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What is FTP as a Service?

Posted by Michael Lawson on Apr 27, 2024 11:26:03 AM


FTP as a service, hosted FTP, Cloud FTP, serverless FTP, the list of acronyms goes on, but what does it actually mean and why should you care? 

What is FTP as a Service

FTP is an acronym for "File Transfer Protocol". It is the oldest method of transferring files over the internet, and it rocks (mostly). FTP is different from Dropbox, Sharepoint, and Google Drive; and very different from email. Today FTP is typically used to transfer files between computers and software rather than humans. If humans are involved, we highly recommend Dropbox.

If you are a computer (or need to transfer files without humans), then keep reading. 

When working with FTP, you usually have two parts: the server and the client. The client sends and receives files to and from the server. 

In most contexts, "FTP as a Service" refers to an FTP server that is hosted and managed in the cloud by a service provider. The cloud has modernized how we deploy infrastructure, removing the need to purchase and manage servers and networking infrastructure. FTP as a Service is part of that trend. 

Here's a simple way to think about FTP as a Service: it means you are not managing the server part yourself. It's done for you and it's awesome. 

Deploying a FTP server - Self-hosted vs SaaS

The process of deploying an FTP server typically goes something like this:

  1. Choose a software provider. There are hundreds of FTP server software solutions. We are fans of vsftpd and bitvise, but choose what is best for you.
  2. Purchase or find a server or virtual machine to deploy it on.
  3. Get your techie to wrangle the software together and install it.
  4. Configure it. Sometimes in literal configuration files.
  5. Spend weeks figuring out how to get it to work for your business.
  6. Deploy a bunch of updates.
  7. Deploy some more updates.
  8. Have a few outages.
  9. Deploy some more updates.
  10. Restart the server, (more than once).
  11. Increase the storage size after it runs out.
  12. Patch the latest vulnerability.
  13. Deal with NAT and networking issues.
  14. Restart the server, (more than once).

You get the picture; it's work, it's complicated and it's most likely painful. 

This is likely not your cup of tea unless you are in the hosting business. So rather than banging your head against the wall, choose a FTP as a Service platform. 

The difference a FTP as a Service provider can bring to the deployment process is night and day. Instead of a complex process to get up and running, it can be as simple as:

  1.  Choose a provider (check out Couchdrop) and sign up
  2. Add your users 
  3. Start using it
  4. Go back to bed

Using a FTP as a Service provider is going to save you time, money, and reduce your blood pressure.

Benefits of FTP as a Service

Aside from easy initial setup and configuration, providers of FTP as a Service FTP typically bring a lot of benefits that you otherwise miss out on with a self-hosted server. 


Easy web-based management

FTP as a Service service is typically web-managed. This is a godsend if you are not hanging out in IRC soldering chips to motherboards. 

Simple web management is a key feature of FTP as a Service platforms and will mean you are up and running in minutes versus hours and days. 



Automatic scaling is a crucial feature of most FTP as a Service providers. As load increases and decreases, the platform will automatically adapt to your capacity needs. If you opt for the self-hosted option, then scaling is something that you will need to manage and plan for. 

It can be expensive and challenging to pre-empt capacity issues making this a key benefit. 


Redundancy and failover

Things always go wrong with technology. Everyone promises it won't, but the reality is that it always does and generally at the worst possible time. FTP as a Service providers deal with redundancy and failover for you. Normally it's baked into their design, with no single point of failure and automatic scaling. 


Unlimited storage and bandwidth

Storage and bandwidth limitations are a common issue with self-hosted FTP servers. As servers and VMs are typically bound to a physical limit for storage and network bandwidth, hitting these limits can cause downtime and performance issues. 

FTP as a Service providers solve these issues with autoscaling and unlimited storage backbones. Some even integrate with Cloud Storage systems like S3 and Sharepoint, making one less issue for you to worry about.


Expert Support

Fast and expert support comes out of the box for most FTP as a Service providers, which is an often overlooked benefit of using them. Instead of relying on your own internal IT team for expert advise on FTP, talk to the experts. 


Automatic patching and updates

Security should be a key concern for any business. It's well known that most hacks originate from unpatched or misconfigured software and this is a significant problem. 

FTP as a Service providers look after this element for you, continuously patching these platforms and reacting to the vulnerabilities automatically. 


Security baked in

As well as automatic patching, providing DDOS protection, and protecting from brute force logins, centralized logging and reporting are all critical security features of FTP as a Service providers. 

Since they are servicing thousands of customers, they develop comprehensive and automated security controls and frameworks that ensure your data is safe from attacks. 


How does FTP as a Service help my business?

Managing servers and traditional software is tricky. You have to look after capacity planning, updates, redundancy and failover, and security and vulnerability patching. None of these are fun and generally not a core utility of your company. 

The most significant change the cloud has made to how businesses operate these days is that you can outsource the expertise related to managing software and infrastructure to specialized SaaS (Software as a Service) companies that do one thing and one thing only. This means as a business, you are able to focus on what you do well. And that's probably not managing servers and infrastructure. 


FTP as a Service - A better option

Using an FTP as a Service provider is going to save you time and money.

We of course are highly biased and believe that you should choose Couchdrop.io - Couchdrop FTP rocks and is really the only choice. Try it out for 14 days for free right now by registering for a free trial

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