The Difference between FTP and SFTP

FTP and SFTP are both protocols for data exchange and since the acronyms sound very similar, it is easy to get confused between the two. However FTP SFTP difference is quite significant, and below you’ll find FTP SFTP comparison that hopefully will be of help to you when exchanging data.

FTP/SFTP client for Mac

Data exchange

FTP or File Transfer Protocol, as its name suggests, is a protocol for exchanging data over a TCP/IP network. FTP exchanges data using two separate channels – the command channel and data channel. The former accepts client connections and handles simple commands between an FTP client and server. It remains open until the client sends a command to disconnect, or the server forcibly disconnects the client. The data channel exchanges data in the form of directory listings and file transfers and closes once the transfer of data is complete.

SFTP stands for SSH File Transfer Protocol, where SSH is an encrypted and secure communication protocol that provides an extension to transfer files and allows accessing, transferring and managing files over a secure data stream. Unlike FTP, SFTP protocol does not utilize separate command and data channels, but a single connection through which both data and commands are transferred.


FTP is one of the first data exchange protocols, created when the security was not the major issue yet. So even though the protocol uses password authentication created by the user, anonymous user access is also available through an FTP server. The data sent is unencrypted, so there is a possibility of data being intercepted and read.

SFTP protocol is encrypted, using an agreed upon encryption cipher. SFTP sessions can be protected with public and private keys.

Well, hopefully this FTP SFTP explanation is enough for you to get you going, and just to conclude – it is important to have a right Mac OS FTP client or Mac SFTP client that would enable you exchange data in an easy and efficient way.

Commander One by Eltima Software is an excellent file management solution

The app has a built-in FTP/ SFTP client Mac owners could make use of. It offers all features that might be required for quick and secure data exchange. Moreover, the app’s PRO Pack allows mounting cloud storages on your Mac so you can access and manage files stored there as if they were on a local hard drive.

Commander One

Requirements: OS X 10.9+, size: 19.23MB
Version 1.6.2157 () Release notes