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A Beginner's Guide to FTP, and SFTP
A Beginner's Guide to FTP, and SFTP
Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) are two popular protocols used to transfer files between a client computer and a web server securely and efficiently.

What is FTP?

FTP is an older protocol that has been around since the early days of the internet. It works by establishing a connection between a client (such as a computer) and a server (which holds the files being transferred) and then transferring files between the two.

What is SFTP?

SFTP, is a more secure version of FTP that encrypts the files being transferred, providing an added layer of security. It works in much the same way as FTP, but the data is encrypted before being sent over the internet, making it much more difficult for unauthorized parties to intercept and access it.

How are FTP and SFTP used?

FTP and SFTP are both used for web hosting, file sharing, and software updates.

For example, businesses may use both FTP and SFTP to transfer website files to a web server, or to share large files with clients or partners. These protocols are also used to automate software updates, which are automatically downloaded from a server to the client.

What is the difference between FTP and SFTP?


  • FTP is an older protocol that transfers files between a client and server over the internet.

  • FTP does not encrypt data during transfer, making it vulnerable to interception and access by unauthorized parties.

  • FTP supports basic username and password authentication, as well as anonymous FTP.


  • SFTP is a secure version of FTP that encrypts data during transfer. It establishes a single, secure channel between a client and server, eliminating the need for a separate control channel.

  • It also uses a passive connection mode, where the server initiates the connection to the client and the client responds, providing an added layer of security.

  • In addition, SFTP, supports more advanced authentication methods such as public key authentication and host-based authentication, making it more secure.


Overall, the difference between the two is their level of security. Both FTP and SFTP have their strengths and weaknesses. This will change depending on factors such as file size, security requirements, and network environments. While FTP is an older and less secure protocol, it remains widely used for its simplicity and ease of use. The SFTP protocol is more secure, so itโ€™s preferred for transferring sensitive files over the internet.

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