SCP Vs FTP – Which is the better pick for file transfer

Secure Copy Protocol

SCP and FTP are two of the bets file transfer protocols, especially within a closed network such as an organisation ore home. Which of the two would better suit your home or organizational needs and requirements?

FTP and SCP are file transfer protocols that seek to achieve the same objective; facilitate the transfer of files between users, but seek to do so with different approaches. FTP establishes a dual port connection, which allows it to be fast, convenient and allows the user to queue transfers as well as schedule them. This is negatively compensated by the lack of security associated with the protocol. On the other hand, SCP is limited to a single closed network and works for a single file transfer at a time, but is run on a SSH network, which makes it secure from hacking. It is these differed approached stat make each of these protocols attractive to different users.

What are the differences between SCP and FTP?

Similar network
Security protocol
Security level
Number of ports

SCP Vs FTP- How do they compare?

  • Speed

The comparison of speed between SCP and FTP is uneven primarily because FTP works on multiple servers which are remote, while SCP is made for use with devices that are within the same network. If these factors are made uniform and the speed between the two is compared in the same network and in regard to transferring a file of the same size, they seem to be equally matched in speed.

  • Security

SCP is designed to make individual transfers which have no other options or frills, making it a one-time movement. In addition to this, it is run over a secure shell which works to encrypt both the credentials of the users and the data, making it a secure form of data transfer. On the other hand, FTP is known to be insecure, with this factor being listed as its major drawback. This is because it relies on a single factor authentication, user ID and password, which is transferred in plain text, making it easy to hack the transfer and access the files therein. Therefore, SCP is more secure than FTP.

  • Convenience of use

Being a Unix Command, SCP is designed for use from the terminal, making this the only form of use for it. FTP is designed to be more flexible, and although it can be used on a terminal, it can be accessed and operated using graphic programs like Filezilla and WinSCP. This makes FTP more convenient to use than SCP.

SCP Vs FTP – A comparison review


Secure Copy Protocol

Secure Copy Protocol is a file transfer protocol that is designed based on SSH to facilitate file transfer between users on a single network. It contains basic file attributes like timestamps and access permissions in addition to using RCP, Remote Copy Protocol, to ensure it is efficient and reliable. It works by allowing the SCP client to upload files and directories directly to the SSH server from which they can be requested by another authorized user on the same network The SSH sever controls all the file downloads, which ensures that the file transfer protocol is secure and reliable.


  • It uses only one SSH2 port, which makes the firewall more secure
  • It is generally secure
  • It provides reliable data integrity
  • It allows for host identity verification
  • It has a strong encryption process for its data


  • It has a great limitation on remote accessing of files


File Transfer Protocal vs Transmission Control Protocal

FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol and it is an internet protocol that establishes a reliable connection between a server and a client then makes use of this connection to transfer files between them. Its security layer is a one-step ID and password factor authentication, which leaves it vulnerable to hacking since it is transferred in plain text. This is said to be the major drawback of this form of data transfer. It allows the user to solve the issue that is presented by different end host configurations by using separate ports for data and commands. This also allows it to be fast yet efficient, while giving it the ability to transfer large and multiple files.


  • It allows for the transfer of multiple directories and files
  • Its file data transfers can be scheduled
  • It hides information on computer systems individually
  • Many FTP clients are capable of scripting
  • It has no size limitations for singular transfers
  • Its directory listing is both machine readable and uniform
  • Many FTP clients have an inbuilt synchronizing utility
  • Its file data transfers can be resumed after pausing


  • FTP is vulnerable to spoofing and other forms of hacking
  • It is a non-secure data transfer method
  • Each vendor is inclined to offer different sets of features
  • Activity monitoring is difficult because you depend on a vendor
  • FTP does not independently offer encryption


FTP and SCP both offer easy to use command line methods that facilitate the transfer of files between devices and this is their major similarity. Their points of difference are that SCP is designed for use over a single network and is best suited for single file transfers, while FTP allows for use on multiple and remote networks, while facilitating transfer of multiple files at a go, which can be queued and scheduled.

Verdict- So which is better, SCP or FTP?

The decision between SCP and FTP would be based primarily on the user’s situation since SCP is limited to a singular network. However, when it comes to file transfer, one of the most crucial factors is security, which makes SCP better than FTP.


Which port does FTP use?

The FTP protocol uses port 20 and 21. Port 20 is established to allow for the transfer if data between the devices while port 21 is established to allow for the flow of commands and responses during the transfer. This dual connection makes FTP suitable for large file transfer and ensures that it performs its task at a high speed.

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Mathew Blake
Hi my name is Mathew Blake. My love for technology stemmed from a curiosity and fascination is small gadgets ever since I could remember. The Globe is a hotbed for rapidly advancing technology that has brought us a multiple gadgets, appliances and devices and I am here for it. is a blog that is very enjoy writing and researching for. My passion for tech led me to specialize in several technology-related fields, the main being IT. As an IT specialist, my main job is to cater to technical needs in many businesses. I enjoy working all tech related- fields especially ones that allow me to interact with the consumer.


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