SFTP vs File TP – Which file transfer protocol should you use?


File transfer is a key aspect of virtual communication. Which file transfer protocol, between FTP and SFTP would best suit your requirements?

Choosing the right means of file and data transfer is essential to the seamless continuity of information flow both within an organisation and between different organisations. It is important when choosing a file transfer protocol, to consider speed, security as well as ease of use, making sure to settle on the one that is best for you. In line with this, FTP and SFTP are two highly common means of file data transfer, each with their advantages and drawbacks. It should be noted that the two are entirely different despite the derivative nature of the term SFTP. This comparative review seeks to evaluate the two file transfer protocols and help a potential user pick the one out of these that is best suited to meet their organisational or personal file transfer requirements.

What are the differences between FTP and SFTP?

SFTP (Winner)
Full form
File Transfer Protocol
Secure File Transfer Protocol
Client – Server
SSH Protocol
Number of channels
Method of transfer
Inbound and outbound port
Port 21 and port 20
Port 22

FTP Vs SFTP- How do they compare?

  • Speed

FTP has maintained its position as one of the most preferred forms of file transfer because of its speed. Its ability to use both port 20 and 21, creating a different connection for data transfer and one for commands and responses allows the protocol to not only be fast, but suitable for large file transfers. SFTP is designed to run over SSH2 which makes it more likely to experience constraints related to server and client machine resource allocation as well as network latency, which slows the file transfer protocol down. Therefore, FTP is significantly faster than SFTP.

  • Security

FTP transfers data and passwords with a security encryption using a password that is in plain text. This security measure is not very effective, FTP is accessible to anyone on the internet and it is easily hacked, making FTP susceptible to forms of hacking like spoofing, which renders the entire protocol as insecure. On the other hand SFTP is run over SSH2, which makes sure to encrypt the data before sending it to another user. SFTP can only be accessed by the server owner since port 22 is not open in the case of shared hosting, which gives SFTP an additional layer of security. In conclusion, SFTP is more secure than FTP.

FTP Vs SFTP- A comparison review


File Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as ‘FTP,’ is an internet service that was designed and built to establish an internet connection between the computer or server and a host or receiver. This allows the users within this established network to transfer data files either to the FTP server or to their individual computers at an impressive speed. It makes the use of two TCP ports, port 21 and 21 to establish two connections, one for data transfer and another for commands and responses which work together to allow for the seamless transfer of large files between connected devices. Its biggest drawback is its lack of comprehensive security, aside from the plain-text password system it has. This can be remedied by running the protocol through security programmes like SSH.


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


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


SFTP is a file transfer protocol that is based on the Secure Shell network protocol, making it secure. It makes use of only one connection, with port number 22 and encrypts both the data being transferred and the authentication information. This authentication information is encrypted which makes it difficult to hack. SFTP also allows for the use of SSH keys, which are an additional security layer for the data being transferred because the public and private keys must match for the data to be accessible to either user. It should be noted that SFTP not related to FTP.


  • The file transfer connection is secure
  • Its protocols run on a channel that is secure, to avoid transfer of file data and text passwords
  • Its uninformed TCP ports go in either direction allowing them to be redirected through secured channels in either
  • The user can install and use the software even without root privileges, allowing for restricted functionality


  • Its communication cannot be logged because it is binary in nature
  • Its SSH keys are difficult to validate and manage
  • It may have compatibility problems with different vendors since its general standards define certain factors simply as recommended or optional


FTP and SFTP are two of the best options as it pertains to means of file transfer. The two major differences between the two would be speed and security. SFTP is slower than FTP but significantly safer. These two factors should be weighed against each other by a potential user in order to settle on the better one for their needs and requirements.

Verdict- So which is better, FTP or SFTP?

Although they seem to be equally efficient, with SFTP being significantly slower than FTP, its higher security makes SFTP better than FTP for file transfer.


Can SFTP connect to FTP?

Yes it can. To make this secure connection, you would be required to use an application that supports the SFTP system you intend to connect to.

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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. Techprojournal.com 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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