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What are my options for SFTP without credentials?

Kevin asked
Good Morning,

For the past 5 years or so, we have been transferring 3 files from our Miami office (Unix platform) to our Cayman Islands office (Windows Server 2008 Standard SP2) on a daily basis via FTP using a login and password.

Our current setup is as follows: In the Cayman office we have a domain account set up (ftpusr) which has been given read/write and list access to a directory on the server. The unix system in Miami will use this account to transfer the 3 files to the Cayman office server daily.

We now want to use SFTP to transfer these files, also and most importantly we DO NOT want to use credentials (a login and password) to authenticate with the other side. Instead we want to use some other method of authentication. Like a certificate or key or something else that would make authentication easy and secure.

I need options/ideas on how to accomplish this as I am not sure. But the below points must be met:

1.      Must be SFTP
2.      Must use either a “Free” third-party application or something included in Windows server 2008.
3.      Cannot be an anonymous account.

Kindly advise how this can be accomplished.

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Must use either a “Free” third-party application or something included in Windows server 2008.
A free SFTP server?! If you find one that is robust, stable and can be used in Production/Live environments, let me please know ;-) I had a similar problem some time ago and I ended up in buying a commercial one (Cerberus FTP) and I'm very glad I did so :-)
About the "SFTP without credentials" thing: what about Private/Public Keys?!
KevinInformation Technology


Thanks Alexander.

Is there nothing within Windows Server that will give me the SFTP server capability?

Private/Public keys will do, I need to research on these though as this area is very new to me.
Jose Gabriel Ortega CastroCEO Faru Bonon IT /Top Rated Freelancer on Upwork / Photographer
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On windows server, nope.
On windows server just built-in FTP.
But I've found this maybe is useful: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/iis/publish/using-the-ftp-service/using-ftp-over-ssl-in-iis-7

But I have a free SFTP with a self-signed certificate with https://filezilla-project.org/
Download server and it's pretty easy to configure
For FTP config
for FTPS
Sure, FTPS is as secure as SFTP, but in the end, it's just not the same. And if your customers or whoever want/need to transfer their data via SFTP, you have to buy a SFTP server software when you're running it on a Windows machine. If you're able to switch to a *nix server, there may be some other (free) possibilities ;-)
KevinInformation Technology


@Jose, can Filezilla Server be set up as a service to start upon windows boot? Also does it support private/public keys?

@Alexander, i found this on the net "https://winscp.net/eng/docs/guide_windows_openssh_server" using OpenSSH also this one (http://www.tothenew.com/blog/how-to-setup-sftp-on-windows/) using Cywig. Have you used either one of them? If so, is it possible to set the users path outside of the openSSH/Cywig home directory? I would like to use a windows share for the path of the SFTP user.

Cerberus FTP looks great but for our simple needs of transferring 3 files from one location to another securely, the price for the software just isn't worth it.
I'm using WinSCP just as a client... But the links you found are looking good to me, why not give it a shot ;-)
Isn't private/public key auth bound to SFTP only?! I don't think you can do this with FTP(S), but I'm not quite sure...
KevinInformation Technology


Thank you both for the ideas.

I found that Filezilla Server does not support SFTP. And looks like you are right Alexander, private/public keys are only used with SFTP and not FTPS.

I will be using the OpenSSH with Cywig method to set up my SFTP.

Kind Regards,
You're welcome ;-)
Good luck!