You’re probably familiar with the well-known FTP (File Transfer Protocol) that has been in use since the 1970s. In cases where you need those transfers to be secure though, you’ll probably want to use SFTP. Transfers that are sent back and forth through regular FTP are done so in plain-text form and could easily be intercepted. 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 speed in the long run)
  • SFTP sends data through the main Control Connection, providing a single connection that’s both efficient and secure


Note: 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.


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