Transferring files to and from your web server is one of the most important tasks you will do. Although most websites these days have content management systems that allow you to create dynamic content from within your web browser, there are still times when you need to upload large files like videos or music.
In the event that you need to upload sensitive documents or private archives, FTP may not be the best solution. For secure file transfer, you should use a system that makes use of SSH encryption. SSH (Secure Shell) is the protocol system administrators use to manage Linux and Unix servers, and many web hosting companies will give you SSH access if you request it.
SCP – Secure Copy is a secure network protocol that uses SSH to transfer files. It is easy to use SCP from the command line if you have the command line program installed on the client machine (Linux or Mac OS X). You can also use a graphical program, WinSCP, on a Windows computer.
SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol has become a more trusted method of transferring files over FTP. Many FTP programs can use SFTP out of the box, including Filezilla and Cyberduck. SFTP can do more than transfer files. With it you can change file permissions and ownership, delete files, display file system information, make directories, and even create symbolic links.
Not all files you transfer to your website are super top secret, but the best way to protect your password and data from prying eyes is to use a transfer tool that uses SSH in one form or another. That way, when you do decide to transfer something private, you will already have the proper security in place.