What is the difference between SSH and SFTP?

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Let us begin by understanding what SSH is.


SSH represents Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell. It is a cryptographic system protocol that enables two computers to connect and send the data over an insecure network including the internet. It can log in to a remote server to implement commands and data transfer from one device to another device.

The SSH protocol was established by SSH communication security Ltd to safely connect with the remote device. Secure communication supports powerful password authentication and encrypted connection with a public key over an insecure medium. It can restore unprotected remote login protocols including Telnet, rlogin, rsh, etc., and insecure file transfer protocol FTP.

Advantages of SSH Protocol

There are various advantages of SSH Protocol as mentioned below −

  • It supports secure access to users and automated procedures.

  • It can log in to shell on a remote system (Host), which restores Telnet and rlogin, and can execute an individual command on the host, which restores rsh.

  • It is used to securely browse the web through the encrypted proxy connection with the SSH user, providing the SOCKS protocol.

  • It facilitates the users to deal with the network infrastructure and different critical system elements.


SFTP represents Secure File Transfer Protocol. It supports secure file transfers over SSH to support access to all the shell accounts on a remote SFTP server. SSH is a protocol for secure remote access to a device over non-trusted networks. SSH is a restoration for telnet, rsh, rlogin. SFTP checks the identity of the user and once a secured connection is created data is changed.

The feature of the protocol is that commands can be pipelined, and responses can come in any series. This can define that sessions allocate less time waiting on responses, and there is space to optimize concurrent transfers from one server with data sources of multiple speeds.

Advantages of SFTP

There are various advantages of SFTP which are as follows −

  • It can provide for TMUX, Screen sessions.

  • It can enable us to execute commands over the SSH channel.

  • It can support interactive keyboard authentication.

  • It can provide custom channels.

  • It can automatically convert text output from the remote system's charset to Unicode-based strings.

Disadvantages of SFTP

The disadvantages of SFTP are as follows −

  • The connection is binary and can't be logged.

  • SSH keys are not simply to handle and validate.

  • The standards represent definite things as optional or recommended. It can lead to compatibility issues among different software developed by several vendors.

Updated on 17-Nov-2021 10:25:33