FTP Support may be dropped in Firefox and Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 13, 2015
Updated • Jul 13, 2015

A recent Chromium bug listing indicates that Google is considering removing built-in ftp support in the Chrome web browser.

According to the listing, only 0.1% to 0.2% of Chrome users access ftp urls in any given seven day period and that's the main reason for the consideration.

The thread starter suggests to move support to an application instead that users of Chromium and Google Chrome can use instead to add the functionality again to the browser.

With the combination of the sockets API and the downloads API it may be possible to construct a Chrome App which handles this well. Also would need a way to be able to register an app/extension to handle a particular URL scheme so that navigations would be seamless for users of FTP apps.

A bug listing was added on Bugzilla@Mozilla as well but it has not received any response yet. The only information it contains so far is the link to the Chromium bug listing.

FTP has been supported by most web browsers for a long period of time and removing it would certainly be disruptive to a small percentage of the browser's userbase. While it is likely that Google and Mozilla will provide apps or extensions that users can install to regain FTP functionality, it would require the installation of an additional program (app or extension) which, in addition to being a one-time operation, would require regular maintenance on top of that.

Firefox and Chrome users can access ftp servers directly in the web browser either by clicking on ftp links, or by entering ftp urls directly in the browser's address bar.

This works to enter public ftp servers but also ftp servers that require authentication as it is possible to add login information to the url in the form ftp://username:[email protected]/.

It needs to be noted that the removal of ftp support is just a suggestion currently and not a done deal. It is unclear if Mozilla or Google will go ahead with the removal or decide against it.

Considering that Chrome has a couple of hundred million users at the very least, 0.1% to 0.2% is not such a small number of users after all.

If support is dropped, free third-party ftp clients like FTP Rush, WinSCP may fill the gap provided that options exist to open ftp urls in those programs when clicked on in the browser of choice.

Now You: What's your opinion on this? Should FTP support be dropped?

FTP Support may be dropped in Firefox and Chrome
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FTP Support may be dropped in Firefox and Chrome
Both Google and Mozilla are discussing plans to drop FTP support in Chrome and Firefox in the future.

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  1. Joker said on July 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

    “Chrome removes it, and so should we.”

    Why not pull an “Opera”, fork Chromium and add the Firefox-UI on top of it? Google’s decisions already decide Firefox’s direction anyway.

  2. GunGunGun said on July 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    FTP should not be removed, install a FTP Client on Linux for dummy is pretty hard, better have something like this clearly better.

  3. Sven said on July 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

    So, just because a download is via FTP, you need to install an FTP client/plugin/whatsoever? That’s… uhm… stupid. Good, if you are a tech savvy user, you will have one installed, but for beginners, who do not even know what FTP is, that is really unfriendly in particular *because* it will not happen often.

    And that ticket at BMO is really borderline to trolling only dumping a link to Chromium (???)…. and that by a MozCo official…. what’s the intention? Let Chromium do the discussion for Firefox as well? Bad style.

  4. webfork said on July 13, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    FTP is a very fast and efficient network protocol but it really shines when packaged inside of a tool that can do intelligent operations like batch downloads, rename, resume downloads, scheduling, etc. The only times I ever used it inside a web browser were as a stop-gap measure to quickly connect/test a webserver or file server before switching to a *real* FTP client like FileZilla or FireFTP.

    The only reason I can think to keep it is that some downloads may run faster because lots of important backup services use the same port. Network admins sometimes give FTP traffic a higher priority because it’s part of a critical operation.

  5. FireFox WTF said on July 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Firefox became stupid when tried to update like Chrome, it was awesome before… stop doing stupid things and do not touch nothing… just update the bugs and DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!!!

  6. Nebulus said on July 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Probably they need to become appealing to idiots and that is the solution they found: removing everything…

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Some complain about things being added, some about things being removed. I guess we complain on the basis of what we like or dislike, try to wrap those feelings with a universal argument when basically objectivity is rather a tough job :)
      I complain a lot myself !

      1. Nebulus said on July 13, 2015 at 11:18 pm

        I complain both about removal and adding of new features, but in the end you are right: we are subjective in our opinions.

  7. Pete said on July 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    If something is already baked in and not producing problems, why remove? What is this “remove everything” and strip down to absolute basics crazy trend?! I don’t get it. Dumb things for dumb and ever dumbering people?

    1. Al McCann said on July 15, 2015 at 2:39 am

      They need to remove stuff so that they can squeeze in more useless and unwanted crap.

      1. Gregg said on July 20, 2015 at 7:26 pm

        Exactly. If what’s there works why remove it?

    2. mr. T said on July 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      because more stuff implies more bugs and 0 day exploits.
      Modularity for safety.

  8. B. Moore said on July 13, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    FireFTP add-on is what i have always used.

    1. Doc said on July 14, 2015 at 12:35 am

      Yes, but that just adds dual-pane browsing. What if the functionality that FireFTP relies on is removed?

      1. B. Moore said on July 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

        It adds more than that… SFTP.

        The only way I will move my files these days.

  9. leon said on July 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    i just use a addon for it anyways(on firefox)

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