The Secure File Sharing Matchup: Differences Between SFTP and SCP
When sizing up SFTP vs. SCP you’ll find that the two file sharing protocols are quite similar. And, for some file transfer situations, they could be nearly interchangeable. Your need for speed, functionality and security will determine which protocol is best for you.
First, the Similarities
Both file sharing protocols:
- Are secure alternatives to FTP
- Utilize TCP as the transport layer
- Use SSH (Secure Shell) as the encryption protocol
- Have no file size restrictions
- Use secure authentication (SSH public key and/or password)
- Both use port 22 by defalt
Now the Differences
In This Corner: SFTP
SFTP is a more robust protocol and provides file management capabilities such as listing directories, renaming files, deleting files, and more.If there are connectivity issues, SFTP supports resuming transfer. In addition, SFTP has packet-level integrity checks, which provide more reliability, but can slow down file transfers.
In This Corner: SCP
SCP is a more simplified, efficient transport algorithm, making it faster than SFTP, especially on high-latency networks. SCP does not, however, provide the ability to list directories, rename files, or other file management capabilities. It also does not resume transfers if there are connectivity issues.
Know the Terms: GoAnywhere Glossary
A Quick Pick Winner for Security, Speed, Size, and Management
How do SCP and SFTP compare for file transfer security?
This assessment results in a tie, as they both use SSH for data encryption and authentication.
How Do SCP and SFTP compare for speed of file transfers?
In networks with high-latency, SCP tends to be faster, as it does not need to wait for packet acknowledgement.
Which protocol SCP or SFTP handles large files better?
There are no size restrictions with either protocol. But if speed is a concern, SCP is your winner.
Which protocol, SCP or SFTP gives more file management options?
SFTP is typically viewed as a more comprehensive file transfer protocol. It offers auto-retry, should connectivity be shaky, the ability to remotely organize files, view directories, delete files, and more.
The Secure File Transfer Winner Is….
There really is no clear winner here, as the best solution truly depends on your specific requirements. SFTP beats SCP if you’re looking for a file transfer protocol that includes file management capabilities. SCP beats SFTP if you are looking for an efficient, fast programmatic transfer option.
Related Reading: How SFTP Works
Find out how GoAnywhere MFT can be the managed file transfer solution, with both SFTP and SCP capabilities, that your organization needs.