Protocol URL Addresses

WinSCP can be registered to handle file transfer protocol URL addresses. See supported URL format.

Registering to Handle URL Addresses

To register WinSCP to handle the URL addresses use installer or go to Preferences dialog.


If current user’s permissions allow, WinSCP register itself for all users. Otherwise it registers for current user only.

Windows Vista and Newer

On Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, WinSCP registers to list of applications that handle sftp://, ftp://, ftps://, ftpes://, scp:// and ssh:// protocol URL addresses. If WinSCP is the first application to support some of these protocols (most often sftp://, scp:// and ssh://, usually also ftps:// and ftpes://), it becomes a default application for these.

If you want to change the registration (for instance to make WinSCP default application even for ftp:// URL addresses):

  • On Integration page of Preferences dialog go to Register to handle URL addresses > Make WinSCP default handler1);
  • Windows 10: The Set Default Programs Control Panel applet opens. Locate WinSCP in the Programs list. After selecting the WinSCP, click the Choose defaults for this program command. The Set Program Associations Control Panel applet for WinSCP opens;
  • Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista: The Set Program Associations Control Panel applet for WinSCP opens;
  • Check protocols you want WinSCP to be the default application for;
  • and confirm with Save button.

Note that most mainstream web browsers ignore system registration for ftp:// URL addresses and handle these on web pages on their own. To override this, you may use WinSCP-specific URL addresses.

WinSCP never registers to handle WebDAV http:// URL addresses not to conflict with web browser registration. Though it registers WinSCP-specific WebDAV URL addresses.

Windows XP

On Windows XP, WinSCP registers to handle sftp:// and scp:// protocol URL addresses, overriding previous registration, if any.

To change the registration:

  • Go to Control Panel > Folder Options > File Types;
  • Search a list for File types “URL: SFTP Protocol” or “URL: SCP Protocol”;
  • Click Advanced button;
  • Select “open” action;
  • Click Edit button.

WinSCP-specific URL protocols

In addition to registering to generic URL protocols, WinSCP registers for application-specific URL protocols with winscp- prefix, i.e. winscp-sftp://, winscp-ftp://, etc. This is particularly useful for FTP protocol, for which WinSCP competes with your default web browser. Also for links on web pages, web browsers typically ignore system registration for ftp:// addresses and handle these on their own anyway.

Using WinSCP-specific URL protocols is reasonable also, when using WinSCP-specific extension for URL syntax, particularly the save extension.

For WebDAV, WinSCP registers only to WinSCP-specific URL addresses, winscp-http:// and winscp-https://.

Handling URL Addresses

If a handled URL does not include path part, WinSCP simply opens a session specified by the URL.

If path part is included and it ends with slash (/), WinSCP starts with the path as initial remote directory. If the path part does not end with slash, the file (or directory) specified by it is downloaded.

For ssh:// URL, WinSCP opens the session specified by the URL in PuTTY.

Save Extension

To make WinSCP save session settings provided by URL to a site instead of opening a session, add ;save after a path part of the URL (if there is no path part, terminate the URL with / before adding the ;save extension).

For SFTP/SCP URL this should be combined with including SSH host key fingerprint in the URL. As this is WinSCP-specific extension, and also to avoid conflicts with other applications, like web browsers, consider using WinSCP-specific URL protocols.

Example: winscp-sftp://martin:mypassword;;save

Generating URL

You can have WinSCP generate URL using:

  • Manage > Generate URL command on Login dialog to generate session URL for selected site.
  • Session > Generate URL command on main window to generate session URL for current session.
  • File(s) > File Names > Generate URL command on main window to generate file URL for files selected in remote file panel.

Injecting URL to a Page

You can use a user script to inject SFTP or FTP URL to a page (such an Amazon EC2 management console).

1) Alternatively go to Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Set your default programs; Locate WinSCP in the list; Click Choose defaults for this program command link.
  integration_url.txt · Last modified: by martin

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