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10 Most Common Types of Network Protocols and Their Uses

 A network protocol is a set of rules that govern how devices on a network communicate with each other. Protocols define how data is formatted, how devices identify each other, and how they handle errors. Standard network protocols include TCP/IP, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.

Each protocol has its stability and drawbacks and is best suited for different purposes. For example, TCP/IP is the most common protocol for connecting devices to the internet. At the same time, Ethernet is commonly used for local area networks (LANs). Wi-Fi is often used for wireless networks.

Network protocols are continuously developing as new technologies are created. For example, the latest version of the TCP/IP protocol, IPv6, supports a much larger address space than the previous version, IPv4. This allows for more devices to be connected to the internet and paves the way for developing new internet-based applications and services.

Types of Network Protocols

1. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is a critical part of IP networking. It maps a network address (usually an IP address) to a physical address (usually a MAC address). Without ARP, it would not be possible for devices on a network to communicate with each other.


ARP is a relatively simple protocol. It is a request-response protocol, meaning that one device sends a request (usually a broadcast request) to all devices on a network, and the device with the matching address responds. The request contains the address of the requesting device and the address it is looking for. The response includes the address of the responding device and the requested address.


All devices use ARP on a network, including routers. When a router receives a package predestined for a device on a separate network, it must send an ARP request to find the physical address of the next hop router.


ARP can be utilized for both IPv4 and IPv6. However, the process is slightly different for each type of address. For IPv4 lessons, ARP uses a 32-bit address. For IPv6 addresses, ARP uses a 128-bit address.

2. Domain Name System (DNS)

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical Internet component that allows users to connect to websites and additional online resources utilizing easy-to-remember domain names instead of complex IP addresses. DNS is accountable for solving domain names into IP addresses so that users can connect to the correct website or online resource. DNS is a distributed system that is composed of many different DNS servers around the world. DNS servers are arranged in a hierarchical network, with each level of the hierarchy responsible for another part of the DNS namespace. The Internet Corporation manages the root level of the DNS hierarchy for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is reliable for corresponding the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.


DNS is a necessary part of the Internet. Users must be able to connect to websites and other online resources. DNS servers are organized in a hierarchical structure, with each level of the hierarchy responsible for a different part of the DNS namespace. ICANN is responsible for coordinating the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.

3. Internet Protocol (IP)

Internet Protocol (IP) is the direct protocol used for transmission on the Internet. It is a connectionless protocol that allows devices to communicate with each other regardless of their physical location. IP is responsible for routing traffic across the Internet and ensuring that data is delivered to the correct destination. It is a critical component of the Internet architecture and is used by all major Internet service providers.

4. User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

UDP is a simple, efficient, and widely used communication protocol. It is a connectionless protocol, meaning each packet is individually routed, and there is no need for a connection between sender and receiver. UDP is often used for streaming data or applications where speed is more important than reliability.

5. Post office Protocol (POP)

The Post Office Protocol (POP) is a standard protocol used by email clients to retrieve emails from a mail server. POP is a simple, text-based protocol typically used to download messages from a server to a client. POP servers usually listen on port 110; clients can connect to the server to retrieve their email.

6. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

RDP is a proprietary protocol created by Microsoft. It provides a graphical means of connecting to a remote machine. Administrators typically use it to manage servers remotely. Regular users can also use it to connect to their workstations from home. RDP uses a client-server architecture, with the client being installed on the user's machine and the server being installed on the remote device.


RDP provides several features that make it a popular choice for remote access, including the ability to share the same desktop session between multiple users, high-resolution displays, and audio and video streaming support. RDP is typically encrypted using SSL/TLS, making it a secure option for remote access.

7. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a common network protocol that transfers computer files between a client and a server. FTP is established on a client-server architecture and utilizations separate control and data connections between the client and the server.

FTP is a typically used protocol for sharing files over the Internet and is supported by all major operating systems. FTP is easy to utilize and can be used to transfer files between computers on the Internet or between your computer and a web server.

You will need an FTP client, such as FileZilla or Cyberduck, to use FTP. Once you have installed and launched your FTP client, you need to connect to an FTP server. The address of the FTP server is typically in the format ftp://server_name.com.

Once connected to the FTP server, you can browse the server's directory structure and transfer files between the server and your computer.

8. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

HTTP is a communication protocol that allows computers to communicate with each other over the internet. It is the basis of data transmission for the world wide web. HTTP is a request-response protocol, meaning that a client sends a request to a server, and the server responds. The consumer can be a web browser, a mobile app, or any other program that can send an HTTP request. The server can be a web server, a file server, or any other program that can receive and process an HTTP request.

9. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure communications protocol commonly used on the Internet. HTTPS encrypts communications between a web browser and a web server. This encryption helps ensure that third parties do not intercept sensitive data, such as credit card information. HTTPS is also used to verify the identity of a website, which can help to prevent phishing attacks.

10. Secure Shell (SSH)

Secure Shell (SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol for secured data transmission, remote shell assistance or control performance, and other certain network services between two networked PCs. SSH uses public-key cryptography to establish the remote PC and permit it to show the consumer, if necessary. It supplies a secure channel over an unsecured network in a client-server architecture, interfacing an SSH client application with an SSH server. Typical applications contain remote command-line login and remote control performance, yet any network administration can be secured with SSH.

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