TFTP, as the name's similarity to FTP suggests, is a file-transfer protocol.
The first T, however, stands for ‘trivial‘, and belies its nature – TFTP is geared towards a much simpler, and thus less robust, set of needs as far as file transfers go.
TFTP is ideal for transferring of firmware updates, moving system images around, and other tasks that require far more functionality than form.
TFTP is lighter weight and has a smaller footprint than FTP and is much faster and easier to setup and configure for larger scale transfers of files, updates, workstation configurations, and more.
However, the security of TFTP is very low.
Looking more at the technical side, TFTP can be quite novel in its uses.
It can be used to easily and quickly backup configurations for network configurations or router settings, it can easily snag and save IOS disk images, it can serve upgrades with swift ease, and you can even boot a system remotely with no hard-drive at all.
Instead you would rely on TFTP which can save a lot of headache when performing a handful of smaller tasks that would be slowed drastically by having to cart a drive to several machines.
TFTP operates simply via the UDP/TCP Port Number 69.
Long ago, TFTP was more common for a wider range of internet data transfers, but it's lack of security and authentication makes it ideal these days only for specific internal or private-WAN based usages, generally.
We've come up with a large list of the best TFTP Server software that can help you with your tasks.
Grab one of these and have a whirl to see if it works for what you need.
We recommend the Solarwinds package below as its served us well for many years now, since Cisco has discontinued their software and no longer supports it.
Here's the Best (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) TFTP Servers of 2021:
- Solarwinds TFTP Server
- WhatsUp Gold
- Cisco TFTP (Discontinued)
- Spiceworks TFTP Server
- TFTP Desktop
- haneWIN TFTP Server
1. SolarWinds TFTP Server – Free Download
SolarWinds TFTP server option has a couple notable advantages – the first and foremost of which will be most apparent to anyone using other SolarWinds technology.
The ease of configuration and management with other pieces of the overall SolarWinds suite makes life a lot easier if your environment already has them!
It supports multi-threaded transfers, and adds a level of security by means of IP restriction to a usually security-lax protocol.
It's Extremely easy to setup and configure, and can be set to run as a service for a nice “set-and-forget” type setup.
Oh, Did we Mention it was FREE too?
Grab the Download from Below and you'll never look for another Trivial File transfer server again!
2. WhatsUp Gold TFTP
WhatsUpGold has a free TFTP offering via their WhatsConfigured management plug-in, which offers a basic range of TFTP transfer-ability for simple movement of TFTP-based traffic over a small-user simple network setup.
3. Cisco TFTP (discontinued)
Cisco TFTP is heavily used simply because TFTP is such a basic thing, even though Cisco TFTP was discontinued some time ago!
It does what it needs to do and does it plentifully well – there's not much to really add to or spruce up TFTP with, so even older programs like this do the job fine!
Be aware though, its only supported on Windows 98/ME/2000/XP Operating systems.
4. SpiceWorks TFTP Server
SpiceWorks' offering is similar to SolarWinds, in that they try to add a bit more functionality on top of the basics of what TFTP is.
TFTP, by its very nature, is such a simple thing that it's sorta hard to add a lot to it!
In this case, though, a strong visual interface really does make life easier – you can visually see and peruse the devices that you are attempting to manage or update/upgrade via TFTP, and swiftly see any changes, restore previous configurations, push updates, and even compare a list of devices side by side via a graphical point-and-click display!
TFTPD32 is a little less graphically beautiful than some of the fancier options, but it does what it needs to do – it offers a list of devices, file, peer, progress, etc. all in a singular display, with smaller sub-windows for each transfer.
It doesn't get much more basic than this without going totally to a console interface!
Another command-line based server that offers the usual array of abilities plus its own – extensive logging, specification of client/server ports and interfaces, port range configuration, thread pooling, and even can perform as a Unix daemon rather than solely as a Windows service! It's not too pretty to look at, but it does what it needs to do!
7. TFTP Desktop
This particular offering is meant for short-term use on smaller user-based networks more than anything larger.
None the less, if you have a small network environment, or are just doing some at-home updates and fiddling on your network then this may be the choice for you – it even uses a graphically driven interface to make things a little easier to manage than its command prompt counterparts.
8. haneWIN TFTP Server
Another service-based server which boasts the ability to run on even some of the older Windows hardware out there (9x/ME supported) as an application, even without users logged in.
The need for this particular functionality is likely small, but you never know when an old system or environment, or one that's setup to handle old legacy or proprietary applications, need some work done on them. It also handles the usual other array of TFTP functions of pushing updates, multi-threading, and so forth.
When it comes time to handle the updating of a wide range of device firmware there's no simpler solution than TFTP.
Similarly, it's just as powerful when needing to update hardware.
You could copy down each router/switch/hub/etc.'s configuration, or export them to a file, and then reconfigure each one or import the settings… but it'd be far faster to simply use a TFTP server to snatch all the configurations at once, swap the hardware out, then fire them back out just like that onto the new devices!
You could also login to a number of devices one by one to upgrade firmware or, again, use TFTP to send out all the firmware update files to the devices all at once!
There's not a lot of constant daily need for TFTP outside remote boot, but for large-scale or long-distance deployments or upgrades it can save a ton of time.
A solid visual interface that lets you see devices and quickly manipulate them, without having to remember or sort through DeviceIDs, is a thankful feature that many offer, and is something of a shortcoming for some of the more barebones console-based options.
We recommend Grabbing the Solarwinds TFTP Server as we've seen that its the MOST Popular – and FREE! Grab it below and have a go!