Let's say you want to prepare yourself a sandwich that is easy to make, affordable, provides nutritional benefits and, most importantly, delicious.

Which sandwich will you make?

If American television taught us anything, some people will choose a peanut butter sandwich, while others are more into jam.

But… aren't they missing out on something? It just seems incomplete.

The same principle goes for people who are indecisive about their file storage solutions,unsure whether they should use SFTP or Amazon S3.

And so, we have put together a list comparing SFTP and Amazon S3, to decide once and for all, whose cuisine will reign supreme.

Are you more of a peanut butter kind of person? Or is jelly your thing?
Are you more of a peanut butter kind of person? Or is jelly your thing? Photos by Micheile Henderson and Corleto Peanut butter on Unsplash

Business Continuity

Advanced planning is necessary in order to ensure that your business is capable of continued operation in the event of a catastrophe. An adequate disaster recovery plan in addition to a high availability and data durability architecture can help you maintain your business’s activities in times of hardship.

Amazon S3 was designed with DR factors considerations. It supplies a highly durable storage infrastructure, offering numerous features to support data durability and backup demand. Amazon S3 also provides the option of utilizing file versioning , which provides users easy recovery from application failures and accidental user actions by holding several versions of each object in a bucket. Versioning supports a variety of actions, such as  saving, retrieving and recovering each version of any object stored in your bucket.

Amazon S3 boasts a durability rate of 99.999999999% over a given year (1 file in 100 billion may be lost every year) and it stores your files across several data centers (or availability zones) to support simultaneous device failures by rapidly detecting and fixing any problems that may occur.

SFTP, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any disaster recovery or high availability measures on its own.


Amazon S3 is capable of scaling based on demand. It was designed to offer a highly flexible level of scalability and can adjust to the various phases of growth that a project or an organization may require. S3 offers the option to store a virtually unlimited number of files in a bucket and you won’t ever run out of disk space. Also, you only pay for what you use!

SFTP, on the other hand, is not scalable independently, but rather utilizes the disk space made available to it by the given operating system on the server.


Amazon S3 complies with laws and regulations around privacy and security  such as: PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, EU Data Protection Directive, and FISMA, to help you meet regulatory requirements. Encryption features and access management features are available as well for the purpose of protecting  your data from potential harm.

SFTP, by definition, is a secure file transfer protocol. It is based on SSH (Secure Shell), which is the standard system used for secure connection to UNIX/LINUX servers - ensuring all data and communication between the client and the server are encrypted over the wire. In addition, it relies on the operating system’s user management and file system permissions to authorize access to each file individually.


SFTP has been around since the 90’s and has gained trust and popularity by organizations all over the world as the de-facto standard for secure file transfer.

Complementary to its respectable reputation, SFTP also poses great familiarity for most IT folks and developers who have already had prior experience using it. That is why their use of SFTP is consistent and there is no need to spend precious time learning a new system or API to facilitate and automate secure file sharing.

Automation and webhooks

Amazon S3 offers APIs and Command line client tools (or CLI), which help automate file transfers without coding. Webhooks can also be used to send programmatic notifications when files are uploaded or deleted.

SFTP works well with CLIs and libraries that can be used with all popular programming languages, but notifications about file changes are not available.

Install anywhere

SFTP can be installed anywhere, anytime.

Amazon S3, on the other hand, is proprietary for AWS and thus,  you can only set it up with AWS, on the cloud.

So about that sandwich. The classic peanut butter and jelly is not a surprising invention. Why choose one when you can enjoy the best of both worlds, with complementing flavors?

Just like PB&J, SFTP and Amazon S3 complete each other, creating the ultimate storage solution: SFTP To Go.

SFTP To Go with maximum security and reliability
SFTP To Go offers managed SFTP/FTPS/S3 as a service - maximum reliability, security, availability, with 1 minute setup. Great for companies of any size, any scale.
Try SFTP To Go now!

With SFTP To Go you get all the benefits S3 has to offer, such as:

  • Built in disaster recovery and high availability
  • Top notch security
  • Modern automation features
  • Flexibility and scalability

Combine all of the above with SFTP’s familiar interface that simply works!

Some things just work best when put together.
Some things just work best when put together. Image by Arne Homme from Pixabay