Types of Network Protocols Explained (and Their Uses)

Types of Network Protocols Explained (and Their Uses). In this post, we will explain different network protocols types and their usage. A network protocol is a set of rules that checks data communication between different devices in your network.

In nutshell, it determines what communicates over the network and how and when it’s communicated. With Network protocol it allows you the communication between connected devices, irrespective of internal and structural differences.

Different network protocols offer different functionalities, which can help you improve communication over the network. But what are network protocol types?

You may know a few forms of network protocols because of your everyday internet browsing. Two examples are HTTPS and HTTP. While HTTP focuses on communication over a network, HTTPS adds a security layer to your network communications.

But apart from these two, there are several classifications of network protocols you must know. 

Let’s start this article blog about Types of Network Protocols Explained (and Their Uses).

Types of Network Protocols

There are three major types of network protocols. These include: Network management protocols, Network communication protocols and Network security protocols.

Let’s go through the in depth analysis of these network protocols and understand their uses.

1. Network Management Protocols and Their Uses

First of all, the protocols help you define the policies and procedures for monitoring, managing, and maintaining your computer network. Additionally, it also helps to communicate the needs across the network for stable communication and great performance across the board.

Therefore, network managers use the management protocol for troubleshooting connections between host and client devices. Also, the management protocols provide network managers with the host connection’s availability, status, packet or data loss, and other important information.

The management protocols’ policies apply to all devices on the network, like switches, routers, computers, and even servers.

Internet Control Message Protocol and Simple Network Management Protocol are two common network management protocols. But apart from these are several other management protocols you should know.


Gopher is a file retrieval protocol. primarily, provides downloadable files with descriptions for easy retrieving, managing, and searching. All the files are available on a remote computer in an organized manner. Being an old protocol, it’s not ideal to use it in the modern network ecosystem.

The Gopher protocol and user interface design are menu driven. Additionally, its ecosystem is effective as the effective predecessor of the World Wide Web. Moreover, gopher remains in active use by a few enthusiasts. There are attempts to revive Gopher on mobile devices. This application layer protocol has the ability to extract and view Web documents stored on remote Web servers. 


Internet Control Message Protocol is a type 3 layer protocol. Basically the network devices use to forward operational information. Hence, ideal for diagnosing and reporting congestion, network errors, and timeouts.

Another key point, of ICMP is that it determines whether data is reaching the intended destination effectively. Commonly, network devices like routers use the ICMP protocol. As a result, ICMP is crucial for testing and reporting errors but also prevents distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.


Simple Network Management Protocol is a layer seven protocol. Ideal for managing nodes on an IP network. There are three major components in the SNMP protocol, i.e., SNMP manager, SNMP agent, and managed device.

Besides, SNMP agent knows management details and translates them into a desirable form compatible with the SNMP manager. Afterwards, the SNMP manager presents data from SNMP agents, which helps to monitor network glitches and troubleshoots them.


The File Transfer Protocol is a client/server protocol ideal for moving files from a host computer. As a result, it enables users to download programs, web pages, files, and other things available on other services.

Equally, FTP is secure with SSL/TLS or replaced with SSH File Transfer Protocol for better security. Use FTP as a graphical FTP client, web browser, and command line FTP.


Post Office Protocol is an application layer standard protocol ideal for email clients to retrieve emails from a mail server.

Actually, POP version 3 is the common version, and IMAP is the most common protocol for email retrieval. The ISPs hosting the email server use the POP3 protocol to receive and hold emails intended for their users.

Use cases are to use email client software to look at your mailbox on the remote server and to download your emails. After downloading of emails is complete, they automatically delete from the servers.


Telnet is a protocol that allows you to connect to a remote computer program. Also, ideal for remote connectivity. Use Telnet to create a strong connection between host hardware and a remote endpoint for an effective remote session.

2. Network Communication Protocols and Their Uses

Communication protocols are critical for the functioning of a network. Computer networks cannot exist without communication protocols.

These protocols describe the formats and rules for data transferring over the network.  Especially, with communication protocols it handles syntax, synchronization, semantics, error detection, and authentication. Evidently, the management ensures that digital and analogue communications comply with the set function.

Another benefit of communication protocols is to use it for exchanging messages between your computing systems and telecommunications. Also to apply to hardware and software.

Look at a few examples of network communication protocols and their uses.


Internet Relay Chat is a text based communication protocol. Basically, the software clients communicate with servers and send messages to clients. As well, the protocol works well on networks with many distributed machines.

Implement IRC as an application layer protocol for communication as text. Then, the chat process works great on a client server networking model. Further, you can connect using a client, a standalone desktop program, or embedded into part of a larger program.


BGP is a major routing protocol controls how packets go through the router in an independent system. For example, the Border Gateway Protocol connects the endpoints of a LAN network with other LANs. Forthwith, it also connects endpoints in different LANs to one another.

Henceforth, BGP4 is a standard for Internet routing, and Internet service providers (ISPs). Primarily used to establish routing between one another. Large private IP networks use BGP internally.


Address Resolution Protocol is a protocol that helps to map logical addresses to the physical addresses in a local network. A table known as ARP cache maintains and maps a correlation between these logical and physical addresses.


Internet protocol is a protocol through which you can send data from a single host to another on the internet. Even more, IP is ideal for addressing and routing data packets to reach their destination.


For instance, it is a layer seven protocol for transferring a hypertext between two systems. HTTP works on a client server model and helps share data over the web.

Being one of the most familiar protocols, a hypertext transfer protocol is also an internet protocol. An application layer protocol enabling browser and server to communicate.


Next protocol lays out a reliable stream delivery by relying on sequenced acknowledgment. TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol, is a connection oriented protocol.  Primary function is to establish a connection between applications before data transfer. Ideal for communicating over a network and has many applications, like emails, streaming media, FTP, etc.

TCP separates data into packets that make sharing easier over a network. The devices like switches and routers can share these packets with the designated target.


User Datagram Protocol or UDP is a connectionless protocol that layout an unreliable but basic message service. Adds reliability, flow control, or error recovery functions. Also, the UDP is functional where reliability is unnecessary and when you want faster transmission for broadcasting connections and multicasting, etc.

The UDP works similarly to TCP, sending data packets over the network. The difference is that Likewise, TCP ensures a connection between the application and the server, but UDP does not.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is for network management, which automates configuring devices on IP networks. A DHCP server assigns an IP address and other configurational changes to devices on a network for communication. In addition, it enables devices to use various services, like NTP, DNS, or other protocols based on TCP or UDP.

3. Network Security Protocols and Their Uses

Well, the security protocols ensure that data in transit in the network’s connections remains safe and secure. These protocols define how your network secures data from attempts to review or extract using illegitimate means.

Usually, network security protocols depend on cryptography and encryption. For that reason, these protocols secures data, only specific formulas, algorithms, and logical keys enable data access.

Helps in such way, that no unauthorized services, devices, or users access your network data. The security protocol works across all data types and network mediums you use.

Some security protocols are Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS).


Next protocol is a secure version of HTTP. The  Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol ensures secure communication between computers. For this purpose, it makes sure that one computer can send a request, and the other computer fetches the data from the web server.


Further we have listed Secure Sockets Layer is a network security protocol ideal for protecting sensitive data and securing internet connections. Overall, SSL also allows server to server and client to server communication. Transfer data securely through SSL, which prevents unwanted external access.


Last Network Security Protocol is Secure File Transfer Protocol, that runs over the SSH protocol. In particular, it supports the security and authentication functionality of SSH.

In addition, SFTP protects against password sniffing and different man in the middle attacks. Secondly, it also protects the integrity of your data using hash functions and encryption and authenticates the server and the user.

Thank you for reading Types of Network Protocols Explained (and Their Uses). We will now conclude. 

Types of Network Protocols Explained (and Their Uses) Conclusion

After examining the different computer network protocols, it’s overwhelming to decide which one is best for your business.

So, before you choose your network protocols, you must understand your requirements and business goals.

Summing up, TCP and IP communication protocols are easy to manage for start-ups and small businesses. On the other hand for faster file transfer, you can use FTP protocols instead of relying on HTTP alone.

For security, HTTPS is reliable for data transfer over the network. Lastly, with SNMP can help you manage networks, and communication protocols like UDP can simplify your business operations.

Take a look at more content regarding FTP and SFTP server. 

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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