabilities of the networks. The primary purpose of the File Transfer Protocol, often known as FTP, is to make it possible to move files from one location to another while also providing a few administration features, such as the ability to create and remove directories. Telnet is a simple connection protocol that enables a user to connect to a remote server that is waiting for Telnet instructions. Because Telnet is only a connection protocol, it is a little more like a "jack of all trades" than a "master of one." After the connection has been established, the user can send instructions to the server's computer and then investigate the returned replies.

Although both of these programs began as command line tools, graphical user interfaces (GUIs) were eventually developed and substantially simplified the usage of FTP. Some specialized software allows you to browse a local disc and a distant drive in the same manner as if you were using a file explorer. This eliminates the need to memorize all the commands and type out all the filenames. It makes all the orders invisible to the user, reducing the time needed to become proficient in their usage. Because Telnet allows a wide variety of instructions and parameters to be sent to the server, this is not something that can be accomplished using the protocol.

Because of their advanced age, neither piece of software has any preconfigured safeguards. Even login credentials, such as usernames and passwords, are sent in plain text, making them susceptible to snooping. People are now able to utilize secure versions of FTP, which are known as FTPS and SFTP. These versions were made possible by subsequent improvements. On the other hand, SSH has supplanted Telnet as the preferred network protocol due to the inclusion of security features. It is unclear why securing Telnet would be necessary since that SSH has mostly replaced it.

Because it is a straightforward process, file transfer protocol (FTP) is still widely used. There is a diverse selection of software that may be used to accomplish a variety of goals by using FTP. Some persons still primarily use Telnet as a diagnostic tool, despite the fact that its usage has been steadily decreasing since SSH was developed. By issuing instructions and analyzing the system's response to decide whether or not it is appropriate, Telnet gives users a clear picture of the inner workings of some network services.

Difference Between FTP and TELNET in Tabular Form

Table: FTP vs. TELNET
Parameters of Comparison
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a connection protocol used to transfer data from one system to another.
TELNET is a communication protocol that a client uses to access the data kept on a distant server.
Full Forms
File Transfer Protocol is the complete abbreviation for FTP.
Telecommunication Network is the complete version of the acronym TELNET.
Port Number
Twenty and twenty-one are the most prevalent port numbers for usage with FTP.
The number 23 is the TELNET port that is most often utilized.
Number of Connections Established
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) works by establishing two connections at once. The command controls are handled via one link, while the second connection facilitates the file transfer.
TELNET can function because it creates only one connection at a time.
Security of Connection
The connection made using FTP is far more secure than the one made using TELNET.
TELNET creates an insecure connection between the two computers.
Remote Login
The use of remote logins is not required to use FTP features.
TELNET cannot function in any way other than with remote logins. This is an essential need.
FTP is a ubiquitous technology used for uploading and downloading files related to websites.
TELNET is currently considered somewhat archaic, and its primary use nowadays is as a diagnostic tool for use on the web.

What is FTP?

The term FTP refers to the File Move Protocols that are used to transfer data from one computer to another. This process is frequently referred to as file sharing. It is possible to share files to and from the linked computers by uploading and downloading them using this tool. TCP is required to transfer files via FTP. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) capability to create two connections at once improves its overall efficiency.

While the second connection is used to move the file, the first connection is utilized to manage the instructions sent effectively. This connection is kept open during the whole operation. Numerous client users may visit an FTP server simultaneously is an additional advantage offered by this protocol. During the process of moving files from client computers to server systems, there is a possibility that there could be some glitches.

They may be the result of changes in the directory structures of the two systems, the naming standards for files, and other factors. In addition, the language and data structure in the two systems can be different, which would result in further complications.

The abbreviation for "File Transfer Protocol" is "FTP." You may send and receive files from a host computer using this client/server protocol. The host computer acts as the source. User names and passwords are two methods that may be used for FTP authentication.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files from one host location to another host location. FTP uses ports 20 and 21 for communication. The data goes via Port 20, while the connection management goes through Port 21. Users can access files, applications, and other types of data through the Internet using Anonymous FTP since they are not required to provide a login and password. On certain websites, users can use "guest" or "anonymous" as their user ID and their email address as their password.

The first client software for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) was built on top of the DOS command prompt, which offered a predefined set of instructions and syntax. The first FTP specification was written by Abhay Bhushan and released on the 16th of April, 1971, as RFC 114. RFC 765 was finally developed to take its place as the standard (June 1980). Since then, several different graphical user interface (GUI) clients for operating systems have been developed, making it much simpler for users to upload and download data.

What is TELNET?

TELNET is an acronym that stands for "Telecommunication Network." It is a connection protocol that is used in the process of providing customers with virtual terminal services. TELNET is the protocol used to establish a connection between a client's computer and a distant server's computer to access the data that is kept on such servers.

TELNET is a network protocol that functions by creating a single connection between a client computer and a distant server. It does this by establishing a connection between the operating system of the client user and the remote computer's keyboard.

This generates the impression that a real connection is being maintained with the remote system. The client's keystrokes are automatically sent to the remote system when entered on the client's machine. TELNET developed a standard interface called the Network Virtual Terminal (also known as NVT) to simplify the process of establishing a connection.

All the characters entered into the client program are then translated into forms acceptable to the NVT and sent to the distant server. When transmitting the answer from the server to the client, the same procedure is carried out.

Telnet is a network protocol that enables you to remotely connect to a computer and set up a two-way, text-based communication channel between two computers. It also allows for collaborative text editing between the two computers. The user takes control of the remote sessions that are created by Telnet, which are created using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networking protocol. Users can make particular file requests to remote computers through the World Wide Web using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Telnet, on the other hand, enables users to log in as regular users, complete with the rights associated with the programs and data stored on that computer.

Programmers and anybody else who wants to access specific applications or data stored on a distant computer are the most popular users of Telnet. Users can check the weather or play simple games thanks to some servers' provision of remote access to public data via the usage of the Telnet protocol. Many of these features might be attributed to a sense of nostalgia or the fact that they are still compatible with earlier systems that call for specific information.

Main Differences Between FTP and TELNET in Points

  • The functionality that is provided by each service is where FTP and TELNET most significantly diverge from one another. TELNET is well-known and widely used for its capacity to build admission channels for users to access distant servers. In comparison, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is well-known and widely used for its ability to ease the transfer of a file from one operating system to another.
  • In addition, the complete forms of each word are distinct from one another. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is not to be confused with Telecommunication Network (TELNET), an entirely different acronym. Each acronym brings attention to a fundamental aspect of these protocols' operations.
  • It is generally agreed that the file transfer protocol known as FTP is a more secure alternative to the TELNET protocol. When utilizing TELNET, there is a possibility that specific security issues may develop.
  • The FTP protocol uses two connections simultaneously. It begins by establishing one of these connections to control instructions efficiently, and then it continues by showing the other connection to transfer the specified file. On the other hand, since it only has a single operating port, TELNET may function over a single established connection at a time.
  • The port numbers for FTP and TELNET are also different from one another. The port number for the former is either 20 or 21, while the port number for the latter is 23.
  • In contrast, remote login is required to utilize the TELNET communication protocols, even if it is possible that remote login is not a necessity for accessing the functions of FTP. It is impossible to send TELNET instructions until such remote logins have been protected.
  • TELNET's usefulness in today's world has dramatically reduced due to recent developments. Today, its use is mainly restricted to diagnostic reasons alone. On the other hand, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a prevalent protocol used to both upload and download files from the web.
  • Regarding transferring data to web servers, FTP is a tried-and-true approach, whereas Telnet has become more used as a diagnostic tool for network services.


There are two types of connecting protocols: FTP and TELNET. They were conceived to facilitate efficient communication across remote operating systems. Both classified as application-layer protocols, FTP and TELNET, have just one common characteristic; nonetheless, their differences are far more prominent.

Users have access to various features while using FTP and TELNET. The former ensures that a file transfer from one system to another is carried out in a manner that is at least somewhat protected. The uploading and downloading of digital files from websites are made more straightforward due to this feature.

On the other hand, the operating mind behind TELNET is entirely different. It does this by providing users with command protocols that allow access to distant servers. To accomplish this goal, TELNET calls for establishing an obligatory remote login connection. Clients can access data kept on remote servers via its operation, requiring only a single reference to be created.

The degree of security that one has is also significantly different from that of the other. While FTPs provide appropriate protection during the transmission of files, the functioning of TELNET may raise significant security issues due to its lack of encryption. Although both were created with similar goals in mind throughout the development process, the fundamental distinctions between them make them highly adversarial to one another.


  • http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
  • https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-1-4020-7870-5_83.pdf

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"Difference Between FTP and TELNET." Diffzy.com, 2023. Sun. 02 Apr. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-ftp-and-telnet-999>.

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