SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is the transfer protocol to view and transfer files over SSH. SFTP works the same as FTP but is encrypted.

SFTP Advantages

  • Encrypted

  • Nothing extra to install (such as FTP server)

  • Works like any other FTP server

  • Compatible with the popular clients such as Filezilla and WinSCP

  • You can login to any SSH accessable Linux user.

How to use SFTP

  • Connect like any FTP except it uses the port (default 22)

  • Use your linux username / password

  • You might need to set protocol to SFTP in your FTP client.

Bad practice to avoid

By all means, you should never

  1. Connect to a server as root.

  2. Use FTP if SFTP is available.

Root login to an FTP

Here is why you shouldn't

  • By logging in as root, you might accidentally remove essential system files or put useless files into the wrong place and mess up with your system.

  • But even more annoying, any file you'll write will belong to root, and the user won't be able to either read, change, or execute writtent files as root.

  • FTP is an unencrypted protocol, therefore it is very unsecure to edit sensitive files using it.

How to operate without root FTP login ?

  • If you need to edit system config files, then do like everyone else : use an SSH text editor like "nano" or "vi".

  • Set your FTP so that you can login as users with a valid shell from the machine. Eventually, disable root FTP login.

  • Oh, one more thing... Did we talk about SFTP ?

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