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Is it possible to login via ftp to my dedicated server using a private/public key pair? i.e without using a password?

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Yes, using scp it is possible. – Sathya Sep 9 '11 at 18:17
up vote 5 down vote accepted

FTP can use SSL, which supports client authentication using X.509 certificates. However, while many FTP servers support FTPS, I don't know of any which support client certificates. (In addition, client authentication is complicated in SSL – in many cases, you would have to create and maintain your own certificate authority and stuff. Not many clients support this kind of authentication, either.)

Much easier is to use SFTP, the SSH file transfer protocol. It uses exactly the same keys as "normal" SSH would. On Windows, WinSCP and FileZilla support SFTP.

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thank you, I know about SFTP. the problem is that is way more slower than normal ftp.. – develroot Sep 9 '11 at 18:42
is there any command line based version of winscp or filezilla is availble ? – Mandar Pande Oct 25 '12 at 13:17
Yes, and it's called winscp. For SFTP, you can use psftp from PuTTY. – grawity Oct 25 '12 at 15:33

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