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What to expect for the upcoming deprecation of FTP in Firefox

The Firefox platform development team recently announced plans to first disable, and then remove the implementation for built-in FTP from the browser.  FTP is a protocol to transfer files from one host to another. It predates the Web and was not designed with security in mind. Now, we have decided to remove it because it is an infrequently used and insecure protocol. After FTP is disabled in Firefox, people can still use it to download resources if they really want to, but the protocol will be handled by whatever external application is supported on their platform.

FTP was disabled on the Firefox Nightly pre-release channel on April 9. To mitigate the risk of potentially causing breakages during the COVID-19 pandemic, FTP will not be disabled from the Firefox release channel until at least July 2020. If the pandemic situation has not improved by July 28 (the expected release date for Firefox 79), there may be further delays.

Add-ons that use FTP may experience breakage on Nightly but will continue to work as usual on the Beta and release channels. We want to help developers address these breakages as best as we can while this change is on Nightly. If you maintain an extension that uses FTP, please test it on Nightly (or on any current version of Firefox by flipping the preference network.ftp.enabled to false) and file a bug if you notice any issues. We will also evaluate whether new features should be added to help you maintain file transfer functionality.

In the long-term, we encourage developers to move away from using FTP in their extensions. However, if you would like to continue using FTP for as long as it is enabled, we encourage you to wrap any features that require FTP and use the browserSettings API to check whether FTP is enabled before exposing that functionality.

Please let us know if there are any questions on our developer community forum.

12 comments on “What to expect for the upcoming deprecation of FTP in Firefox”

  1. Vivek wrote on

    Why is Firefox deprecating FTP ?

    1. Carmita wrote on

      FTP = File Transfer Protocol

      FTP Stands for File Transfer Protocol and, as the name implies it is a way of transferring files between computers. It is also one of those computer terms that´s both a noun and a verb. As a noun, FTP is the name fot a method of sending files, but also the name of the program that accually sends the files.

      1. CChittleborough wrote on

        @Vivek: “We’re doing this for security reasons. FTP is an insecure protocol and there are no reasons to prefer it over HTTPS for downloading resources. Also, a part of the FTP code is very old, unsafe and hard to maintain and we found a lot of security bugs in it in the past.”

        Quoting from!msg/

        1. PAEz wrote on

          ” and there are no reasons to prefer it over HTTPS for downloading resources.”
          …unless ofcourse the service your connecting with only has ftp available.

          They dont make browsers for techies any more, they are for norms. FF was our last hope but they ripped all the good stuff and turned it into a shallow copy of Chrome.

          Norms dont use ftp so we cant be bothered maintaining it anymore and any way Chrome did it.

          1. masoud wrote on

            ftp needs to die. If you have to use ftp, use an ftp client.

      2. Chris wrote on

        Vivek asked “Why is Firefox deprecting FTP” , not “what is FTP”.

  2. Carol Hensley wrote on

    Agreed with your point of view and i am here just wanted to know about FTP which is upcoming in firefox ? on the other hand there’s a platform like they’re an application service provider in this modern era you have to take services from this platform.

  3. Michael wrote on

    Use FileZilla and SFTP instead. Also a Mozilla Foundation offering, and a lot more secure.

    Plain old FTP sends passwords over the wire in the clear, thus very insecure. Kudos to the Browser team for removing this very insecure transfer mechanism.

    1. Jakob Kobberholm wrote on

      FileZilla is not related to Mozilla and they have demonstrated that user’s privacy and security is not a concern of theirs, by bundling various kinds of malware with the application.

      I recommend you take a look at WinSCP instead. It’s also open source and generally just better in every way.

  4. Nikunj Bhatt wrote on

    There is no information about sFTP in this page. Will sFTP work in Firefox? Or all FTP related functionality will be removed? Will users be able to list files and directories in Firefox from (s)FTP server (only file download facility will be removed from Firefox)?

    In this post, there is a link to Google Group’s “announced plans” thread where a user has talked about securing FTP with TLS about a month ago, to which no one has answered as of writing this comment.

    1. Caitlin Neiman wrote on

      Hi Nikunj, to the best of our knowledge, sFTP was never supported in Firefox.

  5. Piero Brewer wrote on

    Well even Mozilla might have to use tftp to install a basic kernel on a new device similar to a rasberry pi. No, ftp doesn’t have to die. But security is an issue. However, if ftp has to to die? Then honestly Mozilla so should http, in point-of-fact it should die first since it is used the most to break into systems.