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What's the Difference Between FTP and SFTP?

FTP vs SFTP

Tags: FTP,  WHM 

What's the Difference Between FTP and SFTP?

You're probably familiar with the well-known FTP (File Transfer Protocol) that has been in use since the 1970s. If not, FTP is essentially a way that computers can communicate to transfer files easily. In cases where you need those transfers to be secure, though, you'll probably want to use SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) with your Cloud or VPS server that has SSH enabled. Transfers sent back and forth through regular FTP are done so in a plain-text form and could easily be intercepted, whereas, with SFTP, the transfers are encrypted before they are sent so that only the source and destination know the contents of the transfer. The ports that are required to be open for FTP can also be a concern.

What's the Difference Between FTP and SFTP?

There are several key differences between FTP and SFTP, including:

  • Secure File Transfer Protocol, SFTP, transfers over a connection that's already been secured with SSH (Secure Shell)
  • The data transferred in SFTP is packet-based, not plain-text like FTP (This also helps with the speed in the long run)
  • SFTP sends data through the main Control Connection, providing a single connection that's both efficient and secure
  • With FTP, users may be able to login to the server anonymously and view the files on the server and, in most cases, are not encrypted.

There's also FTP/S, which lets you secure parts or all of the connection, but the security can be turned off, and using this method will result in less than ideal speed.

If you should have any questions or would like assistance, please contact us through Live Chat or by submitting a ticket with our Technical Support team.

Written by Hostwinds Team  /  June 5, 2021