4 May 2020

Difference between FTP and SMTP

FTP stands for file transfer protocol, It is used to send and retrieve the file to a remote location. While in SMTP is a protocol used for sending and receiving email, although, in most examples, it is only used for sending E-mail while the receiving is done by other protocols like POP and IMA. Here this article gives information about the difference between FTP and SMTP to better understand this topic.


  • SMTP is one of the most popular network services in electronic mail.
  • The TCP/IP protocol that supports electronic mail on the internet is called a simple mail transfer protocol(SMTP).
  • SMTP transfers the message from the sender mail server to the recipient mail servers using TCP connections. 
  • User-based on an E-mail address.
  • SMTP provides service for mail exchange between a user on the same or different computers.
  • FTP is a standard mechanism provided by TCP/IP for copying a file from one host to another. 
  • There are two connections: data connection and control connection.
  • FTP differs from client-server applications because is establish two connection between hosts.
  • Data connection uses port 20 for the purpose and control connection use port 21 for purpose.
  • FTP is built on a client-server architecture and uses separate control and data connection between client and server. 
  • In this protocol, one connection is used for data transfer and the other for control information.
  • It is transferred to data reliability and efficiency.

The basic difference between SMTP and FTP are listed below:

  • FTP stands for file transfer protocol, SMTP stands for simple mail transfer protocol.
  • FTP is used for the transfer files while the SMTP is used for E-mail
  • FTP is a stateful protocol, SMTP is a stateless protocol.
  • FTP can be used in the command line while SMTP cannot use the command line.
  • FTP uses TCP port number 20 and 21, while SMTP used port number 25.
  • FTP and SMTP are not really related to each other, so you cannot use one instead of each other. 
  • If you want to download the files, you should use the FTP, if you want to send an e-mail then you should use SMTP.
  • FTP is out of band, SMTP is a band. 
  • Both are connection-oriented services.
  • The data connection is non-persistent in FTP, while the SMTP is persistent in SMTP.

Explore more information: