WinSCP Tutorial

Learn How to Use WinSCP

WinSCP (Windows Secure Copy) is an open source SecureFTP client for Windows. It allows secure file transfers between the client's local computer and the remote server. In order to establish a secure connection through WinSCP the SSH support should be enabled. Otherwise, the WinSCP software can be used as a regular FTP client.

The WinSCP software uses cryptographical methods, integrated in SSH to protect your login details and private information. It prevents different types of attacks like password sniffing and malicious monitoring of the sessions between your local computer and the remote server.

The software can be downloaded from the following URL.

It requires Windows OS. The installation of WinSCP is quite simple. Basically you need to click on the Next button several times leaving the default options.

In order to customize it to your likings you can choose between the Norton-Commander interface and the Windows Explorer-like interface.

The main difference is that the first interface provides 2 panels (one with the local computer directory structure and the other with the remote) while the second shows only the remote. If you are used to work with applications like Norton Commander, Total Commander or Midnight Commander, pick the first option. If you prefer Windows Explorer, go with the second.

The interfaces settings can be changed after the end of the installation too.  

Once you are ready with the installation, you can establish a secure connection from your local computer to the remote server.

If you are a SiteGround client and you have enabled the SSH feature for your account, you can follow the steps listed below. Otherwise, please contact your hosting provider and check whether they provide SSH access.

Open the WinSCP client.

Navigate to the Session section. 

Enter the Host name, the Port number (if you are a SiteGround client check the following article for the port and the private key setup details), the User Name and the Password (if you are a SiteGround client, leave this field blank, since we provide a very secure SSH solution through public and private encrypted keys). Pick the preferred protocol. The possible choices are: SFTP (Secure FTP), SCP (Secure Copy) and FTP.

During the establishment of the connection you will be prompted for the pass phrase, which is entered during the ssh keys pair generation.

Once the session is opened, you can perform all the standard FTP actions. The difference is that the connection is secured.

You can keep your connection details by storing them in the Stored Sessions subsection.

You can save your current session details, add a new session, edit, rename and delete an existing one. You can create a new folder for a chosen session, set it as the default one and create a desktop shortcut by using the Shell icon option. The Tools menu allows you to import a session from the Putty SSH client, to clean the data stored by the application on your local computer and to check for updates.

In the Environment section you can modify the server environment setup and adjust the timestamp.

The Directory subsection allows to set the default remote and local directories.

In the SSH section you can pick the preferred SSH protocol version and adjust the encryption cypher selection policy.

In the Preferences section you can switch between the Norton Commander and the Explorer-like interfaces.

The Explorer-like interface is more popular among the Windows users. In order to transfer files you can directly drag and drop them.

Additionally, you can alter other preferences like confirmation prompts, notifications, preferred editors for the files modifications, allowed transfer actions and many more.

Using the SiteGround SSH Hosting and the WinSCP software you will benefit from the highest standards in the secure file transfers.

SiteGround is not affiliated with or endorsed by the SSH Project or its trademark owners.