SFTP is an acronym for SSH File Transfer Protocol.
Transferring files through an SFTP server is one of the safest ways to transmit data online. With an SSH FTP server tool, you can transfer files securely over an encrypted SSH connection. Encrypting files with an SFTP server can prevent unauthorized access (which can help with things like HIPAA compliance). Many SFTP servers come bundled with SCP, which also protects files via SSH.
FTPS is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol over SSL, another secure alternative that lets you encrypt FTP transfers with SSL.
Many products combine FTPS and SFTP servers into one software program so you can choose the type of protection you need when transferring files.
Here is our list of the 10 best free SFTP and FTPS server tools:
- SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server EDITOR’S CHOICE Our top pick for SFTP file transfers with support for SFTP/ SCP file transfers up to 4GB. Use this Windows tool to transfer multiple files simultaneously, manage user accounts, and more.
- Files.com (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based file server designed for transfers, file sharing, archiving, and backup.
- SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer Server (FREE TRIAL) Secure FTP server that supports SFTP, FTPS, and FTP, drag-and-drop file transfers, and more for Windows and Linux.
- FileZilla FTP tool for Windows, Linux, and macOS that supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP file transfers.
- IIS FTPS Server Free FTP server included with Internet Information Services (IIS).
- Syncplify.me Server HIPAA compliant SFTP and FTPS server that supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS.
- CrushFTP FTP server for Windows with support for SFTP, FTPS, SCP, and HTTPS.
- Couchdrop SFTP A cloud service that includes SFTP, SCP, Rsync, FTP, and WebDAV file transfer methodologies to connect to cloud storage systems.
- Rebex Tiny SFTP Server Windows-Based SFTP that supports SFTP and requires almost no installation. Good for basic file sharing.
- OpenSSH Collection of command-line tools for Linux that comes with an SFTP server.
See also: SFTP Commands Cheat Sheet
The best free SFTP and FTPS server tools
In this guide, we’re going to look at the top SFTP and FTPS servers on the market.
We’ve reviewed as many as we could find, rating each one on factors including; easy-to-use software clients, multiple transfer capabilities, user authentication, and more.
All the leading operating systems are covered, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. We’ve included a mixture of free, paid, and open-source tools.
SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is a free SFTP server that can complete SFTP and SCP file transfers up to 4GB. With SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server you can conduct multiple transfers across lots of devices simultaneously. You can also select which version of SSH you want to use (whether SSH1 or SSH2). The platform is ideal for users looking to complete tasks like pushing out OS and firmware updates.
To control access to your files, you can create user accounts. Configuring user authentication details lets you determine who can access your files. You can add new users by entering a Username and Password in the Users section. The process is simple, so it’s easy for new users to start managing employee access to the server.
If you want additional security, then you can limit the operations that are permitted on the server. You can select a list of operations that the server will allow including Upload File, Download File, Delete File, Rename File, List Directory Contents, Create Directory, Delete Directory, and more. You can also choose what protocols you will allow.
SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is our editor’s choice for this article because it provides you with everything you need to start managing SFTP and SCP file transfers with a simple user interface. You can download the software for free.
- SFTP and SCP transfers supported
- Supports SSH1 and SSH2
- User authentication
- Concurrent file transfers
- Supports transfers up to 4GB
Related Post: SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server Review
SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is our top choice on this list as it offers a complete SFTP solution that can fully support most enterprises. The multiple file transfers offered by the tool and the 4GB limit is more than enough to get you started.
While the software doesn’t have a fancy GUI or tons of bells and whistles, this is an advantage for new users, because it makes the system easier to navigate. SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is only available for Windows.
Get 30 Day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/free-tools/free-sftp-server/
Files.com is a cloud-based SFTP solution. Being based on a remote server, this service is able to offer many more features than a traditional SFTP server. The Files.com system comprises of cloud storage that acts as a buffer for all file activities.
Businesses can use Files.com as a pass-through when sending files to outsiders, storing a backup on the server in case of loss. It can also be used as a collaboration file storage – enabling several users to access and edit a document. Given that files can be left on the Files.com server, it can also be used as a backup service for important system files.
The storage space that is included in a Files.com plan isn’t the user’s only storage option. The Files.com SFTP system is able to attach to other cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.
The security offered by Files.com enhances transfer protocols because it enforces two-factor authentication for file access and uses the typical SFTP -strength protection for files during transmission.
Files.com is a subscription service with a charged levied per user per month. The service is offered in three plan levels: Starter, Power, and Premier. The Starter plan requires a minimum of 5 users and provides a throughput of 1 TB per month. The Power plan includes a data throughput limit of 5 TB per month and requires a minimum of 15 users. The top plan, Premier, offers a data throughput capacity of 10 TB per month a caters to at least 25 users. Files.com is available for a 30-day free trial.
- FTP and SFTP file transfers
- Data storage capacity
- Two-factor authentication
- Scalable pricing structure
Files.com is our first runner up in our rundown of secure file transfer systems. This is because it offers a very flexible solution to file sharing as well as a very fast file-transfer service. Files.com is a good choice for media companies that often need to transfer very large files because it can securely move files of up to 5TB.
Large file transfers can be prone to failure, so the fewer times you need to actually move a file, the more time that you save. Files.com allows files to be distributed widely and securely with just one transfer per file through the SFTP protocol.
Start 30-day Free Trial: files.com/signup/welcome
SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer Server is one of the most versatile FTP Servers on the market. The software supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP transfers. You can use the tool to connect to multiple FTP clients and servers at once and conduct multiple file transfers simultaneously. The user interface itself is easy to use, but a little more complex than SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server.
Features like search bars assist you to find the content you’re looking for. Managing file transfers is also very intuitive. You can Pause, Resume, Cancel, Remove, or Remove all transfers while they’re in progress. You can also view a list of file transfers that show the name of the file, when the transfer was completed, and the source path.
Conducting file transfers themselves is simple enough as you can drag-and-drop files from your desktop straight into the program. There is also a scheduling feature you can use to determine when transfers will occur ahead of time. Likewise, you can automatically synchronize folders so that you don’t have to consistently manage content on the client manually.
SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer Server is a tool that provides a modern SFTP and FTPS transfer solution. The easy-to-use GUI and automated features make the platform one of our top picks. You can download the program for a 14-day free trial.
- FTP, FTPS, and SFTP file transfers
- Drag-and-drop file transfers
- Concurrent file transfers
- Automatic folder synchronization
- Connect to multiple servers concurrently
SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer Server is our runner up on this list as it offers enterprises an FTPS and SFTP server in one tool. You can automate the management of file transfers which is invaluable to users trying to send files back and forth across an entire team.
With the help of drag-and-drop functionality and folder synchronization, you can’t go wrong managing file transfers with SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer Server. The software is available for Windows & Linux.
Start 14-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/free-tools/ftp-voyager-ftp-client-for-windows
FileZilla is a popular cross-platform FTP tool that supports FTP, FTPS and SFTP. FileZilla supports files up to 4GB, giving it the bandwidth to support the needs of most organizations. On the whole, the platform is easy to configure. To start you need to connect to a server with your login credentials and then you can view a list of files and directories.
The layout is very intuitive to navigate. Under the Quickconnect bar, you can view a message log that gives you status information on file transfers throughout your environment. Under that section, the left column shows local files and directories, and the right column displays files and directories on the server you’re connected to. Being able to compare the two side-by-side makes it easier to know what transfers you need to complete.
Drag-and-drop allows you to add files into FileZilla to transfer. You can view a list of files being transferred in the Queued files section at the bottom of the screen. If you want to cap the number of transfers taking place then you can configure transfer speed limits.
FileZilla is one of the top FTP, FTPS, and SFTP servers in the world because it offers a basic client to manage file transfers with excellent visibility and controls that make sure you have all the data you need where you need it. You can download FileZilla for free.
- Supports SFTP, FTPS, and FTP
- Supports file transfers up to 4GB
- Drag-and-drop support
- Search for files
- Available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS
FileZilla is a top pick amongst enterprises that want a cross-platform secure FTP solution. FileZilla is suitable whether you’re conducting SFTP, FTPS or FTP file transfers.
The tool can be installed and configured very quickly, so you can start managing your files almost immediately. FileZilla supports multiple operating systems including Windows, Linux, Mac OS, meaning that it can adapt to almost any environment.
IIS FTPS Server is an FTPS server that’s included out-of-the-box with Windows server. IIS FTPS Server supports FTP transfers with TLS/SSL encryption. To find the server all you need to do is go to the Windows Server Manager dashboard and open up the Add Roles and Features wizard, go to the Role Services page and check the FTP server option. You can then install the server.
Inside IIS you can go to Sites and click add FTP site to start configuring the server. For FTPS, you can configure connections to require an SSL certificate to protect your file transfer content.
IIS FTPS Server is worth a look if you’re already using IIS. It is worth noting that you will need to obtain (or create) a TLS/SSL certificate to conduct secure transfers. You can view more information about how to activate IIS FTPS Server here.
- FTP transfers with TLS/SSL encryption
- User authentication
- Included with Internet Information Services (IIS)
- Available on Windows
IIS FTPS Server is a good choice for users who have Internet Information Services (IIS). However, it does take more configuration than many of the other tools on this list. If you don’t have IIS then we recommend that you look at one of the other FTPS server alternatives on this list. IIS FTPS Server is available for Windows.
Syncplify.me Server is an SFTP and FTPS server for Windows that supports FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and is compliant with HIPAA regulations. Syncplify.me Server supports up to 5,000 concurrent clients. The platform has been designed for high availability so you can deploy 2 SFTP server nodes. If one node goes down then the other will still be available, which reduces the chance of disruption.
One of the features that makes Syncplify.me Server stand apart from many other competitors is its extensibility. You can create custom scripts to add new functions. Scripts give you complete control over the file management process enabling better integration with your daily operations.
Syncplify.me Protector comes included with Syncplify.Me Server. Protector is an intrusion detection system that uses AI to identify cyberattacks automatically. Syncplify.Me Protector identifies attackers and then adds them to a blacklist so that they can’t connect to the server. The intrusion detection system offers an extra layer of security against cybercriminals.
Syncplify.me is a must for companies that want a secure SFTP or FTPS server. It’s one of the most protected offerings on the market. Syncplify.me is free for personal use. Paid versions start at $299 (£229). for an unlimited number of users and concurrent connections. You can download the software for free.
- SFTP and FTPS
- High availability
- Create custom scripts
- Includes Syncplify.Me Protector
- HIPAA compliant
Syncplify.me Server is a top choice for users who want an SFTP and FTPS server on Windows that’s HIPAA compliant. It’s also one of the securest offerings on the market from a security standpoint due to the inclusion of Syncplify.me Protector.
If you’re looking for a tool that not only offers a convenient file transfer experience but also has the inbuilt security to give you and your users peace of mind then Syncplify.me Server is a great option. The product is available on Windows only.
CrushFTP is an FTP server for Windows that supports SFTP, FTPS, SCP, and HTTPS. With CrushFTP you can manage file transfers through a web-based user interface. Here the user can view previews of any images, PDFS, videos or documents on the server. Previews enable you to see the content of a particular file from a glance.
To manage user access, you can create custom forms for users when they visit your site. For example, you can ask for additional information about file uploads. Users also have the option to retain control over files or files and enable others to have temporary access. Temporary access can be sent out via email and remains available for a specific time period. However, administrators can still step in to control the type of content that can be shared and for the amount of time if needed.
For security, CrushFTP includes automated banning. CrushFTP monitors connection patterns and bans IPs that hammer connection, command, or password settings. Blocking malicious IPs reduces your exposure to bad actors and stops them from interacting with your server.
CrushFTP is a fit for enterprises that are searching for a secure SFTP server or FTPS server. The tool offers a 30-day free trial you can use before upgrading to a paid version. Paid versions start at $30 (£23) for 10-50 concurrent users. You can download the free trial version.
- Supports SFTP, FTPS, SCP, and HTTPS
- Create custom user forms for your site
- Create reports
- File synchronization
CrushFTP stands among the very best secure FTP server and FTPS server tools on the market. The support for SFTP, FTPS, SCP, and HTTPS makes it one of the most diverse tools in terms of support.
The mixture of top-down dashboards for visibility and automated banning to keep you safe ensures you can enjoy a productive file transfer experience. CrushFTP is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix, BSD, Solaris, and more.
Couchdrop offers virtual file servers that can be used to mediate file transfers between endpoints. SFTP plan customers have the choice of just using the cloud servers as a file transfer bounce-through mechanism or add on cloud storage space, to create a centralized store, either for working documents or for archiving/backup.
Couchdrop is a New Zealand-based company and even though it doesn’t have servers in the EU the notification procedures make use of SFTP and cloud storage services that are GDPR compliant. Couchdrop is also compliant with the HIPAA regulations required for healthcare information in the USA.
The first version of Couchdrop was written to integrate with Dropbox cloud storage. The system is now also able to integrate with Google Drive, AWS, OneDrive, CloudShark, and Box, among other virtual server systems. The service also enables you to transfer files through email using SCP protection.
The file transfer system is also able to work with non-secure systems, such as plain old FTP. Users can select to transfer files with WebDAV, Rsync, and SCP as well.
The Couchdrop service is charged on a subscription basis. There are four plan levels available and the lowest of these is free forever. The free version only includes one user account. However, as it is free, an organization could just encourage each participant to open separate accounts. It includes 1 GB of hosted storage and allows 1 GB of file transfers per month.
The three paid plans have progressively larger storage space included and have higher monthly transfer limits and each has a 7-day free trial. The highest plan, Enterprise, is a custom-built package.
- FTP, SCP, WebDAV, and Rsync, and SFTP file transfers
- Easy to set up
- Includes cloud storage
- Plans with multiple user accounts
- Interface through other file transfer clients
Couchdrop is a flexible intermediary between your favorite file transfer client, such as Filezilla or WinSCP through to your cloud storage account on a Microsoft Azure server, AWS, or Dropbox, among others. It is also possible to use Couchdrop as a standalone file management system, deploying the cloud storage that is included in each plan.
Users can transfer files securely with SCP or SFTP and even protect files transferred via email through the Couchdrop system.
Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is an SFTP server for Windows designed for basic file sharing. You can complete file transfers and view an activity log. The software can be deployed from a ZIP file without any long-winded configurations.
The tool is ideal for enterprises that need a simple SFTP solution rather than a complete SFTP server. While Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is an excellent tool it is important to note that it stores passwords in clear-text.
That means you can see passwords on the main server form, making Rebex Tiny SFTP Server inappropriate for users looking for a secure solution. It’s free for personal and commercial use. You can download the software for free.
- Complete SFTP transfers
- View activity log
- No installation required
- Available for Windows
Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is a great lightweight SFTP server. If you want to conduct quick transfers without worrying about completing any hefty installations or configurations then this is the tool to use.
However, if you want to transfer sensitive information then the plain text disclosure of passwords is likely to be a deal-breaker. Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is available for Windows.
OpenSSH is a collection of command-line tools for Linux that includes an SFTP server. OpenSSH was designed by the OpenBSD Project and offers users a free solution with support for SSH, SCP, and SFTP. The SSH client that comes with the software supports SSH protocol 2.
To interact with the software, the user must enter commands into the command line. For example, the user can issue a command that the program only usesIPv4 or IPv6 addresses. Alternatively, the user can also configure the tool to continue interrupted transfers to reduce the risk of partial or corrupted files.
As one of the most popular SSH tools, there are countless tutorials online alongside an extensive library of documentation. The abundance of online sources is invaluable for new users who want to learn more about how to use the software.
OpenSSH is recommended to users who are looking for a free SFTP server and are confident working through the command line. The OpenBSD project’s technical prowess has helped to make this one of the top tools for Linux-based users. You can download it from GitHub.
- Supports SFTP SSH, and SCP
- Online documentation
- Based in the command-line
- Available for Unix and Linux
OpenSSH is a tool for users who are confident working through the command line. It doesn’t have the fancy GUI of many other solutions, but it doesn’t need to. It gives you the bare minimum you need to transfer files and with the assistance of user manuals and documentation, new users can still get to grips with the program.
OpenSSH is available for a range of UNIX operating systems including AIX, HP-UX, Irix, NeXT, SCO, SNI/Reliant Unix, Solaris, Mac OS, and more.
Which SFTP Server or FTPS Server software is Best?
Sending files by email isn’t the best way to get information where it needs to be. An SFTP server or FTPS server enables you to conduct file transfers efficiently while staying secure. Throughout this list, we’ve looked at some of the top tools on the market to help you find the best fit.
Our top pick, SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is an SFTP server that ticks all the boxes for enterprises looking for a simple SFTP management solution. For those who want to use SFTP and FTPS our runner up SolarWinds FTP Voyager is a better fit. Second to that, Files.com offers a great cloud solution that can scale with your needs.
Other tools like FileZilla, Syncplify.me Server, and CrushFTP also stand out among the pack as excellent alternatives. We recommend that you make use of a free trial first before committing to deploying a new software solution.
SFTP and FTPS Server Q&A
What is the best enterprise FTP server?
Enterprises need secures FTP servers. According to our research, the best enterprise FTP servers are:
- SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server (includes SFTP, SCP, and FTP servers)
- Couchdrop (includes SFTP, SCP, and FTP servers)
- SolarWinds FTP Voyager (includes SFTP, SCP, and FTP servers)
- FileZilla FTP tool (includes SFTP, FTPS, and FTP servers)
- IIS FTPS Server (includes FTPS and FTP servers)
- Syncplify.me Server (includes SFTP, FTPS, and FTP servers)
- CrushFTP (includes SFTP, FTPS, SCP, and FTP servers)
- Rebex Tiny SFTP Server (includes SFTP and FTP servers)
- Titan FTP Server (includes SFTP, FTPS, and FTP servers)
- OpenSSH (includes SFTP and FTP servers)
Does Microsoft IIS support SFTP server?
No. Microsoft IIS server doesn’t support SFTP. Nor does IIS support SSH in general. Instead of SFTP, the secure file transfer protocol that IIS supports is FTP Secure (FTPS, aka FTP-SSL, FTP over TLS, and FTP over SSL). FTPS and SFTP are not the same, but both are equally secure. The IIS FTPS server can be found in Windows Server.
How do I run a SFTP server on Windows?
The access to SFTP server on Windows depends on which Windows-based STFP server you choose to install. Most Windows STFP server tools are self-installing. Once you have that SFTP server software, you just need to run it by open the service and Select SFTP server functions from the menu of your tool.
How do I connect to SFTP server with Linux?
STFP on Linux has its own command environment. There are two ways to connect to SFTP server in Linux. If you want to include an SFTP session in an automated process through a script, it is better to set up a passwordless SFTP connection system. Manually, you connect to SFTP server in Linux by typing in sftp remote_username@IP_or_hostname and hitting return. You will be prompted for the password for that user account. After successful login, you will see the sftp> prompt, which shows that the SFTP connection has been established.
How do I host a SFTP server?
The method of hosting an SFTP server depends on your operating system and which SFTP server tool you chose to install. For example, the SFTP servers in this guide will set up an SFTP server automatically. So, the easiest way to host an SFTP server is to choose an appropriate STFP server tool for your host operating system.
How do I make my FTP server secure?
Choose a secure FTP protocol such as FTPS or SFTP in order to get security on all of your FTP server connections. Do not rely on FTP alone for connections over the internet. Although TFTP is widely used on networks for small data transfers, only use this FTP server internally and as little as possible because it is not secure.