Why As A Web Developer You Should Really Use SFTP Or SSH To Access The Server

When people think of the web they tend to think that it is made just like a Word document and that it is not that much work to actually create a web page. I know a lot of web developers that wished that were the truth but unfortunately it is not. It is a lot of work to get a working, intricate web page together. When you take on the task of becoming a web developer there is going to be a lot of different technologies that you are going to have to learn. You need to know how to work with both the back end which is the server and the front end which is the browser. You are also going to need to know how to create the presentation mark up so that regular humans can see the web page.

When you hear web developers talk about the back end and the front end as I did in the last paragraph then you know now they are talking about the server and the actual web page itself. You have to know how to make the right folders on the server and make sure that all of the web pages have the right permissions. You also need to know how to manipulate the technology on the server by using what is known as a server side language. This can be one of several languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl, and many others. When it comes to the actual web page you need to know how to make the site human readable by using CSS and a markup language that is called HTML. Also you can manipulate the browser by using a technology known as JavaScript.

But once you have all of that down, you still need a technology that is going to let your computer talk to the server. Without it you will not be able to get the right scripts on the page for the people to see. For this to happen you can use one of several technologies. These technologies are known as FTP, SFTP, and SSH. I will go over these technologies and see which one is the best for you to use.

Why As A Web Developer You Should Really Use SFTP Or SSH To Access The Server

FTP

FTP, otherwise known as File Transfer Protocol, is a technology that will allow you to transfer files from your computer to the server. It was one of the original Protocols of the internet and it has survived for a long time. The only problem with the protocol is that it allows you to transfer files, usernames, and passwords in what is known as plain text. This means that there is no protection and anyone who is using a man in the middle attack against you will be able to grab your data and use it. So they tried to make it more secure with the next technology that I am going to talk about, SFTP.

SFTP

With SFTP, you have the same thing that you have with FTP but it is over a secure channel called SSH. The secure SFTP protocol is a mixture of the two and is usually considered an extension of the SSH shell.

SSH

SSH is also known as a Secure Shell. It is a protocol like FTP that allows you to transfer files back and forth between two networked devices. But more than that, the protocol allows you to control the other device that is on the other side of the remote connection. A lot of web developers use the SSH protocol to be able to do work on a remote computer instead of just transferring the files over to it. They create the files on the server instead. This is very useful for people who work in several different places and not just from home.

So why can’t I just use FTP?

As you can see, while FTP does the job it is not quite as good as the other options that I have discussed. The reason why is mainly because of security purposes. As I said earlier in the article, when you have to transfer files on a strange network then you can easily have your data taken away from you by a man in the middle attack. This means that someone will be able to access your server and there is a good chance that you will never even know it. SFTP is a good way to stop this but again SSH might be even better. Because with SSH, you are not only able to transfer files but you can also control the server that you are using to host the files. This is a lot more useful even though there is a bit of a learning curve when first using SSH.

If you want to make sure that your computer is secure then make sure that you use the right tools. In this case you should use either SFTP or SSH to transfer files on your computer. If you do not then you can find yourself in trouble.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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