FTP is an incredible inefficient protocol. Just to compare if there are some differences on a website it makes thousand of calls to the web server.

It would be enough to make one single call asking: "give me the hash of the folder" or give me the listing of any file you have.

Does it exist such a new protocol?

  • 2
    FTP is extremely efficient... and SFTP more so, if you want a simpler method then use the file manager such as that found in Cpanel. Feb 6, 2015 at 14:21
  • The use case you describe of finding changed files on a website is definitely not what FTP was designed for, so naturally it is inefficient for this task. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, indicating that it is optimized to transfer files from one host to another, and it is very efficient for doing that.
    – dartonw
    Feb 6, 2015 at 23:48
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    @bybe: "FTP is lightweight, secure...". SFTP is secure. FTP is not secure at all.
    – James
    Feb 7, 2015 at 4:36
  • @James I meant SFTP is secure. Feb 7, 2015 at 10:03
  • it is very efficient for doing that Feb 9, 2015 at 4:53

3 Answers 3


I strongly disagree with bybe's opinion on the efficiencies of FTP and its suitability for managing files but the fact remains that it still persists as the lowest common denominator for maintaining files on a remote system across the internet.

Fortunately more providers are offering SSH and scp/sftp. However what you are asking for requires more functionality than is available with most protocols. But if you have SSH access and a recent/complete Unix system at the server, you may be able to run rsync which can compare file trees with some efficiency.

What you seem to aspire to is provided by some parallel filesystems (such as AFS) but I'm not aware of any provider offering these as a service.


SSH is a more powerful and more flexible protocol than FTP, it is also more secure. But to use it you have to know a little about the system you are accessing, usually Linux/Unix based systems.

You have to know that ssh is not a file transmission protocol but a communication protocol, this means you have a terminal where you can type any command that is available on the remote system.

There is the SFTP protocol which is a file transfer protocol based on SSH.

You also have commands like scp to copy files over the net using ssh.


You should look into WebDAV. It is based on HTTP, but does what FTP does. It has the advantage of being sessionless and can use SSL as well. Sessionless is good if the software or operating system is ever updated because it allows a load balancer on the server side to switch incoming requests between servers. With FTP, you have to break any existing sessions in order to update. In many situations, this makes WebDAV more reliable. WebDAV is also supported by most operating systems and many web site editors.

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