FTP vs SFTP: Difference and Comparison

“File Transfer Protocol” is shortened as FTP. The file transfer protocol, or FTP, cannot establish a secure connection between the hosts for successful file transmission.

However, the acronym SFTP, in a general sense, stands for “Secure File Transfer Protocol.” SFTP can provide a highly secure channel for successful file transfers between sites.

Key Takeaways

  1. SFTP is a more secure protocol for file transfer than FTP.
  2. SFTP uses SSH for encryption and authentication, while FTP does not.
  3. FTP is faster than SFTP because it uses fewer resources for encryption and compression.

FTP vs SFTP

The difference between FTP and SFTP is that the FTP concept is based on the direct technique when it comes to filing transfers. In the case of FTP, both the downloading and uploading of files happen without the use of any security. However, The “tunnelling approach” lies at the heart of the SFTP idea, especially when it comes to filing transfers between sites. In the case of SFTP, both the uploading and downloading of files are done in a safe manner using SSH keys.

FTP vs SFTP

FTP is an insecure gateway that works with either the IP or TCP protocols. On the TCP port 21 connection, greater control is established in the case of FTP.

The FTP password is the only security feature of the unprotected file transfer protocol, which means it does not permit data encryption before transmission.

However, the information and data are delivered in plain text here. FTP, or file transfer protocol, uses port 21 to carry out its activities.

SFTP is a protected gateway using the SSH protocol, a remote login application programme. In the case of SFTP, the server and client create a secure connection using the SSH protocol.

Before transferring, the information and data are normally encrypted using the protected file transfer protocol. Secure file transfer protocol, or SFTP, uses port 22 for its operations.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFTPSFTP
TypeNot securedSecured
Port UsedPort no-21Port no-22
Protocol followedIP or TCP protocolSSH protocol
Type of MethodDirect methodTunnelling method
EncryptionNot encryptedEncrypted

What is FTP?

FTP, in a general sense, stands for “File Transfer Protocol” in abbreviated form. The file transfer protocol, or FTP, cannot establish a secure connection between hosts for successful file transmission.

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FTP is a secure gateway that uses either the IP or TCP protocols. On the TCP port 21 connection, a higher level of control is achieved in the case of FTP.

The FTP password is the only security feature of the unprotected file transfer protocol, which means it does not permit data encryption before transmission. However, the information and data are provided in plain text in this case.

The file transfer protocol, also known as FTP, uses port 21 to carry out its functions.

Regarding the file transfer process, the FTP concept is based on the direct technique. In the case of FTP, both the downloading and uploading of files go place without the use of any security.

What is SFTP?

“Secure File Transfer Protocol” is shortened as SFTP. SFTP is capable of providing a highly secure route for the successful transfer of files between sites.

SFTP is a secure gateway using the SSH protocol, a remote login application programme.

In the case of SFTP, the connection between the server and the client is formed via the SSH protocol, which is safe. Before transferring, the secured file transfer protocol normally encrypts the information and data.

Secure file transfer protocol, or SFTP, uses port 22 to carry out its functions.

The notion of SFTP is based on the “tunnelling approach,” which is particularly useful when transferring files across sites. In the case of SFTP, both the uploading and downloading of files are maintained using SSH keys in a thankfully safe manner.

Main Differences Between FTP and SFTP

  1. FTP is the abbreviated form of “File Transfer Protocol”. On the other hand, SFTP is the abbreviated form of “Secure File Transfer Protocol”.
  2. For the successful transfer of files, the file transfer protocol or FTP cannot provide a secure channel between the hosts. On the other hand, for the transfer of files successfully between the hosts, the SFTP is capable of providing a highly secure channel.
  3. The FTP is an unsecured gateway that involves either IP or TCP protocol. On the other hand, the SFTP is a secured gateway involving SSH protocol, an application program with remote login.
  4. In the case of FTP, a higher control is established on the TCP port 21 connection. On the other hand, in the case of SFTP, the connection that is established between the server and the client is made through SSH protocol in a secure manner.
  5. The unsecured file transfer protocol possesses the FTP password only, which means that it does not support the encryption of data before sending. However, here the information and the data are sent in the form of plain text. On the other hand, the secured file transfer protocol encrypts the information and data before the process of sending.
  6. The file transfer protocol or FTP makes use of port no-21 for carrying out its operations. On the other hand, in the case of secure file transfer protocol or SFTP, it makes use of port no-22 for carrying out its operations.
  7. The concept of FTP is based on the direct method when the process of transfer of files is concerned. On the other hand, the concept of SFTP is based on the “tunnelling method”, especially when the process of transfer of files is concerned between different hosts.
  8. In the case of FTP, the downloading of the files along with the uploading of the files both processes occur without the involvement of any security. On the other hand, in the case of SFTP, both the processes of uploading and downloading files are maintained with the help of SSH keys, a thankfully secured way.
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4353899/
  2. https://www.usenix.org/system/files/login/articles/1279-cohen.pdf
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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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12 thoughts on “FTP vs SFTP: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This is a very informative article comparing FTP with SFTP. I have learned a lot from this about how SFTP is a more secure protocol for file transfer than FTP. I also gained a good understanding of how SFTP uses SSH for encryption and authentication, while FTP does not.

    Reply
    • Yes, this article provides a detailed explanation of FTP and SFTP. It’s a great read for anyone looking to understand the differences between these protocols.

      Reply
  2. The detailed information provided about FTP and SFTP, along with the comparison table, allows for a thorough understanding of the differences between the two protocols. A great piece for those in the field of information technology.

    Reply
    • Absolutely, the article does an excellent job of breaking down the technical aspects of these protocols in a comprehensive way.

      Reply
  3. The detailed analysis of FTP and SFTP, along with the clear comparisons, makes this article a valuable resource for those diving into the intricacies of file transfer protocols. Well done.

    Reply
  4. The explanations about FTP and SFTP are very clear and precise. This article helps in understanding the importance of secure file transfer protocols and the risks involved with unsecured gateways.

    Reply
  5. The thorough explanations, detailed comparisons, and clear language used in the article provide an excellent understanding of FTP and SFTP. An insightful read, indeed.

    Reply
  6. The article provides an excellent overview of FTP and SFTP, highlighting the significance of secure file transfer protocols. I appreciate the clarity of the explanations provided.

    Reply
  7. The comparison table contrasting FTP and SFTP is very helpful. It neatly summarizes the main differences between these two protocols in an easy-to-understand format.

    Reply
    • Absolutely, the detailed tables are very beneficial. This article is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the technicalities of file transfer protocols.

      Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more. The table is an excellent addition to the article, providing a quick reference for anyone needing to grasp the distinctions between FTP and SFTP.

      Reply
  8. This article serves as a great reference for understanding the technical nuances of FTP and SFTP. The detailed descriptions support a deeper comprehension of these essential file transfer protocols.

    Reply

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