FTP vs SFTP: What’s Best for My Use?

Published on 11 Feb 2019

In this tutorial, we’re discussing FTP vs SFTP. Both protocols will get data from one place to another, but which one is right for your business needs?

We’re here to simplify your decision-making process and ease your headache. First, we’ll look at FTP and SFTP to find out what the differences are. Then a quick review of what each protocol is best for.


FTP known as file transfer protocol is the standard for transferring files between a client and a server on a computer network. In short, FTP opens a control channel and a data channel to transfer data between two computers over an Internet connection.

What about SFTP?

SFTP is known as the SSH or secure shell file transfer protocol. SFTP is functionally similar to FTP, but it’s a separate protocol entirely. SFTP requires authentication by the server. Your data transfer takes place over a secure SSH channel.

FTP vs SFTP infographic.

So, which protocol is best for your use?

Let’s go over some reasons to use FTP.

  • FTP is best for uploading and downloading extremely large files.
  • FTP is the fastest way to get your files transferred from one remote location to another.
  • FTP is user-friendly. Ideal for daily business operations requiring file transfers between multiple stakeholders.
  • FTP is ideal for backup of large amounts of business data.
  • Web developers use FTP to move their code to the server hosting the website they’re working on.

And why you might use SFTP?

  • SFTP is ideal for sensitive data that requires encryption.
  • Use SFTP for compliance with federal regulations.
  • Businesses that need firewall-friendly file transfer choose SFTP.
  • SFTP is popular on Linux and Unix.
  • SFTP delivers more detailed metadata with your files.

The choice is yours.

Consider your needs and choose FTP or SFTP. Then the process to get going is simple. First, you select the FTP client you want to use. Many clients support both FTP and SFTP. Download and install the client software. Select the appropriate protocol you want to use. Enter the server address, username, and password. Connect to the FTP server and you’re all set to start transferring files.

Are you ready to get started with FTP or SFTP for your business? Go to ExaVault.com and start your free trial today.

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