Introduction to SFTP
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a secure version of File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and a part of the SSH Protocol for easy data transfer and data access over a Secure Shell (SSH) data stream. SFTP is also known as SSH File Transfer Protocol. It provides a secure connection to transfer files and traverse the filesystem on both the local and remote systems. Encryption in SFTP is done using SSH connection, where files can be transferred using WinSCP and SFTP client.
How SFTP works?
SFTP works by using a secure shell data stream. It establishes a secure connection and then provides a higher level of protection for data while transferring it. It uses different encryptions that help move the data and ensure 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. It 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 a 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 does SFTP make working so easy?
Secure File Transfer Protocol has a wide range of operations that can be performed with remote files. It, therefore, can be called 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 the UNIX platform, Secure File Transfer Protocol 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 needed, then the authentication is completed.
How to Transfer File by Using SFTP?
In SFTP, the encryption is done by using an 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 that shows two windows. One window will have 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.
Advantages of SFTP
Below are the different advantages:
- 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 directly exchange documents, forms, and business-critical files 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. Many malicious attackers are 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. Secure File Transfer Protocol safeguards all vulnerabilities throughout file transfer. It uses an SSH2 message authentication code that hashes the data and, as a result, encrypts the data stream.
SFTP is hence one of the best protocols which provide data security which transmit 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 another server, SFTP is the solution.
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 –