File Transfer Protocol (FTP) was defined and published in 1985 with four objectives: to promote the sharing of files, to encourage the use of remote computers, to shield a user from variations in file storage systems among hosts and to transfer data in a reliable and efficient way. FTP is a simply way to exchange files between the Internet and your computer. FTP is a protocol used to upload files from a computer to a FTP server or to download files from a FTP server to a computer. The computer user can use FTP with a simple command or with customized interfaces and graphics that can help even the most basic user. With FTP you can update, delete, rename, move and copy files via the internet. It is the way that files get transferred from one device to another in order for the files to be available on the Internet.
FTP is an alternative to using AS1 or AS2. EDI data is transmitted directly to and from the trading partners using FTP and encryption software to secure the data. The reason for using encryption software is protect the integrity of the transmitted documents, since the Internet is an open unsecured data line. Encryption software electronically "locks" the data, which can only be "unlocked" with the proper electronic key. This approach would require a higher level of technical expertise to send/receive and monitor the data. It could only be recommend for experienced users who had the personal to monitor the data cycle. Many "Hubs" are somewhat reluctant to this approach because of the "man hour" implications. An additional consideration is that both parties involved must have the ability to encrypt and decrypt the transmitted data.
One last thing to consider is that FTP has not been standardized by the IETF or Drummond and many companies have not accepted FTP because of this.