Telnet, SSh, SFTP: What are they?

What is Telnet and SSH? If you are in the field of tech, chances are high you have certainly come across this term. These two are one of the most important two application protocol you want to know about. Telnet is a terminal emulation program used for TCP/IP network which uses port 23 and enables you to administer a distant server by connecting to the server as if you are sitting and configuring that server by being right in front of the server.

This is incredibly useful to administer a bunch of servers on the network from one place rather going to each and every server for administration.

Securing connection with SSH

Now the mind twister is, if you can have access to these servers remotely, what keeps other from doing the same over the network? Specially for the hacky gentlemen? I mean, definitely Telnet is not thus stupid to let anyone just have access to these systems just like that. It has some moral ground and requires your credentials to authorize access. But the problem is, Telnet, unfortunately, uses the same FTP’s method of sending passwords and user names in plain text and you never ever want to use it over WAN but generally advised by the gurus in tech, to use it in LAN.

Why the hell did I just share this with you if Telnet shares the same FTP’s childish method? Because, one, you know from the root and decades of evolution in tech and two, you will never forget after reading three, and three is, SSH! The legendary Secure Shell. As a matter of fact, SSH has almost completely replaced the Telnet wherever it was used before. SSH and Telnet on the user level, works almost identically other than SSH uses port 22 and the entire connection is encrypted and therefore keeping the hacky gentlemen tacked back. SSH also have another reputation which is, it can move files, any type of TCP/IP network traffic through its heavy secured connection. In the world of networking this is called tunneling and is the basis of most secure version of the Internet technologies like SFTP and VPN which we will touch upon next.

The technology behind SFTP

SFTP is the successor of FTP. This is where the answer lies that what you are supposed to use if FTP is such redundant and childish to hand over your precious like that? SFTP stands for secured FTP. SFTP unlike FTP transfer your files over a secured and encrypted SSH network. You can and should do, the same things you would use a FTP for but technically it is on its own protocol. SFTP protocol was built and written in such that they were an extension of SSH. For this, you would find SFTP client and server support built into SSH software, for instance, the famous OpenSSH. You can use this to send files straight from your terminal to other places in a more secured form than FTP.

I hope by now you have already got the haze cleared for what you would use in 2022. To your surprise you would still find FTP in widely used today.