Learning More About SFTP And FTP Servers

As you might already know, an FTP (or SFTP) server on macOS serves for quicker and simpler files and folders sharing. However, there is one thing that some of you may still not know – after the update on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Macs have lost the ability to run these servers.

For some users, this turned out to be a very unfortunate surprise. It is still not quite clear why Apple removed this feature in their new OS version, but one thing we know for sure is that you still can enable it with the help of some simple hacks that we are going to share in this article.

SFTP Vs. FTP: Grasp The Difference

Before we can move on to our tips, let’s clarify one more thing – how is FTP different from SFTP server? For the inexperienced user, both may sound and look quite similar. However, there are a few distinctive features to keep in mind.

First of all, it is worth noting that although the computers that run on the latest macOS versions come without a built-in FTP file transfer protocol, they use an SFTP protocol instead.

The main thing that differs these two protocols is that SFTP is generally considered to be much safer, as it has more advanced encryption.

Despite this, some of you may still prefer to use FTP instead, and that’s fine. Below, we will tell you how to install and run it.

Simple Tips For FTP Installation

First of all, you will need to have inetutils available on your Mac as it will help you to install the FTP. To have it, you need to install Homebrew. Once you are ready, proceed to the following steps:

  1. Go to Homebrew and start installing the inetutils file by using this command: brew install online
  2. The installed file will contain not only FTP but also FTP server, telnet and telnet server, rsh, rlogin, tfp servers, and clients, etc.
  3. Once the inetutils is installed, you can run the FTP command as you would usually do.

The best thing about this method is that it provides you with a few extra tools that can come in handy in the future.

How To Run These Servers?

Now, whether you decided to install FTP or preferred to stick with SFTP, in both cases, you need to know how to run those servers. Here is a small guide:

  • To run FTP server – go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal and use the following command: sudo -s launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist
  • To run SFTP server – go to System Preferences > Sharing, then find the Remote Login option and check the box next to it. Then move to the Allow Access section and pick Only These Users to specify with whom you’d like to share files or folders.

Enabling this feature is pretty simple. However, there is one extra thing to keep in mind – it is not recommended to run both servers simultaneously. Otherwise, they may conflict.