WinSCP – Download and Installation Guide
WinSCP (Windows Secure Copy) is an open-source file-transfer application that
leverages Secure Copy Protocol, File Transfer Protocol, and Secure Shell File
Transfer Protocol. It primarily serves as a secure file transfer program
between a local and remote machine. WinSCP is only a Windows-only program and does not
support another operating system like macOS.
It supports several features that come with the Windows OS such as dragging and dropping
files. The applications are written in C++, and its first release was in 2000. It is one
of the best SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and
Secure copy (SCP) client for Microsoft Windows.
Moreover, the application’s primary function is that it provides a file manager and file
synchronization. Apart from working as a file transfer application, programmers can also
use WinSCP as a remote editor. When a user launches a file on a remote file manager, it
will copy it to the local computer and open in the editor. More so, upon saving the
document, the remote file is automatically updated.
WinSCP leverages cryptography in SSH to secure login information. The primary benefit of
the program is that it protects the connection against malicious attacks such as
Users can download the free award-winning application from the official website. Below
are steps to install WinSCP on windows operating system.
- After downloading the software, open the “installation package” and save the file to
- To launch, double-click on the downloaded installer.
- Click on ‘Next’ in the resultant WinSCP setup wizard window.
- Next, users have to accept the license agreement and click on ‘Next.’
- In case of supporting third-party applications, the setup wizard might prompt
additional license agreements. Agree and click on Next. Note: Users are not required
to install third party applications as WinSCP runs independently without integrating
- Next, users will have two installing options – Typical or Custom. Generally, it is
best to select ‘Typical’ and click on ‘Next.’
- In the resultant window, users have to choose between two interface styles –
‘Commander’ or ‘Explorer.’ Once again, it is best to select the custom option, i.e.,
Commander interface layout.
- Next, click on ‘Continue’ and WinSCP will install on the computer.
In case one wants to uninstall WinSCP, the user has to open the Control Panel. Once done
follow the path – Programs > Uninstall a program.
For Windows 10, navigate to following path Settings > System > App and Features.
Uninstall the WinSCP the program.
Upon installation of WinSCP, a login window will open automatically. In the resultant
window, the user has to add various information of the port they want to connect to such
as file protocol, port number, hostname, etc.
It will prompt a form that users have to fill in the following manner.
- File Protocol – the user has to select Secure File Transfer
Protocol (SFTP) from the options in the drop-down.
- Host Name – The information is available in the bottom-left part of
the cPanel. It provides information such as Server Hostnames, IP Address, and Name
- Port Number – Type in ‘18765’
- Username and Password – users are required to add their cPanel
username and password.
- Once done, click on Login to connect to the account.
- It will prompt a window, Click ‘Yes’ to proceed and not view this
- Voila! Users are connected to the account using WinSCP. The right
side panel will display files on the account, while the left side will have all
files and folders stored in the local computer.
Integrating PuTTY to WinSCP
A PuTTY is a great tool when one wants to connect to Linux shell command line. Users can
also choose PuTTY’s alternative Kitty also offers same and more functions than PuTTY.
Once the user has WinSCP installed and connected to Linux server via SSH, they can
follow below steps to integrate PuTTY into WinSCP.
1. First and foremost, download PuTTY from
2. Put the files in the following location to avoid modifying the command line
3. Without logging into WinSCP, click and Tools > Preferences.
4. Next, click on the option ‘Integration and then ‘Applications in the left column.’
5. Now, open the PuTTY/Terminal client path and add the following command
- %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\WinSCP\PuTTY\putty.exe -t -m "%TEMP%\putty.txt" !`cmd.exe /c echo cd "!/" ; /bin/bash -login > "%TEMP%\putty.txt"
6. Next, choose the option ‘Remember session password and pass it to the PuTTY option.’
This option will save time for users as they won’t need to reenter the password again.
7. Click on ‘OK’ and Voila! It’s done.
While one can integrate PuTTY to WinSCP, users can also WinSCP as PuTTY
session manager; in fact, it has added advantages. Users can use WinSCP to open the site
in PuTTY from its Login dialog easily.
From the WinSCP window, navigate to the following path Use Manage > Open in PuTTY
Advantage of Leveraging WinSCP to Launch Session in PuTTY
- Users can choose to color multiple sites on the list.
- One has the advantage to organize files in the folder.
- It offers a single list of all sites share between Secure File Transfer Protocol and
SSH terminal client.
- The incremental search feature allows the user to search for a file by just typing
part of the file or folder name.
- Users can choose to rename or clone files.
PuTTYgen With WinSCP
PuTTYgen is a component of the world’s most sought-out SSH client PuTTY. It comes as part
of the WinSCP installation package, and users can even choose to download from here.
In simple words, PuTTYgen is a crucial generator tool that generates both private and
public keys. It supports several network protocols such as SFTP, Serial, SSH, SCP,
To use PuTTYgen, go to ‘Tools’ in WinSCP and then select PuTTYgen on login dialog.
WinSCP Alternative for macOS
WinSCP for mac is not available. However, there are several alternatives that users can
choose that similar offer functions as WinSCP.
The most south-out alternatives include FileZilla, Transmit, Cyberduck and Forklift.
FileZilla -best WinSCP
alternatives for macOS
FileZilla is one of the best WinSCP alternatives for macOS and a robust FTP-client. The
application packs a number of features and is compatible with Mac and Windows operating
system. The open-source application also supports proxy connections, Kerberos GSS
security, and firewalls.
ForkLift – Mac-only WinSCP
A ForkLift is a Mac-only application. It is one of the best file managers for the Mac
that connects to SFTP servers, and even manage mobile devices on Bluetooth. More so, the
dual-pane offers users more flexibility and increases productivity.
Cyberduck – an open source
WinSCP for mac
Cyberduck is another open-source WinSCP alternative for Mac that also is compatible with
Windows. The user-friendly software interface makes it very easy to use the program.
Among its main features is the bookmark manager.
Transmit – FTP app for mac
Transmit is commercial Mac-only software that is one of the best file transfer
applications. The robust program makes it very easy to manage multiple files. The app
has added advantages that it connects to cloud services that many of its competitors
don’t connect, while also maintaining the standard FTP and SFTP. Among the popular cloud
services that it connects include Microsoft Azure, Dropbox and Google Drive.
Features of WinSCP
WinSCP is the most south-out file transfer application for Windows operating system. Its
website claims that it is downloaded more than 121 million times. The software is packed
with numerous features, hence, making it the most preferred application to transfer
files between host and remote computers.
Among its top features include – a friendly graphical user interface, Scripting and task
automation, integrated text editor and support for multiple languages. More so, it
allows users to choose from various user interfaces. It has other features such as file
encryption, master password, transfer resuming and the transfer queue.
Downside of WinSCP
WinSCP is one of the most popular SFTP client, but it does not have inbuilt support for
terminal emulation. However, programmers can use it with a famed free serial console and
terminal emulator – PuTTY. Its other disadvantages are that it does not allows keyboard
shortcut mapping. It also does not support toggle between two interfaces.
The above is a brief on one of the most used Windows file
transfer application. One can use WinSCP or choose any of its alternatives for
secure file transfer.