There are several important differences in the connection types when joining the RedShelf FTP.
- FTP = File Transfer Protocol
- FTPS = File Transfer Protocol Secure
- SFTP = Secure File Transfer Protocol
First and foremost it is important to note that the technology for FTP pre-dates the world wide web by about 2 decades.
As such, FTP/FTPS/SFTP cannot use a web browser. So typing an FTP address into a browser window will never work. They are something completely separate from the World Wide Web (what we think of as the internet) and simply use the actual internet connections to move files. The initial use case for FTP was to transfer files between geologically separate locations quickly and easily.
This means that you will need to use a special tool, specifically built for connecting to any FTP server, including the RedShelf FTP server. These tools are covered in different sections within this page.
FTP and FTPS use port 21 and SFTP uses port 22 when connecting to their relevant servers.
- for reference HTTP and HTTPS (the www connections) use port 80 and 443 so you can see that when FTP was initially set up, it pre-dates the world wide web by quite a bit
While FTPS and SFTP might APPEAR to be the same, just with a slightly different word order, the difference is in how the security is applied.
FTP uses a simple username and password scheme to connect to the requested server (in our case it is ftp.redshelf.com)
FTPS uses the username and password scheme of FTP, but adds a layer of security through certificates and their approval to ensure the connection is valid.
SFTP uses a public and private key pair that negates the need for certificate approval since the private key exists on your computer and the public key can be shared with anyone. In RedShelf's case, your public key lives on the server. This key pair ensures that only your computer can be matched with the server.
- RedShelf is able to accommodate any number of public keys associated with a partner, thus allowing multiple computers, or servers to connect to the FTP.
On top of all of this, RedShelf has configured an additional layer of security to its FTP server. This layer, requires your external IP address (this can be viewed if you navigate to: whatismyip.org). RedShelf requests that you use either your office IP address, or your VPN IP address to make sure it remains static. Home ISP's tend to change your IP address from time to time (which is a leftover from the pre-broadband, dial-up days of the 1990s).
- RedShelf's FTP service is able to accommodate any number of IP addresses, or IP address ranges to ensure the security of your connection.
- So if you are using the FTP connection type (username & password) and that information is compromised, the bad guys would still need to be at your location, or use your VPN to access your information on the FTP server.
This added layer of security, ensures that only YOU are able to connect to YOUR folders and files on the RedShelf servers.
RedShelf is always working to protect your digital property as much as possible. This is why we request that all our partners switch from FTP to SFTP.