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Is SFTP better than FTPS?

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First of all, it’s important to say that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to secure file transfer protocols: surprisingly most people think that SFTP and FTPS are “the same thing”. Many other people think that SFTP is “Secure FTP”, which is not, and FTPS is just “you meant SFTP, right?”. So, once and for all, let’s try to shed some clarity on what these protocols really are:

  • SFTP: the acronym stands for SSH File Stransfer Protocol, and – as the name says itself – it is a subsystem of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol
  • FTPS: it is a “secured” version of the FTP protocol, encapsulated inside a SSL or TLS channel (just like HTTPS, SMTPS, IMAPS, POP3S, …)

So, which one is better? As always, it depends on many other factors. Each protocol was designed to perform at its best in certain particular scenarios, so depending on what exactly you have to accomplish, each one of them may be better or worse in the particular case. Let’s see some of the distinctive features of both protocols, so we can have enough information to make an educated choice in due time. Continue reading