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Simple File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

Definition - What does Simple File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) mean?

Simple file transfer protocol (SFTP) is an unsecured, lightweight version of File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which runs on Transmission Control Protocol port number 115. It has some useful features not present in Trivial FTP (TFTP), but is not as powerful as FTP.

Techopedia explains Simple File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

If the protocol is 8-bit byte stream oriented, the SFTP can be implemented with any protocol. It is defined in the RFC 913 and exhibits an intermediate complexity level between TFTP and FTP. SFTP has a set of 11 commands. It is sometimes confused with Secure Shell FTP, which is a secured version protocol.

SFTP can be implemented by opening a TCP connection to the remote host’s port 115. The SFTP supports features such as user access control, file transfers, directory listing, directory changing, file renaming and deleting. The SFTP does not receive as much attention as TFTP and is not as accepted widely on the Internet. The protocol status is now marked history by IETF.

SFTP supports three types of data transmission:

  1. American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII): ASCII bytes are generally taken from the source system file and transferred over the connection and stored in a destination system file.

  2. Binary: The 8-bit bytes are taken from the file in the source system, transferred over the connection and stored in a destination system file.

  3. Continuous: The bits are taken from the source system file, transferred through the connection packed into 8-bit bytes ignoring word boundaries. The bits are received by the destination system in a continuous fashion, with no word boundaries.

SFTP supports user authentication where a user has to enter username and password to login into the server. It also features hierarchical folders and file management.

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