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SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)

The SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer, and file management functionalities over secure connection.1 It was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an extension of the Secure Shell protocol (SSH) version 2.0 to provide secure file transfer capability.2

In its basic functionality the SFTP is similar to an old FTP, while having better designed advanced functionality. Unfortunately not all SFTP server implementations take advantage of the advanced features, yet.


Especially in its later versions (from 4 upwards), the SFTP protocol is more platform independent, compared to both FTP and SCP.

Unlike SCP, for connection with an SFTP server you do not need access to shell (although some implementations may still require that).

See also SFTP status/error codes.

  1. Technically SFTP can operate over any reliable data stream, not necessarily a secure one. Though in a significant majority of uses, it operated over a secure SSH protocol. WinSCP in particular does not allow any other use.Back
  2. The text is partially copied from Wikipedia article on SSH File Transfer Protocol. The text is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.Back

Last modified: by martin