SFTP and VPN are two terms commonly used in networking with regard to encryption and security. How do the two differ and how are they related?
Definition of terms
- VPN – This is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Network. It is a form of software that is designed to protect the user’s online privacy by ensuring that their online location as well as their traffic is anonymous.
- SFTP – This is a file transfer protocol that is run over a Secure Shell security protocol to facilitate the secure transfer of files between two devices.
- FTP – This is a basic file transfer protocol that uses port 21 and 20 to establish two connections for data and commands, allowing it to transfer files over the internet in a fast and efficient way.
Why would they be compared?
The common point of comparison between the two would be to make the comparison between running FTP over a VPN versus using SFTP.
Is it better to use FTP over a VPN or SFTP?
- Speed: FTP is known to be faster, compared to SFTP. However, one of the effects of using a VPN on your device is slowing down the internet speed as well as lagging in other device functions. This could easily tie the two speeds together, or even make FTP slower than SFTP.
- Security: The two methods are said to be equally secure. However, one of the disadvantages of using a VPN, especially an unreliable one is connection gaps, between which your device is vulnerable to hacking. This makes SFTP the more secure option because it is secure in itself.
There is no direct relationship between the use of a VPN and that of SFTP
What are the disadvantages of using a VPN?
Some of the common disadvantages associated with using a VPN, dependent on the specific application in use may include:
- Breaks in the connection between the server and your device
- A significant lag in the speed of the internet
- The blockade of VPNs by specific applications
- The user is rarely aware of the exact strength of the encryption in use