Introduction to SFTP
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) enables the user to access data over a secure shell (ssh) data stream. It helps in ensuring that the data is transferred with security, privacy and is safe. It is a standard data transmission protocol that is used with the SSH2 protocol. It is usually based on a client-server architecture. It also includes commands which can help in executing different operations by a computer that is being accessed remotely. SFTP needs that the user should have the authorization and must be authenticated by the server. The data transfer is done over a secure channel and allows a wide range of operations to be performed. These operations include halted transfers, directory listings, file removal, etc. In SFTP all data is encrypted before being sent across the network.
How SFTP works?
SFTP works by using a secure shell data stream. It firstly establishes a secure connection and then provides a higher level of protection for data while transferring it. It makes use of different encryptions that help in moving the data and ensures that data is unread which is being processed. The SSH keys must be created in advance and it helps to avoid fraud people from connecting to the server. SFTP works in a client-server architecture. In the case of the server, the data is usually present on the server. Though this server can be at a different location the client can easily access the data by sending the request. When a user clicks on file this request is traversed through the network and ultimately reaches the server. This data is then sent to the server which is requesting the data. The user will eventually get the file and make changes as per their needs. The SFTP ensures that all files are transferred in an encrypted format. The SSH keys help in transferring the public key to any system to provide access.
How SFTP make working so easy?
SFTP has a wide range of operations that can be performed with remote files. It, therefore, can be called as a remote file system protocol. The additional features which SFTP provides include getting uninterrupted file transfers. You can also make directory listings and remove files remotely. When compared to SCP, SFTP is more platform-independent. SCP is available only for UNIX platform, SFTP is available for all platforms. Though SFTP is slower it gets terminated easily without the entire session being terminated. It is easy to use as just by sharing your public SSH key they can easily load the data on their server and associate it with your account. When the connection is established to the SFTP server, the client software can send your public key to the server for verification purposes. If these public key matches and with this the user enters the user of the password that is needed, then the authentication is completed.
How to Transfer File by Using SFTP?
In SFTP the encryption is done by using SSH connection. There are two ways in which files can be transferred using SFTP:
- Using WinSCP
- Using SFTP Client
1. Using WinSCP
You need to follow the below steps in order to transfer files using WinSCP.
- Download and install WinSCP.
- When the screen launches click on New.
- Fill in the information in specified fields as below:
- File Protocol: SFTP
- Hostname: You can enter the hostname from where you need the data to be transferred
- Username and Password: The username and password for your account on that server should be specified.
- Port: The port is usually 22.
- A warning may appear saying that you are about to connect to a remote machine. You can click on Yes for this warning.
- Once this is done, you will be connected to the desired server and you can see a window which shows two windows. One window will be having all data on a server and the other window will be having your Windows machine files. You can easily drag and drop files from the server to the Windows system or vice versa.
2. Using SFTP Client
Here you can make use of Cyberduck. You can download and launch this software and click on Open Connection. Similar to WinSCP all details like File protocol, hostname, username, and password can be filled and data can be transferred from source to destination.
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Advantages of SFTP
Below are the different advantages of SFTP:
- Speedy and Efficient: SFTP servers support large file transfers very easily and efficiently. Multiple files can be transferred from one server to another in one go. Due to this a lot of time is saved. This method is much better than using emails or clouds. It makes it possible to exchange documents, forms and business-critical files directly to the customer and on time.
- Fewer risks during data exchange: SFTP makes use of encryption, public key authentication, data integrity, and host authentication. All data is encrypted before being transferred. This makes it non-decipherable while transit of data and no one except the receiver can decrypt the data. The public key authentication ensures that no imposter is making use of the intended data. Username and passwords need to be provided for authentication purposes. The data is also checked if it is coming from a trusted source. Also the clients and sources are verified before establishing the connection.
- Powers data accessibility: SFTP provides users to server and server to server facilities. This increases productivity.
Why Use SFTP?
There are many threats to data being sent over the internet. There are many malicious attackers sitting to hamper your data. In order to keep your data safe, it is very much necessary to make use of SFTP. It provides a lot of security for data in transit. SFTP safeguards all vulnerabilities throughout file transfer. It uses SSH2 message authentication code which hashes the data and as a result encrypts the data stream.
SFTP is hence one of the best protocols which provide data security which transmitting the data. It can transfer the data by just dragging the files and with lightning speed. It is efficient and hence is used very widely. If you wish to send files to a user or to another server then SFTP is the solution for you.
This is a guide to What is SFTP. Here we discuss the basic concepts, working, how to transfer files by using SFTP and why to use SFTP along with the advantages. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –