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Whenever a client wants an FTP storage solution, my instinct it to direct them to S3 instead, as a secure and cost-effective alternative. Is there any good reason NOT to use S3 instead of FTP/SFTP in any situation where you're setting someone up from scratch?

EDIT: To clarify: Is there any capability of FTP/SFTP (Outside of setting it up on your own server) that would constitute a compelling reason to go with an FTP/SFTP solution over an S3 solution?

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FTP is a protocol and there are others you can use instead. FTP is not secure at all and should only be used for publicly shared files and never private data.

I have gradually stopped using Amazon S3 in favour of Rackspace Cloud Files, which is cheaper and the support is massively better.

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I'm not sure, from the way you've phrased the question, that there's an answer which would convince you to stick with FTP...

That said, if you had asked this a couple years ago I would have said a lack of quality clients relative to those for SFTP might have given me pause.

SFTP is about as secure as HTTPS, so I'm not sure security is a deciding factor.

Some corporations are paranoid about keeping their data on servers under their control; but you seem to be asking about setting up storage from scratch, so perhaps that is not a consideration.

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I'd say the more relevant FTP clients these days usually have support for S3, so yeah the client question is no longer a deciding issue... – Yarin Jul 12 '11 at 2:29
In most ways that matter, SFTP is more secure than HTTPS. Keep in mind that SFTP is an entirely different protocol and not related to FTP in any way. FTPS is a FTP over SSL. SFTP is the SSH filesystem. – Tom Marthenal Sep 10 '12 at 10:10

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