Copying files over the internet comes with some inherent risks, thanks to the open nature of the internet. In order to securely transfer files, you need to use encryption.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the non-secure precursor to the SFTP protocol.
The sessions that FTP uses are unencrypted and things like credentials are sent in plain text. It allowed for remote copies for uses such as web and file servers, but the lack of security led to alternatives, with SFTP being the most well-known.
Here are the 11 best SFTP servers:
- Files.com (FREE TRIAL) A secure cloud service that acts as an intermediary for file transfers. The user uploads files over a secure connection and then sends a link to intended recipients for viewing or downloading.
- SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server (FREE TOOL) A file transfer manager that offers secure SFTP services and integrates with Active Directory for user authentication. Runs on Windows Server.
- OpenSSH A free, open-source secure connection system that includes a file transfer utility. Available for Windows and Linux.
- Tectia SSH A communications facility that includes an SFTP implementation and has strong user authentication procedures. Available for Windows, Linux, and Unix.
- Bitvise SSH Server This easy-to-use secure communications system for Windows integrates SFTP for file transfers and accesses AD for account security.
- Cerberus SFTP This comprehensive SFTP system interfaces with Active Directory and LDAP for seamless user account verification. Available for Windows and Windows Server.
- Syncplify An SFTP and FTPS server that runs on Windows and can interact with a sister client utility that runs on Windows and Linux.
- SRT Titan FTP Server The SRT system is available to use from Azure or AWS server and is also offered as a downloadable SFPT server for Windows.
- Core FTP Server A HIPAA-compliant file transfer utility that offers SFTP and HTTPS protection. Installs on Windows.
- Rebex Tiny SFTP Server A lightweight single-user SFTP utility for Windows that is free to use.
- GlobalScape EFT Server From the makes of CuteFTP, this server is available as a SaaS system or for on-premises installation.
We will look at some of the best applications to help you get your SFTP operations conducted in a safe and effective way.
Many people will say that standard FTP transfers are ok, and in some instances they are correct. However, there are times when confidential data such as financial information or personal records need to be transferred across insecure networks such as the internet.
In these instances, you cannot rely on unencrypted copying methods to move data. STFP is the answer in these cases for many reasons.
SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) fixes many of these issues and adds a layer of security. Secure Shell (SSH) is the backbone of this application that allows for secure sessions to be established between hosts using a SFTP or even a SSH Client, as many of them have SFTP support.
There are many other advantages to using the SFTP copying method, which is why there are so many different programs out there that use it.
We have taken a look at 15 of these applications and their features so that we can show you the best ones for your potential requirements. Let us take a look!
Here’s the Best SFTP Servers for Secure File Transfers of 2021:
Files.com has developed a good tool that gives you the chance to customize and have a Company file transfer page for sending and receiving files over the internet.
They give you a single site/location for Secure file transfers and offer a secure and highly customizable file transfer solution at an affordable rate.
Notable Features of this Software include some of the following:
- Replicate, Import or Export files/folders with external Cloud Providers including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, BOX, Dropbox, Wasabi, Rackspace, Backblaze and many others.
- Encrypted, on-the-fly File Upload/Download Links for Customers
- Send/Receive files via Email using their Encryption and Secure transfer technology
- Full Integration with Microsoft Office giving you Previews of Files & Real-time Collaboration with other team members
- Flexible Automation tasks and options for when Files Change/Rename/Deleted/Upload/Download – Automation integration into Zapier, Amazon SNS, webhooks & Microsoft Power Automate is available as well.
- Robust and thorough Audit Logs of File and User Modifications
- Data Retention Rules for Users, Groups or Folders that are Fully Customizable
- Advanced, Deep Permissions for Users, Folders or Groups – Allow/Disallow Read, Write, Delete & Admin Permissions.
- API and SDK
- Sync Your Files/Folders To or From (or Both) other Cloud or Backup Platforms to Data Redundancy
Enhanced Security capabitliies and features of Files.com include 2FA using any of the most common authenicators including but not limited to:
- Google Authenticator,
- and SMS
Extra Security features include Passwords Policies, Sessions Policies, Brute Force Rules and Policies and 2FA requirements.
On top of the already long list of features we’ve mentioned above, Enterprise Identity (SSO) integrations can be used to provision, authenticate and authorize users via LDP, Active Directory, Azure, ADFS, OneLogin, Auth0 and Okta along with other identity providers.
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SolarWinds is well known in IT circles as being a premiere provider for services such as monitoring and network administrations.
Like those services, SolarWinds SFTP offers many additional features for remote file transfers. SolarWinds SFTP is more than just and SFTP server, it also gives you SCP features as well.
This means that you can securely copy and transfer files to remote computers and servers.
SCP gives you additional capabilities by allowing you to upload configuration files to devices such as routers and network switches, if they support SCP transfers.
Some key features of this Tool are:
- It allows for concurrent transfers from multiple devices at the same time
- It allows you to authorize specific addresses or a range of IPs, giving you greater control over the -security of your file transfers.
- It runs as a Windows® service, making it easier to manage and monitor your file transfers
- It is a powerful tool that is free and easy to use
SolarWinds make a wide variety of tools, applications and programs, so it is no surprise that they have catered for users in this space as well.
They are best known for their Network monitoring and alerting platforms which make infrastructure maintenance tasks that much easier.
Their SFTP/SCP Server software is free to use, making it a compelling option for anyone that is looking to perform remote copying actions in a secure and safe way without breaking the bank.
If you would like to try it out for yourself then you can download it from below.
Free to download and use
Many people use OpenSSH as the backbone of their enterprise products with security and encryption as the main attraction.
Sadly, not many people support the OpenSSH platform with donations, despite the fact that they use the same inner workings of the project in their own enterprise products.
To this end, OpenSSH is another tool that is free to download and use, except that this tool is open source as well, meaning that should you wish to review the source code, or make any changes to the application, then you are allowed great option for open-source free server needs, especially as it also covers a range of other SSH-based server needs, too!
OpenSSH is great for performing remote login features too, so it is definitely more than just a one trick pony.
It encrypts all traffic between nodes which means that anyone trying to intercept or eavesdrop on your communications will not be able to.
If you would like to try it out for yourself then you can download it from below – It is available in Windows and Linux, and there is also a graphical version.
This program is free and open source
4. Tectia SSH
Tectia’s SSH server includes SFTP functionality as well as many other remote protocols for managing files for secure copy and transfers.
SSH Tectia SSH has many other features too, and not just for SFTP. It claims faster speeds than traditional SFTP implementations, and works on Windows, Unix and Linux, as well as z/OS. It has x.509 support and is certified for host and user authentication.
What makes this application especially interesting is the fact that it was created by the same company that developed the first version of Secure Shell Protocol.
This means that security is guaranteed as the way that the SSH protocol has been implemented. If you are interested in test driving the app for yourself then you can try it out below!
For full pricing information be sure to check out the Contact Us page here.
BitVise is one of the few applications in our list that was actually designed for Microsoft Windows.
As such, it means that the main emphasis is on a graphical interface instead of a text-based command line.
This means that you do not need to get too involved with remembering commands, and can instead concentrate on other things like performing the actual SFTP functions that are needed to get the job done.
If you are tired of trying to get the STFP transfers from your day to day work completed in a command-line then this is a legitimate option for you to try out.
For full pricing be sure to check out the pricing section of the Bitvise website here.
Cerberus’ FTP Application also handles many different protocols and not just SFTP. It has secure features for FTP/S, SFTP, and HTTPS.
You can also use it where Active Directory and LDAP are required, and it of course uses SSL encryption. It has 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) and uses a unique feature called IP Auto-Banning. It is HIPAA Compliant and has FIPS 140-2 Validation.
You can call up advanced reporting features too if you need to keep track of activity.
You can use a web file transfer client that comes with email notification and event support and automation, as well as file retention policies.
Full pricing can be found right here.
Syncplify rates itself as a best-in class SFTP and FTP(E/S) server for copying and transferring data in a secure environment.
It is a secure platform and it has PCI-DSS and HIPAA compliant from the time you install it. It has an unlimited user count which is a big plus, and it has a powerful scripting backend that can be used for customizing features for your own requirements.
Scripting is important in some instances because you need to be able to customize certain options such as backups and transfers, especially if they are scheduled or triggered through other scripted actions.
If you need to get some things copied over at specific instances, then you should definitely check out this product as it is quite straight forward to get set up.
You can try it out below if you would like to see how it works and if it suits your requirements.
For full pricing information check here.
SRT’s Titan FTP Server is an enterprise product that looks to scale up to large installations. It is a multi-platform application that works in Windows, Linux and Mac. It works in many different internet browsers and has full functionality across Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and most smart phone browsers.
The end result is that you can transfer files securely while using the HTTPS protocol. Thanks to the intuitive design you can useful you would like to download a trial version then you can find the installer here.
The Professional Edition starts at $599,95 and goes all the way up to $1949,95 for the Enterprise + WebUI version. For full pricing information you can find it all here.
Core FTP Server is full of options in the paid for version such as SFTP, SSL, TLS, FTPS, International domain support, Client transfers, HIPAA Compliancy, Mode Z compression, Full drag and drop support, the ability to start, stop and pause transfers, as well as auto transfer start stop and resume.
There are so many additional options and capabilities in the paid version when compared to the trial version that you would need to check out the full feature list here to get a proper inclination of the full functionality.
If you would like to download a trial version of the application then check out this link over here.
For full pricing information be sure to check out the purchase link here.
Rebex Tiny SFTP server is a minimalist and single user SFTP server that should ideally be used only for testing purposes.
It is free to use in both commercial and non-commercial use and it is very simple to get the hang of. No installation is required, all you need to do is unzip it and execute the main application file and you are running the app.
There is a commercial version called Buru SFTP server that has some commercially viable solutions such as unlimited users, runs as a service, configurable via a web interface, customized SSH commands, and many more features.
If you would like to try out the free version then check out the download link here.
Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is free
Globalscape are well known for their system light FTP application, CuteFTP. What many people don’t know is that it also comes with a feature called Enhanced File Transfer.
This is the feature that enables the SFTP transfers and gives users a secure copying platform to get work done such as remote and secure copying.
The application works well as a corporate tool that works in both security and auditing aspects, giving you the tools to get work done and record the history of the work at the same time which is essential for compliance and record keeping.
Pricing can be found here.
There are so many different options out there to get your SFTP transfers done. This makes it particularly difficult to get the right application for your specific needs.
Fortunately for us there are many free trials or free applications that can be tried out with little to no obligation.
We can get a good idea of how an application works by simply using a free or trial version, so this list gives us a great idea of what will work in specific areas when needed.
The great thing about many of these applications is the fact that they require very little in the way of configuration and setup, meaning that all you need to do is settle on an application and then a few clicks later you can try it out.
There is not a lot of technical data that you need to understand to get the ball rolling, so going through most of the applications in our list should get you to where you need to go.
FTP is not very complicated, and SFTP is pretty much the same but with more security.
SFTP gives all the extra layers of security that modern businesses need, without being overly technical or difficult to get installed or operational.
Gone are the days of FTP being secure enough to transfer over the internet, so using SFTP is the only option for anyone that needs to get the activities done that need to be accomplished in day-to-day business operations.