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Difference Between FTPS and SFTP

ftp_httpFTPS vs. SFTP

FTP is an unsecure protocol used for transferring files to and from a remote location, while SSH is a secure network protocol that lacks the simplified file transfer commands of FTP. These two protocols were very popular during the early days of the internet, but when the need for a secure protocol for transferring files arose, there were two likely paths to follow. Either, FTP capabilities should be added to SSH, or FTP should be made more secure. SFTP was the result of the former, while FTPS was the result of the latter. SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) is completely different from FTP, as it was built from the ground up, to add FTP capabilities to SSH, while FTPS (FTP over SSL or FTP Secure) is an extension to FTP that uses the security mechanism of SSL, to protect the information from eavesdropping.

The two are very different from each other, although they both aim to serve the same purpose. SFTP uses a single channel to transmit and receive all the pertinent data, while FTPS uses another channel that is dynamically decided for the data. FTPS often had problems when passing through a firewall, as it did not know the port that was being used by the data, and failed to allow traffic through the port. FTPS sends messages in a text format, allowing people to read logs and determine what happened during the session. This is not possible with SFTP, as the messages are not in text, but in binary.

As mentioned above, both can be used to achieve a secure connection for transferring files, but there are points to consider for each. FTPS has the advantage of being well-known and familiar to users who have already used FTP. This is because it uses the same, or very similar commands to FTP. On the other hand, SFTP is more secure, since it comes from a secure network protocol.


1. FTPS was created as an extension of FTP to add security mechanisms, while SFTP is an extension of SSH that adds easy file transfer capabilities to the already secure SSH.

2. FTPS uses two channels to facilitate communications and data transfer, while SFTP only uses one.

3. FTPS sends and receives messages in a human readable format, while SFTP sends and receives messages in binary.

4. FTPS has the advantage of being widely known, while SFTP has the advantage of being more secure.

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