Active and Passive Modes

Data connections may be set up in two different ways, active and passive. Note that active and passive refer to the operation of the FTP server, not the client.

Passive mode

In passive mode, the client sends a PASV command to the server. This tells the server to listen for a connection attempt from the client, hence the server is passively waiting. The server replies to PASV with the host and port address that the server is listening on. The client deciphers this reply and when a data connection is required, attempts to initiate the connection to the server at this address.

Active mode

In active mode, the server actively connects to the client. To set up active mode, the client sends a PORT command to the server, specify the address and port number the client is listening on. When a data connection is required, the server initiates a connection to the client at this address.

Generally the server is responsible for closing data connections.

Next: FTP Commands