Also, what is the difference between pscp, psftp and scp, sftp?

I'm guessing PuTTY is originally made for Windows which doesn't have these commands by default, am I right?

If that's the case, why would anyone use PuTTY on Linux?

  • scp and sftp are confusing, because they are both protocols (ie, many programs can use them) and the name of the program/utility in Linux/Unix – ivanivan Jul 4 '17 at 0:20
  • Whereas the pscp program in the PuTTY suite implements almost the commandline arguments of scp but can use either protocol, while the psftp program implements the more complicated and flexible interface and protocol of sftp. – dave_thompson_085 Jul 4 '17 at 2:53
  • One good reason to have PuTTY ported to GNU/Linux is that it can be run under Valgrind to find bugs, fixing which could benefit the Windows version. – Kaz Jul 7 '17 at 1:46

PuTTY is a terminal emulator (able to run shells, which in turn run commands), while the usual SSH application is a shell (not a terminal emulator). PuTTY has been ported to Unix (and Unix-like) systems as pterm.

scp is a special case: a program use for copying a few files via an ssh connection. PuTTY on Windows has a similar program, but there's no need for that in the Unix port.

sftp (and psftp...) would be analogous to ftp: specialized programs used for copying many files.

Their usefulness depends on what you need to do: some use scp far more often than sftp, and vice versa.

  • SSH is a protocol for encrypted connections between computers. It is quite flexible as it allows multiple streams in one connection (e.g. terminal sessions, file transfers and TCP port forwardings).
  • SCP is a simple protocol for file transfers via SSH connections.
  • SFTP is a protocol to transfer files, list directories, etc. via SSH connections.
  • PuTTY is a GUI terminal emulator for Windows with a built-in SSH client for remote terminal sessions.
  • ssh is a command line SSH client. There is a port for Windows named OpenSSH for Windows.
  • scp is a specialized program to copy files via SCP. pscp is a port from the PuTTY suite with the same purpose.
  • sftp is an interactive command line program to manage files via SFTP. It allows copying, deleting and listing of files similarly to the command line tool ftp. psftp is again a port from the PuTTY suite with the same purpose.

PuTTY combines multiple features (customizable terminal emulation, remote connection, serial port access, etc.) that are usually separated on Linux/Unix because Windows by default only includes a limited "terminal emulator", the command prompt window. Another reason was, as you suspected, that Windows doesn't have ssh by default.

There are multiple terminal emulators on Linux that work well with ssh, so there is no real need for PuTTY on Linux. The main reasons to use PuTTY on Linux would be its session management, the customization features that help talking to machines with bugs and/or unusual terminal settings (character set, key bindings, etc.) and the feature to also access serial ports.

  • You probably meant that scp transfers files via SSH not SCP. – Rabban Jul 7 '17 at 6:47
  • 2
    No. scp transfers files with the SCP protocol which uses SSH. – cg909 Jul 7 '17 at 8:05
  • You're right, I stand corrected! – Rabban Jul 7 '17 at 9:08

In Simple

putty - A software used to connect servers with protocol's like ssh ftp


ssh - A protocol used to connect the server through port 22.
  • 1
    Not really; PuTTY can natively do SSH Rblah TELNET and anything you can manage to hand-type over a 'raw' TCP connection, but not FTP because it uses multiple TCP connections; SSH can be and often is used over ports other than 22, and many other protocols are used to connect to many many and various servers. – dave_thompson_085 Jul 7 '17 at 7:20

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