In a complete non-surprise, Mozilla hammers final nail in FTP's coffin by removing it from Firefox

Gather 'round, kids, and I'll tell you stories of rotary dial phones, modems, and FTP


Mozilla has finally expunged File Transfer Protocol (FTP) from the Firefox browser – an action already taken by other major browsers like Chrome and Edge, making Firefox 89.0 the last bastion of the protocol.

The company explained yesterday that it will end FTP support in Firefox 90 as part of its drive to a browser that's all HTTPS, all the time.

Mozilla announced its FTP-flaying intentions way back in 2015, and said the change was necessary because the protocol lacked proper encryption. The resulting transfer of files in the clear represented an obvious security issue, as it meant miscreants could easily download, steal and even transmit modified data.

The org's blog post says the protocol was disabled by default with version 88, which launched in April of this year. Users won't have to take any action to further rid themselves of the tech, as any auto-update to version 90 will do it for them.

Edge and Chrome have stopped supporting FTP, although Chrome performed a temporary backtrack in 2020 due to COVID-19 demands.

FTP sites can be accessed with Internet Explorer. However, Microsoft plans to retire the browser on June 15, 2022.

Safari never fully supported FTP, choosing instead to hand off OS X FTP calls to the Finder. These days Apple is deprecating FTP from all versions of its OS — even the command-line hasn't supported FTP since OS X 10.13.

An Apple developer looking for FTP download support can still use API NSURLSession, as long as they don't need to upload or use any other FTP operations, or run FTP downloads in the background on iOS. Generally, Apple's advice is "don't use FTP".

Users keen for retro file transfers can turn to a dedicated FTP program. The likes of Filezilla are still around, and still being developed — version 1.0.0 rc4 of Filezilla Server emerged just this week.

AWS launched a cloud FTP service called AWS Transfer Family in April 2020. Supporting a dying protocol may seem an odd choice, but there's always someone wanting to stick with legacy systems. ®

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