The Difference Between FTP and SFTP Servers
A server is a certain application that manages the requests for resources over a network. Typically, a server is dedicated to one specific task, making for many different types of servers, however there are some capable of handling several different requests. For instance, a web server is one that takes requests for web pages by a client and delivers the specific web page back to them. A file server is one that stores files and other information that users on the network have access to. The users on the network, in this case, would be able to both store and retrieve information from the file server. Two different types of servers that serve a similar purpose are FTP and SFTP servers. While both are responsible of the transfer of files over a network, they do so in different ways.
- FTP Server – FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is a type of software application that performs file transfer services between computers over the Internet. An FTP server is a computer that specifically handles file transfer requests. The most common use of FTP is to download files, whether they be PDFs, MP3s or another type of data file found online. Many businesses rely on FTP to allow employees to both upload and download information from the company’s network. This gives them remote access to the network, allowing them to work from home or while traveling for business. While FTP is the most traditional form of file transfer services, it does not provide any security for files at rest or in motion.
- SFTP Server – SFTP, which stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol, is very similar to FTP in that it is used to transfer files over a network. Unlike FTP, however, SFTP is a secure file transfer service that sends requested files over a secure data stream. SFTP encrypts all passwords, usernames and data files that are transferred, which means no plaintext is passed over the network. The use of encryption wards off any prying eyes that may be trying to intercept private information on the network. All in all, SFTP is a safer method for sharing files on the Internet than FTP.
These are just two different types of servers among a large number of various kinds, all with a specific purpose. In this case, both have a smilier goal of transferring files, but SFTP does so in a much more secure fashion than FTP.