WinSCP vs FileZilla – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

WinSCP vs FileZilla, What’s the difference ? Well lets first discuss what is WinSCP FTP Client.  WinSCP stands for Windows Secure Copy. It is a free, open source file transfer software introduced in 2000. The software is licensed under the GNU GPL and utilizes SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), WebDAV, secure copy protocol (SCP), and Amazon S3 clients to transfer files. The main purpose of WinSCP is to upload files to a local computer and transfer them to the server under strict security norms. The software uses public key encryption to keep your data, information, or file safe when moving from one system to the other. Apart from these, the software program also covers other functions, such as file synchronization. It has a Graphical user interface and supports batch file scripting, command line interface, .NET wrapper, advanced filtering options. WinSCP is available for users in multiple languages and is a powerful file manager software for Windows.


The application design works best with Microsoft windows and supports numerous features of Windows, such as jump list location, drag and drop file option, context menu entries. As a user install WinSCP, he can opt for a Windows Explorer or Norton Commander interface to display all the client files and host files in separate panels. The program requires the user to update the hostname (server’s web address), port number (based on the protocol you choose), username, and password (make sure to register with the server) before commencing the file transfer process to the server. The time taken by the software to transfer files varies on the data volume.

Pros of WinSCP

Easy to Use Software: WinSCP comprises a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that makes it easy for users to perform file operations and batch file scripting. The software also has a command line interface. Thus, it is much simple to configure WinSCP and its settings.
Encrypted Data Transfer: Written in the C++ programming language, the software enables secure data transfer using SSH, the SFTP, and SCP protocols over an unsecured network.

Free usage: Licensed under the general public license (GNU), WinSCP is free software. Any user can use, modify, or redistribute the program. Its programming for SSH and SCP depends on the client program.

Performs User friendly operation: The graphical user interface of WinSCP is accessible in two versions, including the Commander interface and the Explorer interface. One can use windows desktop shortcuts and features, such as drag and drop to transfer files.

Automatic synchronization functionality: WinSCP allows data management and synchronization of local databases available on the PC. The program can monitor the directories, upload, modify, and delete previous files as per the server’s request.

Integrated text editor: The program has an internal text editor that allows users to open HTML, PHP, or CSS files, edit and adjust in the server’s remote directory. The software also makes a copy of the edited file in the cache. It is easy to alternatively integrate external editors, such as Notepad++ or Eclipse into WinSCP.

Cons of WinSCP

Slow Speed Performance: One of the disadvantages of WinSCP is that the data transmission is slower in comparison to other similar software programs like FTP.

Do Not Support UNC Paths: A program requires a UNC path to create a smooth connection with the same data source. In the case of WinSCP, the program will crash if the user tries to import a system as it does not support UNC paths.

What is FileZilla

Differences between winscp and filezilla

FileZilla is another leading free, open source FTP client program that got introduced in 2001. It has an easy to use Graphic user interface that helps clients to upload, download, delete, rename, and transfer files on a remote server. FileZilla is a cross platform that supports Windows, Linux, and macOS. It is one of the best programs if you want to perform multiple transfers offering high performance. Further, it supports FTP, SFTP, and cloud providers, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon S3, and DropBox. It is easy to run multiple tasks at the same time with FileZilla. Additionally, the client program supports IPv4 and IPv6, Remote file search, Remote File Editing, Bookmarking, synchronized browsing, and more features.

Licensed under GNU GPL, FileZilla supports IPv6, resume and transfer of large files, synchronized directory browsing, and can also be used an FTP server. The program has the capability to overwrite existing files if the source is new or the file size does not match. It is compatible with HTTP/1.1, SOCKS5, and FTP Proxy. There are many new web interfaces available in the market today, yet FileZilla stands out and has become one of the trust FTP client programs. Have a look at some of its benefits and setbacks to get a clear picture of the program.

Pros of FileZilla

Free Open Source FTP client Program: The trusted FTP client program, FileZilla runs a free version with limited features. However, this doesn’t reduce its importance and quality. The software has the capability to manage FTP over TLS, SFTP protocols, and more. The program carries some highly secure features that will always keep your data safe when transferring files.

More Options are Available under Pro Version: If you have paid for the Pro version, you have access to more features and can add more clients. The starting price for users is affordable.

FTP Servers are Accessible: The server version only applicable for the Windows platform makes it easy for the other users to access files across multiple servers.

Comprises a few complex features: The easy to use software program comprises advanced functionality that can seem a little complex for some users. However, when performing a task, the program turns out to be simple and readily available. It can simultaneously show both the local and the destination folders to the users in FileZilla. While transferring files, a user can view the process or the list of queued jobs. Also, there is an option where it shows how many files have been transferred or waiting for final execution.

Faster Connection: The process to create a FileZilla connection is quick as it only requires a user to fill in the host site, port name, username, and password. Once you have filled in all the details, you can commence with the connection process.

Cons of FileZilla

Not the right choice for beginners: A beginner might find FileZilla a little complex. But, there are many online tools and support documentation available that can help guide through the process.

Access to Extra Downloads: Once installed FileZilla, users have access to download additional files. One can opt out of this option if needed.

Differences between WinSCP vs FileZilla Comparison

Many businesses used FTP to exchange files when the program was in trend. Still, there are many corporate firms that support the use of FTP for file transmission. Currently, many versions of FTP applications are now available in the market. In this post, we are willing to compare the two most popular FTP clients, WinSCP vs FileZilla. Get a clear picture of both software programs with our head to head comparison report.

User Interface: WinSCP has a graphical user interface (GUI) and command line interface (CLI) that makes it easy for the operators to configure WinSCP, transfer files and perform batch file scripting. However, FileZilla only has a graphical user interface (GUI) and does not support CLI, which means it has limited access to configure FTP requirements. On comparing both software based on GUI and CLI, WinSCP scores more.

Supported Platform: WinSCP is limited to only Microsoft Windows, whereas FileZilla supports all platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS. With WinSCP, you can run your application on Linux with the help of its different versions, but it supports limited functions. Thus, in this case, FileZilla wins over WinSCP as it is cross platform.

Multiple Server Management: FileZilla can manage multiple servers, whereas this functionality is not present in WinSCP.

Features: WinSCP is best for the windows platform. Thus, it also integrates additional features of Windows desktop, such as drag and drop features, shortcuts, jump list location, context menu entries, and more. It includes file transfer management services over a wide range of protocols, such as FTP, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, Amazon S3. Additionally, the software features an integrated text editor, .NET wrapper, advanced filtering options, batch file scripting, file synchronization, and storage options for session information.

FileZilla also supports the drag and drop features but is less configured for windows on comparing with WinSCP. Also, it is easy to use and can transfer files through multiple servers at the same time. The software supports Site Manager, Remote File Editing and Searching, Bookmarking, synchronized browsing, configurable file transfer speeds. Also, for large file size transfers the software has a feature to pause and resume file transfer.

In this case, both the software programs have great features, but FileZilla carries better features.

Security: The ability to build a secure connection is one of the most important factors when choosing between the two most popular software programs, WinSCP and FileZilla. As the whole program is about transferring files from a local computer to a server, it is vital to have a secure plan. WinSCP uses SCP, FTP, SFTP protocols that support public key authentication over SSH. Additionally, the program also provides SSH passwords, an encrypted password storage system, and Kerberos authentication. However, FileZilla supports encrypted FTP over SSH and public key authentication. Unlike WinSCP, FileZilla does not support SSH passwords and has no special space for password storage.

Thus, in terms of security, WinSCP wins over FileZilla.

WinSCP vs FileZilla FTP Clients - Conclusion

To find out which one is better, we compared both the FTP client programs with their pros and cons. In some cases, WinSCP wins over FileZilla, however, in a few cases FileZilla stands out. Thus, it is difficult to conclude which one is the best. It is better to go through each factor listed above, compare and analyze the programs and opt for the one as per your business requirement.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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