The most typical task in a networking environment is to transmit files or data across the hosts on the network. Both SFTP and FTP protocols are file-transferring protocols. Transferring files in plain text format across the network may generate security concerns. The FTP was mainly designed when internet security was not a big problem. In FTP, the data is transferred in an unencrypted form which hackers may easily intercept. As a result, some secure channel was needed to transfer the files. For this, you may either install a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) between the file transfer protocol application layer and TCP or utilize a distinct protocol called SFTP.
In this article, you will learn about the difference between FTP and SFTP. But before discussing the differences, you must know about FTP and SFTP, with their advantages and disadvantages.
What is FTP?
FTP is an abbreviation for “File Transfer Protocol”. It is a kind of internet service that enables you to connect to a certain server or computer system. As a result, the user may transfer files to their computer system or an FTP server and transfer information files. The FTP protocol also includes the commands that may be utilized to remove computer tasks. Various tasks may be performed via commands, including modifying directories, creating folders, displaying folder contents, and removing files.
It is built on client-server architecture. FTP assists you in using different control and information links between the client and server of the application. Unlike other client-server software, FTP establishes two connections between communication hosts. The first is for data transfer, while the second is for data control. FTP offers a control connection on TCP port 21 and a data connection on TCP port 20. FTP uses client-based server architecture, allowing the user to access all data or files on a server at any time. Some servers are password-protected, so data is only available after entering the user ID and password.
Advantages and Disadvantages of FTP
There are various advantages and disadvantages of FTP. Some main advantages and disadvantages of FTP are as follows:
- There is no size restriction on single transfers.
- It permits you to send several files and directories.
- It enables you to hide the information on a single computer system.
- Many FTP clients provide scripting capabilities.
- FTP enables file ownership and access restrictions.
- It is not a secure method to transfer files.
- It doesn’t enable server-to-server copy and recursive directory removal tasks.
- When sending files via FTP, compliance may be an issue.
- Filtering active FTP connections on your local system is a difficult task.
- It is difficult to script jobs utilizing the FTP protocol.
What is SFTP?
SFTP is an abbreviation for “Secure File Transfer Protocol“. It is a safe method of transferring files over the internet. FTP security was not a severe issue while transferring files from one host to the next on the network. The FTP protocol requires a password to connect to a host to which a file is to be transmitted. However, the password is in plain text, increasing the danger of interception by an attacker. The attacker may misuse the password. SFTP established a secure channel for document transmission over the network.
It is a component of the SSH protocol (Secure Shell), which is a UNIX software. The SSH protocol establishes a secure client-server connection. After that, SFTP operates in an FTP-like way, sending the file to the secure SSH channel. SSH is a secure remote access protocol for devices over unstable networks. SFTP makes the control connection using SSH protocol, which is used in port no 22. It is a replacement option for login, RSH, and telnet. Once a secure link is established, SFTP verifies the user’s identity and exchanges data.
Advantages and Disadvantages of SFTP
There are various advantages and disadvantages of SFTP. Some main advantages and disadvantages of SFTP are as follows:
- It offers a secure connection to data transfer.
- It may send large and bulky files all at once. Data will be sent in a timely and effective manner.
- You may install and use the software with limited functionality, even without root rights.
- No plain text passwords or file data are sent because the SFTP protocol operates over a secure channel.
- Uninformed TCP/IP ports may be forwarded via the encrypted channel in both ways when using SFTP.
- It becomes more difficult to control because there are too many protection features.
- SSH keys are difficult to validate and manage.
- SFTP lacks complete security. Cybercriminals may simply attack it. Even the user names and passwords are not always secure.
- The communication cannot be logged because it is binary.
Main Differences between FTP and SFTP
Here, you will learn the main differences between FTP and SFTP. Some main differences between FTP and SFTP are as follows:
- FTP is an abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. In contrast, SFTP is an abbreviation for Secure File Transfer Protocol.
- FTP has no secure channel for file transfer between servers. In contrast, the SFTP protocol offers a secure channel for transferring files between servers on the network.
- FTP sent the password and data in plain text format. In contrast, the SFTP protocol encrypts the file or data before transmitting it to the other host.
- FTP uses the direct method to transfer the files. In contrast, the SFTP uses the tunneling mechanism to transfer the files.
- FTP uploads and downloads the data without any security. In terms of SFTP protocol, it offers complete data security to validate the SSH protocol.
- FTP protocol establishes a connection via control connection on TCP port number 21. In contrast, SFTP transfers files across a secure connection created between client and server using the SSH protocol.
- FTP protocol is a TCP/IP protocol service. In contrast, SFTP is a component of the SSH protocol, which is used for remote login information.
- FTP uses two channels for transferring the data files. In contrast, SFTP uses only one channel to transfer the file.
Head-to-head comparison between FTP and SFTP
Here, you will learn the head-to-head comparisons between FTP and SFTP. The main differences between FTP and SFTP are as follows:
|Full Forms||FTP is an abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol.||SFTP is an abbreviation for Secure File Transfer Protocol.|
|Development||It was designed and developed by Abhay Bhushan and was first released in 1971.||It was designed and developed by Sami Lehtinen with the help of Tatu Ylönen in the year 1997.|
|Basic||FTP doesn’t offer a secure channel for file transmission between hosts.||SFTP offers a secure channel for file transfers between hosts.|
|Encryption||It sent the password and data in plain text format.||It encrypts the file before transmitting it to the other server.|
|Protocol||It is a TCP/IP protocol.||It is a part of the SH protocol.|
|Port||It commonly runs on port number 21.||It commonly runs on port number 22.|
|Method||It uses a direct method to transfer the data files.||It uses the tunnelling method to transfer the data files.|
|Security||It uploads and downloads the data without any security.||It offers complete data or file security to validate the SSH protocol.|
|Channels||It usually uses two channels for data transfer.||It usually uses a single channel for data transfer.|
|Speed||It is faster than SFTP.||It is slower than FTP.|
|Connection||It makes the connection using TCP protocol.||It creates the control connection using SSH protocol.|
|Accessibility||Anyone can access the FTP protocol.||Only the server owner may only access it because port number 22 is not open in case of shared hosting.|
FTP and SFTP are both file transfer protocols. However, SFTP offers a safe method of transferring files from one server to another on the network. FTP is a protocol for transmitting files over a TCP/IP network, whereas SFTP is a protocol for accessing, transferring, and managing files across a data stream. FTP may be accessed anonymously and is not usually encrypted. In contrast, the SFTP protocol is encrypted, making typical proxies ineffective for traffic control.