Introducing Several Popular File Transfer Protocols

Before you choose a secure file transfer solution, it is best to have a basic understanding of the protocols involved, which make file transfers safe and reliable.



The FTP file transfer protocol has existed for decades and has been widely used in the past. TCP provides reliable data transfer through message sequence confirmation and message retransfer mechanisms; at the same time, various widely used operating systems (WINDOWS/LINUX/UNIX/MAC) have built-in TCP protocol stacks, and POSIX standards define the TCP Socket standard API interface, these factors have contributed to TCP's widespread success on a global scale.

However, this transfer protocol, which was designed more than 20 years ago, has become increasingly unsuitable for the rapidly developing network environment and the requirements of new applications, especially when there are a certain packet loss and delay on the network transfer path. Transfer throughput declines sharply, and path bandwidth is often not used effectively, resulting in slow transfer speed, long transfer time, and poor transfer experience.


FTPS is an extension protocol that adds Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption protocol support to the commonly used file transfer protocol (FTP). FTPS is a secure file transfer protocol that allows you to communicate with trading partners, Clients and users transfer files securely. These transfers can be authenticated through methods supported by FTPS (such as client certificates, server certificates, and passwords).


In the computer field, it is designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to provide secure file transfer capabilities through the expansion of SSH-2, but it can also be used by other protocols. Even though the IETF is in the network draft data stage, this protocol is described in the SSH-2 document, it can be used in many different applications, such as secure file transfer in Transport Layer Security (TLS) and transfer information management in virtual private network applications Program. This agreement is assumed to be executed in a secure channel, such as SSH, the server has authenticated the client, and the client user can use the agreement.

Compared with the earlier SCP protocol that only allows file transfer, SFTP allows a wider range of operations on remote files ─ which is more like a remote file system protocol. A comparison of the capabilities of an SFTP client and SCP includes additional replies to interrupt transfers, directory listings, and remote file movement.


The old protocol, SCP or Secure Copy Protocol, is a network protocol that supports file transfer between hosts on the network. It is similar to FTP, but SCP supports encryption and authentication functions.


As the backbone of the World Wide Web, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the basis of data communication. It defines the message format of the communication between the web browser and the web server and defines how the web browser should respond to web requests. HTTP uses TCP (Transfer Control Protocol) as the underlying transfer and is a stateless protocol. This means that each command is executed independently, and the receiver does not retain session information.

Https (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Security) is a secure version of HTTP in which communications are encrypted by TLS or SSL.

6.AS2, AS3, and AS4

AS2, AS3, and AS4 are popular protocols used to send and protect critical file transfers.

AS2 is used to transmit sensitive data safely and reliably on the Internet. AS2 uses digital certificates and encryption standards to protect critical information transmitted between systems, networks, and locations. AS 2 messages can be compressed, signed, encrypted, and sent through a secure SSL tunnel.

AS3 is a standard and can be used to transfer almost any file type. It provides a layer of security for data transfer through digital signature and data encryption. It was originally created to transfer data files, such as XML and EDI business-to-business data files. Unlike AS2, AS2 is a defined transfer protocol, and AS3 is a message standard that focuses on how to format a message when it is sent from the server to the server. Once the AS3 message is synthesized, it can be transmitted via any other protocol (FTP, SFTP, HTTPS, etc.). As long as both parties can access the location where the message has been placed.

AS4 is an agreement that allows companies to exchange data securely with their partners. It is based on what was originally set up by AS2, but works with web services and provides improved delivery notifications. As a business-to-business standard, AS4 helps make file exchange on the Internet safe and simple.


PeSIT protocol is an end-to-end file transfer protocol developed by the French Interbank Telecommunications System Economic Interest Group (GSIT). It is rarely used in North America and is mainly used to meet European banking standards and to transfer communications to and from European banks.

Knowing these 7 file transfer protocols, you probably know how to choose a protocol to ensure the secure transfer of your files.

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