How to FTP or SFTP in Windows 10

This step by step guide will explain exactly how to use FTP or SFTP in Windows to connect to a remote server so that you can upload or download files.

While the steps and screenshots in this guide are specific to Windows 10, this software will work with all modern versions of Windows and you should have no trouble following along. Note: We also have a Mac version of this guide.

  1. Head over to the WinSCP download page and click the large DOWNLOAD WINSCP button.
  2. download WinSCP button

  3. Once the download has completed, locate the file in your Downloads folder and double-click it to start the installation. You’ll be asked if you want to install the app for all user accounts on the computer you’re using or just for your account. Make the selection based on your needs.
  4. select install mode for winscp

  5. Click Accept on the License Agreement window.
  6. winscp license agreement installer window

  7. For the Setup Type select Typical installation (recommended) and then click the Next button.
  8. Setup Type window for the winscp installation

  9. This time select Commander as the User interface style and then click Next
  10. the user interface option for WinSCP

  11. Finally, click Install
  12. an install button

  13. WinSCP will now be installed. It doesn’t take very long so don’t go too far away.
  14. WinSCP installing

  15. On the last WinSCP installation screen make sure there’s a check in the box labelled Launch WinSCP, and make sure there isn’t a check in the Open Getting started page box. Click the Finish button.
  16. finish installing WinSCP window

  17. The WinSCP app will now open up and the Login panel will appear.
  18. the main WinSCP login window

  19. From here you’ll need to enter a bunch of information about your server connection, all of which should be provided by the owner/administrator of the FTP/SFTP site itself. First, select either FTP or SFTP from the File protocol: drop-down menu. In the Host name: field enter the name or IP address of your site. If you’re connecting to an FTP site, enter 21 as the Port number: – if you’re connecting to an SFTP site, enter 22. Then enter your username and password in their respective fields. When all of the required fields have been filled out, click the Save button.
  20. entering the information for an FTP site in Windows

  21. On the Save session screen give your Site name a descriptive title. If you don’t want to enter your password each time you connect to the site, place a check in the Save password (not recommended) box. You can also have a shortcut created on your desktop that when double-clicked will open WinSCP and start the connection to this site right away, which is very handy. Click the OK button when you’ve made your selections.
  22. WinSCP save options

  23. If you’re making an SFTP connection, when you connect to your site for the first time you’ll be prompted to save a host key to your local cache. Click the Yes button.
  24. the WinSCP host key message

  25. WinSCP will now finish the connection and display the contents of your S/FTP site in the panel on the right side of the window.
  26. connected to an FTP site in Windows

  27. The panel on the left side of the WinSCP window contains your local files – ie. your computer. Navigate to the folder that contains the file, files or folder that you want to upload. Select them and then “drag and drop” them onto the panel on the right side of WinSCP – which is the remote S/FTP site.
  28. uploading a folder to an FTP site

  29. Click the OK button on the Upload confirmation message window.
  30. the WinSCP upload confirmation message

  31. Now your files/folders will upload from your computer to your FTP/SFTP site.
  32. WinSCP uploading files to an FTP site

  33. When the upload has completed, it’ll display those files/folders in the ‘remote site’ panel on the right.
  34. successfully uploaded files on an FTP site

  35. To download files or folders, select them from the ‘remote site’ panel then drag and drop them into the ‘local’ panel.
  36. That’s it! Now you can upload and download files using FTP or SFTP in Windows.
  37. If you need any further help by all means feel free to leave a comment below, or check out the WinSCP documentation.

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