Mozilla has been planning to remove its FTP support for quite a long time. However, in April 2020, it put a hold on its plan and delayed the removal due to the global pandemic situation. On April 15, 2021, the web platform finally announced that it is currently removing its built-in FTP implementation from the browser.
FTP aka The File Transfer Protocol is a standard communication protocol used for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client on a computer network. Mozilla already removed the FTP support from Firefox’s nightly channel in February 2021 and has disabled it in the Beta channel just recently.
The implementation will also be removed from Firefox 88 on April 19, 2021and for Firefox 90, it will be removed by June. Mozilla has also announced that it will attempt to pass the FTP links off to an external application, “After FTP is disabled in Firefox, the browser will delegate ftp:// links to external applications in the same manner as other protocol handlers”.
Mozilla blog post referred that after the removal, the places where “an extension may pass ‘FTP such as filters for proxy or web request should not result in an error, but the APIs will no longer handle requests of those types”.
Caitlin Neiman, the Mozilla add-ons community manager, informed the post that they added FTP to the list of supported protocol_handlers for browser extensions to help the users after removing the implementation. This means that extensions will help the users launch an FTP application to handle certain links.
Firefox on Android will also be affected by this FTP support removal. The users will not be able to transfer files from one host to another using Firefox anymore. The users will have to depend upon a dedicated FTP browser to access remote servers from now on.
Mozilla has been removing the FTP support from its platform probably because it is not a secure protocol to prefer HTTPS for downloading resources. Previously, Mozilla software engineer Michal Novotny also said that a part of the FTP code is ancient, unsafe, and hard to maintain, and they had found a lot of security bugs in it in the past.