FTP vs SSH: Difference and Comparison

The network of computers is very vast and developed in this era. The advancement of technology and the demand for the use of the Internet have been increasing day by day.


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This calls for a secure system of communication between individuals and communication between companies.

Computer science specialists have constantly been working on providing a safe and comfortable environment for people to work and encourage each other and communicate over the Internet.

This also calls for a safe environment for the transfer of files. This is provided by various protocols and transfer systems developed by a specialist over the years. 

Key Takeaways

  1. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a standard network protocol that transfers files from one host to another over a TCP-based network. At the same time, SSH (Secure Shell) is a secure network protocol for remote login and data exchange over an unsecured network.
  2. FTP is vulnerable to security attacks, while SSH provides secure authentication and data encryption during transmission, making it a better choice for secure file transfer.
  3. FTP uses two channels for data transfer, while SSH uses only one for data transfer and remote shell access.


FTP (File Transfer Protocol) refers to transferring files from one computer to another remote computer in plain text. SSH (Secure Shell) refers to the way of communication between two computers that are connected electrically. SSH encrypts the message before sending it.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used for the transfer of data from one computer to another, or, say, from the main computer to a remote computer or vice versa.

It establishes a connection and is based on the TCP/IP protocols, and follows its design. It does not encrypt the data. The file transfer is direct. 

SSH stands for Secure Shell. It is a network protocol used by computers to communicate from one computer to another as long as they are connected electrically. In 1995, Tatu Ylonen founded Secure Shell.

It provides the security and authentication required for communication. It makes use of both public and private keys for communication. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonFTPSSH
Full formFile transfer protocolSecure shell
MeaningThe protocol is used for the transfer of files from a local computer to a remote location and vice versa.The network protocol is used for communication between two computers that are connected by an electrical path.
AccessTransfer in plain textAccess via username and password
SecurityLess secureMore secure
ConnectionComputers not connectedComputers connected by electrical connection.
DataNot encryptedEncrypted while transfer
UsageUsed in the transfer of data files i.e. uploading and downloading files.Used in the transfer of data files, and also allows to insert various commands that can be understood by the remote computer.

What is FTP? 

FTP Stands for file transfer protocol. It is a protocol that is used for the transfer of files from a local computer to a remote location or from a remote location to a local computer. FTP is very old and was created before the public network evolution. 

This explains the slow level of security of the data and the non-authentication of passwords and usernames. The data were actually sent in plain text rather than the use of username and password, and the low level of security can be seen due to the early creation of FTP. 

This is a disadvantage as anyone with the knowledge to sniff data can easily get knowledge about the user, username, password, and the data being transferred. The security breach, in this case, is very easy.

FTP is only capable of transfer of files from one computer to another and can perform basic functions like copying files, pasting files, moving files, or deleting files.


What is SSH? 

SSH stands for secure shell. It is a network protocol used for communication between two computers connected by an electrical path.

The communication is based on the connection of computers via an electrical pathway Or a network of cables regardless of the distance between both computers. 

Secure Shell, as the name says, provides the security of data. It was created after the sniffing attack happened at the Helsinki University of Technology.

Earlier, the Telnet protocol was very prominent at the time when the sniffing attack happened, but now the secure shell has overtaken it and is now in use. 

SSH secures data by encrypting it before it is sent out, and the data is then decrypted at the designated location. SSH allows the user to issue a command that can be interpreted and executed from the remote computer using the listening server.

It is also used for monitoring and channelling services and in applications that are running or even for transferring a file. SSH provides more control to the user and gives freedom in their site management. 


Main Differences Between FTP and SSH

  1. FTP is used for the transfer of files, whereas SSH is used for communication between computers. 
  2. FTP is categorized under transfer protocol, while SSH is classified as a network protocol. 
  3. FTP is less secure than SSH. 
  4. FTP only allows the transfer of files, while SSH can be used for copying, pasting, moving, and deletion of data. 
  5. FTP doesn’t require a username and password, while a username and password secure SSH. 
  6. Unlike SSH, FTP doesn’t require an electrical connection between the computers. 
Difference Between FTP and SSH


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5582002/
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-01399-7_15

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