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The Best Free SFTP Servers for SSH File Transfers

Best SFTP Servers

Marc Wilson UPDATED: November 20, 2023

An SFTP server enables secure file transfer using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It allows users to securely connect to the server, authenticate themselves, and transfer files between their local system and the server over a network. In order to use SFTP, a Client application and a Server application are needed to create the connection and facilitate file transfers.

SFTP servers are widely used in various industries where legal compliance requires secure file transfer (e.g. healthcare) and scenarios where secure file transfer is essential such as web hosting, server management and secure backups.

Here is our list of the best SFTP Servers:

  1. Files.com Cloud – EDITOR'S CHOICE A secure cloud storage system that acts as a distribution system. Upload files to the system and then mail out links so recipients can access and download each file on demand. Start a 7-day free trial.
  2. ExaVault – FREE TRIAL A package that includes an SFTP server that can also implement FTPS and a cloud file server. Start a 10-day free trial.
  3. SolarWinds Free SFTP/SCP Server – FREE TOOL A secure file transfer manager that will run in the background and manage the transfer of files up to 4GB in size. Runs on Windows Server. Get this free tool.
  4. Syncplify.me Server A file transfer manager with encryption and extra security measures that will manage multiple simultaneous transfers. Installs on Windows Server.
  5. FileZilla A free open-source file transfer system that includes FTP, SFTP, and FTPS and runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  6. Bitvise SSH/SFTP Server Manages high volumes of file transfers with simultaneous transfers possible. Runs on Windows and Windows Server.
  7. Cerberus FTP Server 8 A FIPS-validated secure file transfer server that integrates with AD and LDAP and is suitable for HIPAA sites. Installs on Windows and Windows Server.
  8. Sysax Multi Server A system for managing simultaneous file transfers with FTP, SFTP, FTPS, HTTP, and HTTPS. Runs on Windows systems.
  9. Rebex Tiny SFTP Server A free, lightweight SFTP server that is suitable for low-volume use. Runs on Windows.
  10. Core FTP Mini SFTP Server A straightforward secure file transfer server that is HIPAA compliant. Runs on Windows.
  11. CompleteFTP Α Windows SFTP server supporting secure file-transfer via FTP, FTPS, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS and SCP.

SFTP servers are commonly used in conjunction with the Secure Copy Protocol (SCP). Related Post: Best SCP Server for Windows

In this article, we will discuss of the Best Free SFTP Servers for Windows that are available for you to download and quickly install and begin using.

The Best SFTP Servers for SSH File Transfers

What should you look for in the secure SSH file transfer tools?

We reviewed the market for free SFTP servers and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:

  • A secure file transfer system based on SSH
  • The opportunity to try a paid product for free
  • A service that can integrate with the corporate access rights manager
  • Additional secure transfer options, such as FTPS
  • Efficient code with a small program footprint
  • A suitable throughput speed
  • A useful set of features that makes installing a free tool for secure transfers a worthwhile option

With these selection criteria in mind, we have identified some effective SSH-based file transfer utilities and we have made sure to include systems that will run on each of the major operating systems.

1. Files.com Cloud – FREE TRIAL

File devices

Files.com gives you an awesome cloud tool that allows your company to have a Branded/Company portal for sending and receiving files over a Secure connection (SFTP, etc).

The Single interface for file transfers gives you the security, flexibility, and ease-of-use of an enterprise-grade solution at an affordable rate.

Key Features:

  • Receive or Send files via Email securely and Fully Encrypted – Allow file requests to be sent as well.
  • Full Microsoft Office Integration with File/Folder Previews along with Real-time Collaboration for teams and companies.
  • Advanced features that all for Automation (perform an action) when Files are Changed/Renamed/Deleted/Uploaded/Downloaded with integrations into popular services including Zapier, Amazon SNS, Webhooks and Microsoft Power Automate!
  • Audit Dashboard to view change Logs of File Modifications, additions, etc.
  • Synchronize Files/Folders with Popular Cloud Providers including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, BOX, Dropbox, Wasabi, Rackspace, Backblaze and many others.
  • Provide Unique Links for File Upload/Download for Clients and Customers
  • Data Retention Rules for Users, Groups, or Folders
  • Assign Permissions for Users, Folders, or Groups (including Read, Write, Delete & Admin Permissions).
  • API and SDK available for developers
  • 1 or 2 Way Syncs of Data to other Cloud or Backup Platforms to Data Redundancy
  • 2FA (2-factor authentication) with secures such as Google Authenticator, Duo, Authy, Yubikey, FIDO/U2F and SMS.
  • Advanced Security features for users and Groups include Policies for the following attributes: Passwords, Sessions, Brute Force Rules & 2FA requirements.

Unique feature

A distinctive feature of Files.com is its ability to offer a secure file-sharing experience. This includes features like secure link sharing, file expiration and automatic detection, and anonymous file drops.

Why do we recommend it?

Files.com is mainly recommended for its user-friendly interface. Anyone, without technical skills can learn how to use Files.com without much training. In addition, Files.com is also ideal for secure file sharing and for its range of flexible features such as legacy and modern file transfer methods like SFTP and FTPS.

On top of these advanced Security features, Provisioning new users can be completed via Enterprise Identity (SSO). SSO gives you the ability to further authenticate and authorize users via LDP, Active Directory, Azure, ADFS, OneLogin, Auth0 and Okta along with many other identity providers.

Who is it recommended for?

Files.com is recommended for freelancers and small-to-medium businesses. It is specially recommended for those working remotely or with distributed teams, and for any company that needs secure file management.


  • Scalable solution, making it ideal for both small businesses and enterprises alike
  • Features robots user management, permissions, and access control to support long term use
  • Allows users to create links to files that have special rules, such as expiration dates or click tracking
  • Can compress large files for faster transfer
  • Supports integrations into other cloud-based storage options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive


  • While the platform is easy to use, some of the more advanced features can take time to learn and implement


Files.com is our top pick for an SFTP server because it adds in storage space for documents so you only have to upload them to the Files.com system once, then you can let their system cope with the traffic volume of distributing many copies over the internet. This cuts down the amount of traffic that your network has to cope with, particularly for promotional material that you need to send out to many recipients. Add in the free trial and you get the best free SFTP server available on the market.

OS: Cloud-based

2. ExaVault – FREE TRIAL


While it isn’t a free tool, you can use ExaVault for free, thanks to the 30-day free trial that this system offers. The package combines and SFTP server with cloud storage space. The SFTP server can also operate with FTPS.

Key Features:

  • Cloud drive
  • Transfer security
  • Link invites for access
  • User and administrator controls

Unique feature

One distinctive feature of ExaVault is its reliable and straightforward API. ExaVault’s API is valuable for integrating its services with users' own applications and workflows.

Why do we recommend it?

ExaVault is recommended for its ease of use and reliability. Its interface is easy to navigate and use, making it accessible even for those who are not technical. Plus, it is also worth mentioning that ExaVault provides a combination of SFTP and cloud file storage.

This is a good system for transferring large files. There is no limit to the size of files that can be uploaded to the ExaVault platform. From there, you mail out a link rather than sending a copy of the file. This link invites the recipient to access the file on the ExaVault server.

As all file access is carried out on the ExaVault server, the actions performed on them can all be logged. This is a great feature for businesses that need to comply with data protection standards.

The file transfer system and the cloud storage space are protected with encryption.

The system administrator needs to create user accounts that grant access to the file space. This allows each account involved in an access attempt to be written into the activity logs.

Who is it recommended for?

ExaVault is especially popular among businesses that require secure file transfers and collaboration with clients and partners. Additionally, ExaVault offers competitive pricing (for its MFT), making it an attractive choice for small to mid-sized businesses.


  • Free trial
  • Secure transfer and storage
  • No limit on file size


  • Only free during the trial period

ExaVault Start a 10-day FREE Trial

3. SolarWinds Free SFTP/SCP Server – FREE TOOL

SolarWinds Free SFTP/SCP Server

Provided by SolarWinds, the leader in network management software, their free software package provides a great, free tool to quickly and securely transfer files across your network.

Supporting files of up to 4GB, it allows you to transfer large files such firmware and the latest iOS over your network.

Key Features:

  • Secure local service
  • Receives files from anywhere
  • SSH security

Why do we recommend it?

The SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server is recommended for its secure file transfer (SFTP and SCP) capabilities. It's useful for archiving configuration files and distributing firmware updates. Additionally, its simplicity makes it efficient for network management.

Multi-thread capabilities allow for concurrent upload and download of files from multiple network devices.

SolarWinds has advanced security settings that give you control over how you transfer files using the most secure methods, along with allowing you to specify specific IP addresses and address ranges for transfers.

Since it runs as a service, it provides SFTP/SCP server availability in the background at all times.

It is compatible with the latest 64-bit operating systems.

A powerful, yet easy-to-use piece of software, SolarWinds Free SFTP/SCP Server is a must-have.

Who is it recommended for?

SolarWinds SFTP/SCP is recommended for network administrators and IT professionals who need to securely transfer files, especially large files. The software is suitable for small to medium-sized networks.


  • Completely free SFTP server
  • In-depth user authentication options
  • Can set limits based on events such as deleting, uploading, and downloading – great for larger teams


  • Is designed more for a technical audience, with an abundance of features and customization options

4. Syncplify.me Server

Syncplify.me SFTP Server Download

This full-featured SFTP server boasts many capabilities, which meet the needs of even the most security-conscious users out there. It fully supports Active Directory users and groups, and comes configured to prevent itself against attacks such as DoS, DDoS, password harvesting, and more.

Key Features:

  • Runs on Windows Server and Linux
  • Available on AWS Marketplace
  • Secure file transfer and remote terminal

Unique feature

Syncplify Server uses AI to automatically identify and mitigate attacks, even unknown ones, and proactively blacklist potential hackers.

Why do we recommend it?

Syncplify Server is recommended for its exceptional focus on security, reliability, and versatility in the realm of FTPS and SFTP servers. The SFTP server software has a strong track record (for never being hacked) and zero vulnerabilities.

It supports transferring multiple files simultaneously and includes support for clustered remote configuration databases and Distributed File System environments.

Syncplify.me Server functions can be expanded and customized using 4 scripting languages: JavaScript, C++, Pascal, and Basic. White-lists, speed limits, and virtual folders, along with many other features, allow users to customize this SFTP server to their own, very specific needs. Syncplify.me Server supports Windows Server 2008 and up, both 32 and 64 bit versions.

Who is it recommended for?

Syncplify Server is recommended for network administrators and IT professionals who need a secure, reliable, and easy-to-use SFTP server solution. The software is popular in industries like healthcare and finance (due to its out-of-the-box compliance with regulations like HIPAA and PCI-DSS)


  • Offers HIPAA compliant file transfer options
  • Supports multiple transfer protocols like SFTP, FTP, and FTPS
  • Can scale to 5000 clients, ideal for heavy enterprise use
  • Clutter-free user interface


  • Can have a sharp learning curve for newer users

5. FileZilla

filezilla stfp server

This open-source software provides capabilities to transfer files via SFTP among other secure and non-secure methods, including FTPS and FTP. FileZilla supports file transfer sizes of up to 4GB, and lets you pause and resume traffic when needed.

Key Features:

  • Provided by Mozilla
  • Runs on Windows, macOS, or Linux
  • Transfer a file up to 4GB in size

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend FileZilla as a free SFTP server because of the way it handles FTP and SFTP file transfers. FileZilla is highly appreciated for its simple and intuitive interface which is convenient for beginners and experts.

Drag-and-drop support, remote file editing, and remote file search make it simple and easy to use without compromising security.

File-name filters and directory comparisons come standard, allowing you to ensure that the files you need to be transported and stored are accurate and up-to-date.

Its simple user interface operates on Windows, Linux, OS X, and more. And since it is a very popular open-source application, bugs and other issues are quickly found and fixed by developers around the world.

Who is it recommended for?

FileZilla is recommended for a wide range of users with varying levels of technical expertise. It's an excellent choice for web developers, IT professionals, and anyone needing to transfer files between local and remote servers.


  • Completely free tool
  • Easy to use interface
  • Available cross-platform for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS
  • Supports drag and drop transfers


  • Could benefit from automatic synchronization
  • Lacks in-depth scheduling features found in other tools

6. Bitvise SSH/SFTP Server

BvSshClient Sftp Server software and download

Bitvise SFTP & SSH Server is a lightweight, powerful, multipurpose application designed to provide secure SSH features and SFTP capabilities.

With Bitvise, SFTP can provide some of the fastest file transfer speeds possible – hundreds of MB/s can be obtained depending on the SFTP client.

Key Features:

  • Secure terminal
  • SFTP file transfers
  • Runs on Windows

Unique feature

A unique feature of Bitvise SSH Server is its support for unlimited user connections at no extra cost. This distinction makes it a scalable and cost-effective choice for businesses of all sizes.

Why do we recommend it?

Bitvise SSH is recommended for its ease of use and security. It is ideal for Windows users looking for an SFTP server with user-friendly interface.

It supports an unlimited number of user connections; the number and speeds of simultaneous connections are only limited by the host hardware resources.

Bitvise server supports virtual accounts and uses FIPS-certified DLL version of Crypto++ 5.3.0 for the most up-to-date and secure encrypted connections.

It is compatible with all major SFTP clients. With its simple installation and setup procedures and many capabilities, Bitvise is the ultimate in SFTP server solutions.

Who is it recommended for?

Bitvise SSH is recommended for a broad audience, including IT professionals, system administrators, and businesses of all sizes. It is also suitable for organizations with strict security requirements, because is compliant with various security standards, including FIPS, HIPAA, and PCI.


  • Offers a GUI, a nice change from the CLI
  • Supports both virtual and native WIndows users, allowing better ad-hoc access
  • Supports disabling shell access for improved security in Windows environments


  • The GUI could be easier to use, some options are nested and difficult to find

7. Cerberus FTP Server 8

cerberus sftp server screenshot and download

This robust and feature-laden software provides SFTP transfer capabilities along with other secure file transfer protocols, including FTP/S and HTTPS. Cerberus supports Active Directory and LDAP needs and is FIPS 140-2 validated for the most secure file transfer needs.

Key Features:

  • Runs on Windows and Windows Server
  • HIPAA compliant

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend Cerberus FTP Server for its robust and secure file transfers (backed by compliance). The software is specifically tailored for organizations that prioritize data security and compliance.

It is HIPAA compliant, meaning it is able to transfer even the most confidential patient information safely and securely.

This application allows for Ad Hoc file transfers and file integrity checking and its IP auto-banning features add an extra layer of security.

Who is it recommended for?

Cerberus FTP Server is an excellent fit for anyone, including individuals, SMBs and even enterprises. It is ideal for organizations subject to compliance regulations.


  • Well done user interface that easily displays files and folder structures even in larger environments
  • Built with compliance standards such as HIPAA in mind
  • Features alert options that can help departments know immediately when files have been delivered, or have arrived


  • Not built for small teams
  • Is one of the more expensive SFTP server options

Cerberus FTP/SFTP Server 8 is compatible with Windows Server 2003 and up and Windows 7 and up, and is free for personal use after the trial period is up.

A must for any security-conscious operation.

8. Sysax Multi Server

Sysax Multi SFTP Server screenshot and download

Along with SFTP, Sysax Multi Server supports several simultaneous remote access and file transfer protocols, such as FTP, FTPS, Telnet, and Secure Shell.

It also supports HTTP and HTTPS web-based file transfers.

Key Features:

  • Remote management through a browser
  • Runs on Windows

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend Sysax Multi Server if you are looking for a secure and private file transfer server solution for Windows-based systems. It is ideal for SFTP transfers for its robust set of features, its compliance and security options.

Its simplified user account administration allows administrators to use Windows authentication for existing Windows users on the network, or they can create custom user accounts within the software.

Sysax Multi Server allows for remote management via any web browser, and when using locally, you can use its own administration panel or the Windows Management Console.

For more advanced security, it supports public key authentication, SSL certificate generation, and IP restriction.

The corporate edition allows for unlimited simultaneous client connections.

A powerful and simple-to-use application, Sysax Multi Server is perfect for any SFTP server need.

Who is it recommended for?

Sysax Multi Server is suitable for freelancers, small businesses, mid-size companies, and even large enterprises. Since Sysax Multi-Server complies with data security regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GDPR, it is suitable for organizations with strict compliance requirements.


  • Are a combination SSH and FTP server built-in one
  • Supports advanced features such as SSL cert generation, and IP restricting
  • Certified compatibility for Windows Server environments


  • Would like to see support for Linux/Unix

9. Rebex Tiny SFTP Server

Rebex Tiny Sftp Server

This small, minimalist SFTP server was designed for testing SFTP clients. This simple little application requires no installation or setup, and is perfect for small jobs where a full-fledged server is unneeded or unreasonable, or when you need to test your SFTP client app and do not need to waste time setting up a more complex server that you may rarely use.

Key Features:

  • Runs on Windows
  • Small footprint
  • Key management

Why do we recommend it?

Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is recommended if you are looking for a free, simple, and easy-to-use SFTP server. While it may not offer the advanced capabilities of some competitors, it excels in its minimalism. It suitable for small tasks where a full-fledged server isn't necessary.

It supports a single user and provides detailed activity logs. Rebex Tiny supports DSA and RSA keys and is free for both personal and commercial uses. It is compatible with any modern Windows version with .NET 4.0. A simple but useful application, Rebext Tiny SFTP Server is invaluable in any small-time application.

Who is it recommended for?

Rebex Tiny SFTP Server is recommended for developers testing SFTP clients, quick and dirty file sharing, and users on older Windows systems. It is not suitable for scenarios requiring high-security standards.


  • Extremely lightweight – a good option for smaller organizations who need to be resource conscious
  • Fast install, simple setup
  • One of the most user-friendly options
  • Completely free


  • Not built for long term heavy use
  • Enterprises may find this limiting in terms of scalability and features
  • Sysadmins will find that the platform trades technical tools for user-friendly features
  • Log and troubleshooting features could use improvement

10. Core FTP Mini SFTP Server

Core FTP Mini SFTP Server

This very simple standalone SFTP server allows for quick transfer of secure files between computers across any network.

It provides the standard file transfer capabilities, all secured with the SSH encryption protocols.

Key Features:

  • Browser-based remote access
  • FTPS and SFTP
  • Scheduled transfers

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend Core FTP mini-SFTP-server for its simplicity. It is an excellent choice for specific scenarios where a lightweight and quick-to-configure SFTP server is needed.

Simple, yet effective, it is perfect for the quick jobs where a full-fledged server download and setup is not practical.

Who is it recommended for?

Core FTP mini-SFTP-server is recommended for individuals and SMBs that need a quick FTP (SFTP) server setup. It can be used by anyone with minimal technical skills. It is not recommended for large-scale operations or users that require advanced features.


  • Has a freeware version that works well for smaller organizations in a limited capacity
  • Sysadmins can use the verbose log feature to quickly troubleshoot problems if they occur
  • Auto start settings allow the service to always be ready, even after unexpected shutdowns


  • The interface is limited and lacks some basic quality-of-life features
  • Pricing is competitive, but still fairly high when considering the competition
  • Access rules feature could use improvement

11. CompleteFTP

completeftp screenshot

CompleteFTP is a Windows SFTP server supporting secure file-transfer via FTP, FTPS, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS and SCP.

Features include support for all FTPS and SFTP clients, web file manager, remote administration, virtual file system, file-sharing, IP filtering, auto-banning, e-mail notifications, process triggering, load-balancing/fail-over, Windows and Active Directory users, custom authentication, and custom file-systems via .NET and embedded JavaScript, and regular security updates.

Key Features:

  • Good for website administration
  • Free and paid editions

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend CompleteFTP Server for several reasons. This SFTP server solution is versatile, easy to use, secure, and reliable. Plus it also comes with flexible licensing options (including a free license).

CompleteFTP has four editions, starting with the Free Edition, which, as the name implies, is completely free for an unlimited time. It has no limits on the number of users, transfers, or anything else, and the feature-set more or less matches that of FileZilla Server. CompleteFTP scales from the tiniest hobby installation to the largest corporate cluster with an addition three paid editions offering many more features.

Who is it recommended for?

CompleteFTP Server is recommended for small to large businesses. It is usually used by financial institutions, government agencies, retail and mobile industries, and IT professionals. It is important to note that CompleteFTP Server's different editions and licensing cater to specific user’s needs.


  • Can be used for managed file transfers (MFT) with scripts
  • Provides FTPS in the free edition
  • Paid editions provide FTPS, SFTP, SCP, and HTTPS


  • Need to pay for SFTP

SFTP Server FAQs

Why are SFTP and SSH ports the same?

SFTP uses SSH for its transmission security and so, at the point of connection, the transaction is carried out under the SSH protocol. Thus, SFTP has to use the SSH port.

What port does SSH use?

SSH uses port 22.

Can PuTTY be used for SFTP?

PuTTY has its own implementation of SFTP, which is known as PuTTY SFTP, or PSFTP.

Check out other related articles here:

Titan SFTP/FTP Server Overview and Review

What is SFTP and Port Number?

Top Free TFTP Servers for Windows