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What's the difference between FTP, FTPS and SFTP

When using our services, you regularly encounter terms like FTP, FTPS and SFTP, but you may wonder what this means and what the differences are between them. In this article we explain these terms.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)


FTP is used in the exchange of files between computers. A computer serves as an FTP server (in our case this is your VPS / web hosting server) and the other as a client (your computer). You connect from the client to the server to transfer files to the server. We recommend FileZilla for the use of FTP.


FTP traffic normally runs via port 21 and does not use encryption. Instead of FTP, SFTP or FTPS is usually used since encryption is applied to these.

SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)


SFTP uses SSH to set up a secured TLS or SSL FTP connection between computers. The use of SFTP is very similar to the use of FTP. The only difference a user usually normally notices is that you are using a different port, the host address starts with sftp:// and uses port 22 or 2222.

A limitation of SFTP is that you can only create one type of user: every user is an administrator and has full access and rights.

FTPS (File Transfer Protocol SSL)


FTPS uses SSL or TLS for securing the FTP connection. The use of FTPS is identical to FTP, except that the FTPS connection is secured.

Unlike SFTP, you must indicate in your FTPS client that you are using a secure connection when connecting.


Should you have any questions left regarding this article, do not hesitate to contact our support department. You can reach us via the ‘Contact Us’ button at the bottom of this page.

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