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We have a client who wishes to send files to us via SFTP (citing that FTP is inherently insecure). We have a Windows Environment (Windows 2003 Server).

Currently, I'm reviewing copssh (OpenSSH for Windows, http://www.itefix.no/i2/copssh), and am looking for alternatives, or thoughts on copssh or any other SFTP option for Windows. The simpler to setup and administer, the better.

I have never setup an SFTP host, before, so I'm curious what you all would recommend.

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7 Answers 7

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I tend to have chunks of the CgyWin distribution (http://www.cygwin.com/) installed and have SSH+SFTP/SCP setup that way and gave found it to be reliable for this purpose under Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008*. It's SSH package is a complete port of the OpenSSH suit as found in most Linux distributions and many other Unix-a-likes (including BSD, where it originated).

Cygwin may be over-kill for you needs if all you need is SFTP though (I find it very useful to have a full Linux-a-like environment at my fingertips, but your description suggests that you do not need anything like that). copssh which you mention is actually based on the cygwin port of OpenSSH, my understanding it that it is simply the SSH parts and requirements pulled out of cygwin with nothing else, so should work just as well.

Long story short: I recommend you keep investigating copssh, unless you want some of the many other things that come with cygwin in which case investigate that instead.

[*] I had problems with exim via cygwin under 2008, though that was a while ago before 2008 was officially supported so that may be a resolved problem, but SSH with bash and all the usual command line tools I use have worked flawlessly.

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I found the permissions model discontinuities between CopSSH, Cygwin, and Windows/NTFS to be a colossal headache to keep straight. It was three ACL layers that needed to line up, as I recall. And it was very sensitive to .dll versions. This was several years / jobs ago, perhaps it's been improved. For me it was a case of things being "free only if your time is worth nothing"... even when it was my paycheck that saw the benefit from the time spent fighting the software.

These days I spend the $100/Box for WinSSHD from BitVise, which has been solidly set-and-forget. I have no affiliation beyond being a happy customer; have a look at WinSSHD.

edit: WinsSSHD SFTP setup step-by-step

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I have copssh on my Wintel servers, have used it for a few months now and haven't run into any problems at all so far.

The only thing I had to alter from the default install was change the /etc/passwd file to point my (s)ftp users home directory to the existing ftproot rather than the default copssh sets up.

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Cerberus FTP Server 4 now supports SFTP on Windows (as well as FTPS). It's a quick install and they have extensive help documentation available online. Other than adding an SFTP interface in the GUI there isn't any other setup required to make SFTP work. Version 4.0 is still in BETA but I've used it extensively and found it to be very stable.

The download is available here and the setup tutorial is available on their website.

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CompleteFTP is an SFTP and FTP/FTPS server for Windows you might like to consider. It also supports HTTP and HTTPS. Disclosure: I am one of the developers of CompleteFTP.

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Try looking at filezilla server. http://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=server Same guys that make the very, very popular FTP/SFTP client make a server for windows.

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I have investigated this project as a potential SFTP server, but unfortunately the FileZilla server does not currently support SFTP, this is only included in the client. –  Loftx Nov 14 '11 at 16:41

You can try SFTPPlus Server. It works on Windows but also Linux and Unix. It comes with a web based administrative tool to configure SFTP / SCP protocols and accounts.

In the same time it provides support for FTPS (explicit and implict) and HTTP / HTTPS, so you can access the same files over multiple protocols.

As commented before, the permissions in Cygwin are a big headache, this is why I recommend a native server.

I am one of the people who develop SFTPPlus

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