SCP Vs SFTP – Which is better for file transfer?

secure file transfer protocol

SCP and SFTP both make use of SSH encryption to ensure the security of their users’ data. Which of the two would be a better pick for file transfer?

It can be argued that beyond their use of SSH to encrypt user data, SFTP and SCP are vastly different. However, a factor that allows the two to be compared is their primary use, which is to facilitate transfer of files between users. SCP is typically used within the confines of a secure network, although it can be modified to allow remote access, while SFTP was made for remote access and file sharing. It would be imperative that a potential user considers the individual functionalities of the two, matching this to their individual needs and requirements coupled with their financial capability in order to make the decision between them

What are the differences between SCP and SFTP?

Resumption for file transfer
Number of ports
Similar network

SCP Vs SFTP- How do they compare?

  • Support for large files

Both SFTP and SCP support the transfer of large files, since neither has a file size limitation. They also allow the user to a lot of small data packets at the same time, making them very convenient. SFTP and SCP are equally capable and efficient in the transfer of large data files.

  • Resumption of file transfer

Once a file transfer is interrupted on SCP, the user has to start all over again, or go through the tedious process of overwriting the partial file that was transferred. On the other hand, with SFTP, an interrupted file transfer can be continued from the point at which it was transferred without much complication. This makes SFTP more convenient because it allows for the resumption of a paused of stopped file transfer process.

  • Security

SCP and SFTP both run on SSH, which is a security protocol. Their use of the same security protocol implies that they have the same encryptions and security measure embedded in their file transfer protocols. These security protocols include public key authentication as well as data-in-motion encryption. SCP and SFTP re equally secure because they use the same SSH security protocol.

  • Speed

SFTP protocols require the program to acknowledge (ACK) every packet that is sent through the protocol, which is not the case with SCP. SCP has a provision that allows for traceability of access and packets, which negates the need for this. The effect of SCK on SFTP compared to SCP can be made more evident in the use of a high latency network, where SFTP will be significantly slower. Therefore, SCP is faster than SFTP.

SCP Vs SFTP- A comparison review


Secure Copy Protocol

SCP is a non-interactive internet based file transfer protocol that utilizes a Secured Shell tunnel to allow for the secure transfer of files between two computers. It uses a command line to retrieve a file from the server or send one to the server, allowing the SSH program to deal with the complex processes of compression and integrity of the data. It has the ability to copy files, local and remote, between devices while allowing the use of wildcards to receive and send files. It is typically used within a singular closed network, which makes it well suited for homes an organisations.


  • 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


secure file transfer protocol

SFTP is a file transfer protocol that is built on the Secure Shell security protocol. It is interactive and has the ability to carry out all its file transfer and management operations securely over its encrypted SSH transport. Its features include public key authentication as well as compression. It also allows for the specialized log in to a particular host, entering the interactive command mode. It uses one port for its file and data transfers, TCP port 115, which is more secure than the use of multiple ports. It should be noted that there is no direct link or relationship between SFTP and FTP. SFTP is an independent file transfer protocol built on SSH, that is not connected or related to FTP.


  • The connection is secure
  • It allows for redirection of the TCP/IP ports in either directions using an encrypted channel
  • The software can be installed and used without root privileges
  • It does not allow for unauthorized file and data transfer


  • It is not possible to log its binary communication
  • The SSH keys are difficult to validate and manage
  • Different vendors might offer different features in their packages


SFTP and SCP were designed with different users in mind, which is the reason that despite their primary goal being similar, they appeal to very different audiences. SFTP is best suited for a user who requires the additional file management ability it has, while SCP is best suited for a user who prioritizes file transfer speed as well as fast programming. Despite their differences, it would be correct to say that both SCP and SFTP are impressive and reliable ways to carry out your file transfers.

Verdict- So which is better, SCP or SFTP?

The decision between the two is very difficult to make, especially because they are designed to appeal to different users. However, SFTP seems to be the better pick for its additional file management capabilities as well as its flexibility in regard to remote accessing and a wide range of users.


What is the difference between SCP and SSH?

Their major similarity is that they are both used to exchange data between devices on a secure network. However, SCP is primarily a file transfer protocol while SSH is a security protocol.

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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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