SSH vs FTP – How do they differ?


The terms FTP and SSH are often used together in regard to security in file and data transfer protocols. How do the two terms differ?

In order to understand the difference between FTP and SSH, it is necessary to first identify the independent meanings and uses of the two network protocols.

FTP – This is the abbreviation of File Transfer Protocol, which is an internet protocol that allows the transfer of data and files between users, over the internet. It is common because of its ability to transfer large files efficiently and at an impressive speed over the open internet.

SSH – This is a security network protocol referred to as Secure Shell. It is used to facilitate the secure communication between two devices. It is common and preferred because it works as long as there is a reliable electric path between the two computers for the data to travel, regardless of the physical distance between them.

Why would they be compared?

The common bases of comparison between the two is:

  • SFTP – This is a file transfer protocol that is based on SSH. Despite the derivative nature of its name, it has no relation to FTP.
  • FTP over SSH – This is a security measure that is rather rare among FTP users. It involves running FTP over SSH in order to encrypt and secure the data.


There can be no comparison between FTP and SSH because they have completely different primary uses; one is a security protocol, while the other is a file transfer protocol.


Does FTP use SSH?

Primarily, no. FTP uses a plain text password system to protect its data, which is not considered as a sufficient measure of security. For this reason, some users have taken to running FTP over SSH in order to create an added security layer for their data and files. It is also notable that there is a file transfer protocol, SFTP, which is based on the SSH protocol.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here