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File Transfer with FTP/sFTP

(s)FTP- Transfer

The FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a well- established service to copy files on the internet from computer to computer. To fully use the Sftp service, a specific SftP software, the (s)FTP-Client, is needed.
When it comes to transferring files to our fileservice, the Windwos program Filezilla or WinSCP (for higher demands) are applicable.

The sFTP protocol complements the “simple” FTP with an encryption (therefore s=secure), just like you have seen on other websites as well (https). In principle, the descriptions of both systems are similar. However, not all clients can support sFTP. Please consider what functions the respective (s)FTP-Server estimates of your program.

In the following, the general functioning of FTP is explained. Subsequently, you will find further information on Settings for the transfer.



General Functioning of FTP  

For technically inclined people:   RFC 959 (File Transfer Protocol).

(s)FTP enables file exchange between a (s)FTP-Server and a (s)ftp-Client. (s)FTP servers are usually operated and managed by institutions (like the University of Bonn: FSI ->sFTP) and their respective experts, while the user can access the services of the (s)FTP-server with his or her (s)FTP-client.

Generally, a (s)FTP-Server provides the following services to users that use a (s)FTP-Client:


  • Login: The start of a (s)FTP session and confirmation of functions that a user can avail.
  • Download: Transfer files from the server compute to the client computer
  • Upload: Transfer files from the client computer to the server computer
  • Change of the source- or destination folder on the server computer
  • Create new folders on the server computer
  • Delete files and folders on the server computer
  • Logout: The end of a (s)FTP session
  • Encoded connection: Only for sFTP

A few programs offer the additional chance to “synchronize” directories via (s)FTP. But this is a function of the respective program, not of the FTP service.


To get avail of the services of the (s)FTP services, a particular (s)FTP-Client software is needed. This software can be acquired from vrious providers. Here, a small slection:

Browsers like Mozilla (Firefox, Seamonkey) or the Internet Explorer provide limited FTP-functionality


A typical FTP- session goes like this:

1.       Starting the (s)FTP-Server

2.       Establishing the connection to the (s)FTP-server

3.       Login onto the (s)FTP server with Uni-ID and password

4.       Switching to the destination/source folder on the (s)FTP- server

5.       Transferring files

6.       Logout from the (s)FTP- server and dismantle connection


Information that is necessary for a (s)FTP-session, such as the name of the (s)FTP-Server and Uni-ID, can be saved on many (s)FTP-Clients as so-called Server profiles. In doing so, these details do not need to be entered repeatedly.


Settings for the transfer

To connect to the SOFS- disk space in the FSI, please use the following details:


Port:                22
Protocol:       sftp


Standard directory on the server:  /user/userid

 [please exchange “userid” with your own Uni-ID]

Please keep in mind that you definitely have to select sFTP as your protocol. For a direct call-up, you need to specify the protocol (i.a). For example:

Filezilla- direct call-up:                 s



Character coding and other problems:

While using sFTP, there can occur various problems when files are uploaded or edited from various systems (e.g. first from Windows and then from Linux or MacOS computers). You can even face problems within the Windows world. Please refrain from using file names with umlaut!

If umlauts are present either way, corrections can be made through the settings of the transferred programme. A general solution for these problems cannot be given (since various systems use different character sets), but our Filservice FSI is streamlined to work with Windows systems and the CIFS use usually goes without any problems. When it comes to operations with Sftp, some settings can be made, if needed.

Most Windows systems work well with the setting:


Coding:   UTF8
end-of-line character: CR/LF

More detailed information can be found here: or




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