The Chelsea skipper denied the charge but the Football Association independent regulatory commission ruled that he was guilty of misconduct during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on October 23 last year.
The 31-year-old, who on Sunday announced his retirement from international football, can lodge an appeal against the panel's decision.
Terry's representatives, Elite Management, said in a statement released on his behalf: "Mr Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law.
"He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal."
An FA statement said: "An independent regulatory commission has today [Thursday] found a charge of misconduct against John Terry proven and has issued a suspension for a period of four matches and a fine of £220,000, pending appeal.
"The Football Association charged Mr Terry on Friday 27 July 2012 with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.
"The charge was the result of The FA's long-standing investigation into this matter, which was placed on hold at the request of the Crown Prosecution Service and Mr Terry's representatives pending the outcome of the criminal trial.
"The decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission is as follows:
:: Mr Terry be suspended from all domestic club football until such time as Chelsea's First Team have completed four competitive matches
:: Fined the sum of £220,000."
"The independent regulatory commission will provide written reasons for its decision in due course. Mr Terry has the right to appeal the decision of the independent regulatory commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision.
"The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Terry decide not to appeal. The reason for this is to ensure that the penalty does not take effect before any appeal so that Mr Terry has an effective right of appeal."
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The case centred around an incident during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on October 23 last year when the pair clashed verbally on a number of occasions.
Terry was found not guilty in Westminster Magistrates Court in July of a racially-aggravated public order offence with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" as an insult.
Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.
Chelsea and England team-mate Ashley Cole gave evidence that helped exonerate Terry, telling the court: "We shouldn't be sitting here".
The FA's decision to press ahead with their own charges infuriated Terry to the extent that on the eve of the disciplinary hearing he announced he was quitting international football with immediate effect, saying his position was "untenable".
Terry's legal team had argued the governing body's own rules dictated that his acquittal in court meant the case could not proceed but the FA believed their charge was distinct from the court charge.
The panel who handed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez an eight-match ban when they found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season declared at that time that simply using racist language was enough to constitute a breach of FA rules.
Chelsea issued a statement that refused to condemn the FA's verdict.
"Chelsea Football Club notes and respects today's [Thursday] decision by the Football Association regarding John Terry," the statement read.
"We also recognise that John has the right to appeal that decision.
"It is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further on the matter at this time."