encrypted file transfer protocols compared

I like putting up some explanatory “this versus that” documents on stuff I know a little about. I’ve done things like curl vs wget, ftp vs http and http vs bittorrent in the past.

This time, I decided it was about time to do a technical comparison of the four major encrypted file transfer protocols SCP, SFTP, FTPS and HTTPS and explain how they differ in as many aspects and viewpoints as possible. I quite often get questions about how some of these compare against some of the others and why you’d use one instead of another etc. I hope this document will help people to find such answers themselves.

Of course I do mistakes and sometimes express myself in muddy ways, so your feedback and help is important. You can help me make this comparison become better!


It’s still rough and all, but what question and comparisons between them do you miss? What mistakes have I done? What parts aren’t spelled out clear enough?