April 24

How To Use FTP Mac Terminal, Complete Guide


IT professionals who are looking to use FTP on their Mac device must fully understand what is it, the risks, and the tools available to assist them in maximizing efficiencies and keeping sensitive information protected. In order to know how to use FTP mac terminal on your Mac device, it is essential to grasp what FTP is and how it works.

What is FTP?

What is FTP
What is FTP

FTP means File Transfer Protocol and is a process to transfer large files across the internet. The majority of companies depend on FTP tools and sites to operate efficiently on a routine basis, whether to send an image-packed MS Powerpoint presentation or a high-quality video. While there are multiple in-built functions for files transfer on a Mac device, we will also explain why robust software is a better option for every business.

FTP also frequently used to transfer web pages and allows new web pages to show up on the internet. It essentially transfers a web page to the computer server to get it access by others. Additionally, FTP is also used to download programs and files from the internet to a computer device. When a user downloads these files, they are transferring them from other servers through FTP.

FTP allows users to transfer files between two computers while connected to an internet connection.

How Does FTP Work?

How Does FTP Work
How Does FTP Work

When files are being transferred through FTP, one of two actions are occurring that are uploading or downloading.

Uploading process involves transferring files from a personal computer to a web server while downloading consists of transferring a file from a web server to a personal computer. TFP utilizes TCP/IP to transfer these files. TCP/IP is a language that the internet uses to carry out instructions.

If you are planning to use FTP to download files, you should consider security concerns as well. Files that are transferred from the web server may contain viruses that can damage your computer.

One technique to use FTP is to go through an FTP client, which can make it securer for your computer to upload or download files and help prevent malware or viruses. Some FTP clients are paid, and some of them are entirely free.

Is FTP Secure?

Is FTP Secure
Is FTP Secure

FTP works independently and without the support of third-party software programs, can pose threats. Multiple FTP sites allow for anonymous transfers, in which users can access and transfer files with login credentials. This process isn’t secure, and it is recommended to only use when data are intended to be public.

Moreover, FTP connections that required username and password are at risk because they are transferred over the web without encryption, which exposes them to password sniffing attacks.

Another rare but still possible FTP risk is data that strays to the remote computer instead of its intended destination. This would allow a third-party to view and edit transferred files containing confidential information.

How to Use FTP Mac Terminal?

How to Use FTP Mac Terminal
How to Use FTP Mac Terminal

The majority of people don’t know that their Mac device features an in-built FTP and FTP clients. You don’t require to download additional software programs or apps to connect to FTP sites from your Mac devices, and you can connect to remote servers directly by a less know feature. If you haven’t experience Mac FTP tools before, you’ll find them extraordinarily straightforward and familiar duet to its connection utilities, and server browsing is much like navigating through the standard Mac computer.

Using FTP from Mac is simple, but there are several avenues to consider. As stated above, Mac has an in-built FTP to make it easy for users to add their files into the FTP client Mac and grant access to particular documents. For this process below are some steps;

  • From the Apple icon, select System Preferences
  • Click Sharing Option
  • Choose the File Sharing box and then click Options.
  • Select Share Files and Folders Using FTP

This straightforward process enables other computers to copy and share files from your device. If you want to access to an FTP server Mac to get access to another individual’s data without involving third-party software, you can follow these steps;

  • Go to the Finder Menu
  • Press Go option
  • Press Connect to Server
  • Type the credentials for the server you want to connect with.

This form of FTP Mac terminal connection has some restrictions. It can only be utilized for downloading files, and if a username or password contains unique character @, then the server will not be able to connect. Moreover, dragging and dropping big data is generally not allowed, and security is at a bare minimum.

If you want to test it by connecting to a real server, you need to use ftp.mozilla.org and login as a guest. Below are some instructions that you need to follow to start an FTP connection from Mac to a remote server;

FTP Mac Terminal
FTP Mac Terminal
  • From your Mac press, Command-K to launch the Connect to Server window, or you can do this by navigating to your device’s Go menu.
  • Type the address of the FTP server, like ftp://ftp.domain.com
  • If you want to add a bookmark to favorite Servers for repeated connections, press the + button located next to the Server Address field.
  • Click on the Connect option and wait until you get connected to the remote server.
  • Type the FTP credentials or connect as Guest if the server has the feature of guest connections and press the Connect option.

If you want to get connected to secured FTP servers, all you have to do is to prefix the domain with FTPS://rather than FTP.

FTP Mac Terminal
FTP Mac Terminal

Difference Between FTPS and SFTP

Difference Between FTPS and SFTP
Difference Between FTPS and SFTP

The majority of users think that FTPS and SFTP are the same, which is not true. FTPS is FTP containing a secure SSL layer, while SFTP utilizes SSH. Another thing that differentiates them is that FTPS connections are supported directly by in-built functionality. In contrast, SFTP connections through SSH can not be accessed through the same Connect to Server menu.

Navigate and Transfer Files With FTP and FTPS

Navigate and Transfer Files With FTP and FTPS
Navigate and Transfer Files With FTP and FTPS

After you are successfully connected to an FTP server, you can browse the remote server similarly to any other local folder on your Mac device because it treated as a regular file system in the Finder.

Copying files to the remote server or download them to the Mac, can be done straightforwardly by dragging and dropping. You can navigate to the folder or file that you want to copy and then drag or drop it as if you are moving or copying any other data.

The window will be displayed as minified by default, and you can expand it to your familiar Mac Finder style by navigating to the View option and choose Show Toolbar. The key advantage of broadening the widow is that you will get access to the forward and back menus, as well as to sorting options to browse through the FTP server by icon,  date, name, lists, and search feature.

Best Options For FTP Mac Terminal Software

Best Options For FTP Mac Terminal Software
Best Options For FTP Mac Terminal Software

Third-party software, such as Filezilla or CyberDuck, is required for IT professionals looking to provide smooth, instant, and reliable file transfers from their company. The best FTP Mac terminals can provide;

Greater security

A complete FTP for Mac terminals leverages FTPs for file transfers, protects data from accidental exposure, and encrypting files using TLS or SSL cryptographic protocol. This kind of software also makes sure that no data is stored in the DMZ to comply with PCI and other frameworks.

Enhanced Efficiency

Third-party tools can effectively transfer big files and allows users to download and upload data at once.


Tools that allow automation, users can delete or move files after transfer and reset or delete login credentials after a particular period.

Monitoring and Management

Third-party tools allow users to monitor file transfer stats, permissions, storage, as well as distinctive management console and FTP server log.


FTP means File Transfer Protocol, and as its name suggests, it is used to transfer files between a network of computers. It can be used to share data between computer accounts, exchange data between an account and a computer, as well as to get access to online software archives. Many FTP sites are under heavy use and require multiple attempts before connecting.

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Below are some most asked questions by multiple users;

Q: What port can be used for FTP?

Ans: TCP 21 is the default FTP port and is a transmission level protocol providing reliable data transfer between hosts. It can be easily changed, but the majority of users prefer to use the default port to make their work easy.


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