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What is anonymous FTP

A host that provides an FTP service may additionally provide anonymous FTP access. Users typically log into the service with an 'anonymous' account when prompted for user name. Although users are commonly asked to send their email address in lieu of a password, no verification is actually performed on the supplied data

Some universities, government agencies, companies, and private individuals have set up public archives that you may access via FTP, usually in a directory named pub. These sites contain programs, data files, and informational text. You can often find specific directions or information about the site in greeting messages or files with names like README.

You can use an FTP client such as WinSCP for Windows or Cyberduck for Macintosh to connect to an anonymous FTP space, or you can use FTP from the command line in Windows, Mac OS X, or Unix. Typically you will need to use the username anonymous and an arbitrary password. Most sites will ask you to enter your email address as the password. If your login is successful, you can browse the public directories on the site.

Anonymous FTP is a privilege granted by the organization that owns the computer to which you are connecting; be considerate in your usage. Don't transfer files you don't need or an excessive amount of material, and try to restrict your transfers to off-peak hours. Some FTP sites are used very heavily, and you may need patience to connect.