SCP, by default, operates via port 22 much like SFTP and similar transfer protocols.
Also much like SFTP, SCP runs on SSH and provides a simple and straightforward way, while still keeping security needs in mind, for transferring files from a host to client.
As the name implies, Secure Copy Protocol, SCP is straightforward in its purpose and design.
Here is our list of the four best free SCP servers for Windows:
- SolarWinds Free SFTP/SCP Server – EDITOR’S CHOICE This lightweight utility provides a graphical user interface that stores connection data for frequent connections. The service also includes TFTP and SFTP options and it is useful for managing the distribution of device configuration images. Runs on Windows. Download this tool for free.
- BitVise This SSH server isn’t completely free to use – just a 30-day free trial – but the corresponding SSH Client is free forever and both provide SCP and SFTP among other file management options.
- FreeSSHd This SSH server is a little dated and it actually offers SFTP rather than SCP. However, it is free to use and it provides a secure file management server. Runs on Windows.
- OpenSSH This long-running free SSH server is still being frequently updated and it provides a free SFTP and SCP service. Written for Unix, but it also runs on Linux and macOS. A Cygwin version will run on Windows.
Users often claim that it is faster than SFTP/FTP, transfers files from point A to point B, and does so securely.
In fact, in a broad sense, SCP and SFTP/FTP are by and large the same thing, and even operate similarly over SSH, but each still has its own particular nuances.
Almost any server that offers SCP functionality will often offer SFTP/FTP as well, and even then it will often offer them in parity, providing the best of both worlds!
Most notably SCP is just plain faster than setting up an FTP server or indeed an SFTP server.
On the flip side, SCP lacks some of the more robust features that SFTP/FTP support for transferring files.
This can ultimately result in a bit more legwork required in regards to directory management or worse, resuming broken transfers since SCP will leave you wanting in that regard.
In most other ways the protocols are all pretty much even with regard to functionality.
For tons of files, or complex directory configurations, SCP can really falter.
Nonetheless, SCP perfectly fills a specific niche for quick and easy file transfers when there's still just a bit of need for security and something like TFTP just doesn't quite cut it!
Here's the Best SCP Servers for Secure Copy Protocol Transfer of 2023:
Below you'll find a list of SCP server software that will help you setup a secure copy server on Windows 7, 8.1, 2008 Server, 2012 Server and more!
Some of these are paid versions and others are free.
What should you look for in a free SCP server for Windows?
We reviewed the market for SCP servers for Windows and analyzed options based on the following criteria:
- Transmission security provided by Secure Shell (SSH)
- A GUI interface and a command line option
- Additional SFTP file transfer option
- Session settings storage with a password locker
- Remote directory listing
- A tool that is free forever and not just a temporary free trial
- A useful secure file transfer service that can be used on demand or called as part of a task automation script
With these selection criteria in mind, we identified a shortlist of useful, secure file transfer utilities for Windows that provide a number of protocol options including SCP.
We've used the first one, Solarwinds SCP Server with good success and have put it at the top of the list as the top choice.
1. SolarWinds Free SCP Server – FREE TOOL
SolarWinds' SCP server also supports TFTP and SFTP, which is quite common of servers of these types.
It does have the distinct advantage of being part of the overall SolarWinds suite, meaning a lot of built-in functionality and compatibility exists – but it also stands perfectly on its own as a fully function and and completely free server for your needs!
- Can support large volumes of file transfers
- Free to use
- Has an advanced user interface, helpful for managing multiple file transfer locations or partners
- Can automatically sync files, helping keep both parties updated
- Built for business use, EDI, backups, etc
- Not designed for home users, features are designed for larger enterprise companies
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Editors' Choice Award – Download 100% Free
Almost all of these programs serve several server purposes – in this case, Bitvise is a generalized SSH server which facilitates all manner of SCP, SFTP, and more, while also offering a handy GUI, remote access via console, and even some port forwarding capability.
- Does not collect data from its users, and relies solely on purchases for monetization
- User interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Supports easy import/export of settings and configurations allowing you to customize new installs quickly
- Requires a purchase beyond the evaluation version
Another generalized SSH server solution boasting all the expected SSH features – strong encryption and security, authentication even over internet/WAN, and more.
Configuring SCP through FreeSSHd is quite easy and well documented, and it also includes the usual SFTP, FTP, and FTPS protocol support for a wider range of functionality and compatibility.
- Completely free for both WIndows and Unix
- Extremely lightweight, uses very little resources
- Allows simple ways to start and stop the service
- Doesn’t support advanced link sharing features or multiple protocol support
OpenSSH is a freely available SSH server tool that boasts a particularly wide range of modularity and expandability for tunneling purposes.
OpenSSH is even built into a number of fairly large commercial projects due to being so perfectly simple and robust at the same time. Both client and server offerings are available, making for a nice all-in-one package.
- Very lightweight application uses little system resources
- Offers full SSH functionality alongside SCP
- Good for those who prefer syntax to interfaces
- Not as user-friendly as other options, and requires PowerShell knowledge
- Not fully developed, still in test release
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