Using FTP via Command Line (CMD) on Windows 11

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

FTP, short for File Transfer Protocol, is a standard network protocol that allows users to transfer files from one host to another over a network, such as the internet. Despite the emergence of new cloud-based technologies and file sharing platforms, FTP remains a fundamental protocol in networking and is particularly useful in professional settings where large files need to be shared or when tasks need to be automated. In this article, we’ll explore in-depth how to use the FTP command lines on Windows 11 Command Prompt, offering a step-by-step guide on different commands and their uses.

Also see: How to Download an FTP File Using CMD in Windows 11/10

How to use FTP command line on Windows 11 CMD

Introduction to FTP

FTP is a time-tested protocol used for transferring files between a client and a server on a computer network. The client initiates a request, and the server then responds with the requested file or action. FTP works on a client-server model where the client can perform actions like downloading, uploading, renaming, and deleting files on the server.


Before starting, make sure you have the following:

  1. An operational FTP server: This is the remote computer where your files will be uploaded or downloaded. It should be running an FTP server software.
  2. The IP address or domain name of the FTP server: You’ll need this information to establish the connection to the server.
  3. FTP credentials: These are your username and password used to authenticate your access to the FTP server.

Expert guide: How to Download All Files From a Website Directory Using Wget

Accessing the FTP client on Windows 11

While various third-party FTP clients exist, Windows 11, like its predecessors, has a built-in FTP client that can be accessed directly via the command line. To open it:

  1. Click on the “Start” button and type “cmd” in the search bar.
  2. Click on “Command Prompt” to open the command-line interface.Open CMD Windows 11

With the command prompt open, you’re all set to start using FTP commands.

However, it’s important to note that while generally, you do not need administrative privileges to download files via FTP, there are some cases where you might. For instance, if you’re trying to download files directly to the root of your C:\ drive, or to any system folder, you would need administrative permissions. In such a case, right-click on “Command Prompt” in the search results and select “Run as administrator”.

Related resource: Downloading HTML from a Website

FTP commands for Windows (with examples)

Here are the FTP commands you’ll use most often when interacting with an FTP server:

Connecting to an FTP server:

To connect to an FTP server, use the ftp command followed by the domain name or IP address of the server.

ftp <hostname/IP>

For example, ftp or ftp

FTP command to Connect to an FTP server

Logging in with a username and password:

After a successful connection, the FTP server will prompt you to enter your username and password.

ftp> user <username>
ftp> <password>

For instance, if your username is “john”, you would type user john and then enter your password when prompted.

Logging into FTP with a username and password using command line

Changing directory:

To navigate to a different directory on the FTP server, use the cd command.

ftp> cd <directory-name>

For example, cd documents would move you to the “documents” directory.

FTP command line to change directory CMD

Listing files in a directory:

To list all the files and directories in the current directory, use the dir command.

ftp> dir

FTP command to list directory CMD

Downloading a file:

To download or retrieve a file from the FTP server, use the get command followed by the filename.

ftp> get <file-name>

For instance, get report.pdf would download the file named “report.pdf”.

Windows FTP command line to download a file from FTP server

Uploading a file:

To upload or send a file to the FTP server, use the put command followed by the filename.

ftp> put <file-name>

For example, put report.pdf would upload the file “report.pdf” to the server.

Windows FTP command to upload a file to server

Renaming a file:

You can rename a file on the server using the rename command, followed by the old filename and the new filename.

ftp> rename <old-file-name> <new-file-name>

For example, rename oldfile.txt newfile.txt.

Windows 11 FTP command line to rename a file

Deleting a file:

To delete a file from the server, use the delete command followed by the filename.

ftp> delete <file-name>

For example, delete unwantedfile.txt will remove the file named “unwantedfile.txt”.

FTP command line to delete a file from the server

Creating a new directory:

To create a new directory on the server, use the mkdir command.

ftp> mkdir <directory-name>

For example, mkdir newfolder will create a directory named ‘newfolder’.

Create a new directory FTP command line on Windows 11

Removing a directory:

To remove a directory from the server, use the rmdir command.

ftp> rmdir <directory-name>

For example, rmdir oldfolder will delete the “oldfolder” directory.

Windows command line to remove a directory from FTP server

Closing the FTP connection:

When you’re finished with your FTP session, you can close the connection using the close command.

ftp> close

Close FTP connection command line CMD

Exiting the FTP client:

To exit or quit the FTP client altogether, use the quit command.

ftp> quit

How to exit an FTP connection in Windows 11 CMD

Sample FTP Session

For better understanding, let’s walk through a simulated FTP session using the commands we just discussed:

C:\Users\YourUser> ftp
Connected to
220 FTP Server ready.
ftp> user john
331 Please specify the password.
ftp> johnspassword
230 Login successful.
ftp> cd documents
250 Directory successfully changed.
ftp> dir
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
-rw-r--r-- 1 0 0 0 May 25 08:59 report.pdf
226 Directory send OK.
ftp> get report.pdf
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for report.pdf (0 bytes).
226 Transfer complete.
ftp: 0 bytes received in 0.00Seconds 0.00Kbytes/sec.
ftp> close
221 Goodbye.

Anonymous FTP

In certain circumstances, FTP servers allow anonymous logins. Such servers are set up to allow users to log in with the username “anonymous” and typically use the user’s email address as the password. Anonymous FTP is usually read-only and is used for distributing files to the public. While this can make it easier for the general public to access files, it can also create potential security issues.


While FTP is an incredibly handy tool, its primary shortcoming is the lack of security. FTP does not encrypt data transmitted over the network, making it vulnerable to eavesdropping and data tampering. SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), on the other hand, provides the same functionality as FTP but with added security. SFTP encrypts the data transferred over the network, protecting it from unauthorized access and manipulation.

Risks associated with FTP

FTP’s biggest risk lies in its lack of encryption. Any data transferred via FTP, including login credentials, is sent in plain text. This lack of security means any data sent via FTP can be intercepted and read by anyone who can access the network data, leading to data theft or corruption.

FTPS (FTP Secure) and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) were developed to address these security issues. Both protocols add an encryption layer to the data transfer process, thereby significantly improving the security of file transfers.


FTP, despite being one of the oldest protocols for transferring files over a network, remains an integral part of today’s IT world. Windows 11 continues to provide built-in support for this protocol via the command line interface, making FTP a handy tool for anyone who needs to deal with file transfers regularly. This guide gives you a comprehensive understanding of the FTP commands, their functionalities, and how to use them on Windows Command Prompt.

Remember, while FTP can be a powerful tool, it’s essential to be aware of its security limitations and take appropriate precautions to protect sensitive data.

Categories: ComputingWindows 11

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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