Bitvise SSH Client: Free SSH file transfer, terminal and tunneling


Our SSH client supports all desktop and server versions of Windows, 32-bit and 64-bit, from Windows XP SP3 and Windows Server 2003, up to the most recent – Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022.

Our client is free for use of all types, including in organizations. To begin, simply download it here.

Our SSH and SFTP client for Windows incorporates:

  • One of the most advanced graphical SFTP clients.

  • Single-click Remote Desktop forwarding.

  • State-of-the-art terminal emulation with support for the bvterm, xterm, and vt100 protocols.

  • Support for corporation-wide single sign-on using SSPI (GSSAPI) Kerberos 5 and NTLM user authentication, as well as Kerberos 5 host authentication.

  • Support for ECDSA, RSA and DSA public key authentication with comprehensive user keypair management.

  • Encryption and security: Provides state-of-the-art encryption and security suitable as part of a standards-compliant solution meeting the requirements of PCI, HIPAA, or FIPS 140-2 validation.

  • SSH jump proxy: Connect to a final destination SSH or SFTP server by connecting through an SSH jump server. In the graphical SSH Client, this is configured in Proxy settings, on the Login tab.

  • Obfuscated SSH with an optional keyword. When supported and enabled in both the client and server, obfuscation makes it more difficult for an observer to detect that the protocol being used is SSH. (Protocol; OpenSSH patches)

  • Powerful SSH port forwarding capabilities, including dynamic forwarding through integrated SOCKS and HTTP CONNECT proxy.

  • Powerful command-line parameters which make the SSH client highly customizable and suitable for use in specific situations and controlled environments.

  • SFTP drive mapping: Access files on an SFTP server as if they were local, from any Windows application.

  • An FTP-to-SFTP bridge allowing you to connect to an SFTP server using legacy FTP applications.

  • An advanced, scriptable command-line SFTP client, sftpc.

  • A scriptable command-line remote execution client, sexec, and a command-line terminal console client, stermc.

  • A scriptable command-line tunneling client, stnlc, with support for static port forwarding rules, dynamic SOCKS-based tunneling, and FTP-to-SFTP bridge.

  • Our .NET SSH library, FlowSshNet, with example PowerShell scripts showing how to use the SSH library for file transfer and remote program execution from PowerShell.

  • Bitvise SSH Server remote administration features.

Bitvise software does not contain ads, install product bundles or collect user data for sale. We are 100% supported by users who license our software. Thank you!

Graphical SFTP File Transfers

Bitvise SSH Client incorporates one of the most advanced SFTP file transfer clients, supporting:

  • automatic resuming, text file awareness, recursive subdirectory transfers;
  • powerful, advanced transfer list management;
  • verified-integrity resume with servers that support SFTP v6 check-file and check-file-blocks;
  • directory mirroring with servers that support SFTP v6 check-file and check-file-blocks;
  • high speed - in tens or hundreds of MB/s with Bitvise SSH Server, network and disk speed permitting;
  • fast responsiveness to user input even when in the middle of multiple file transfers.
  • SFTP drive - access files on an SFTP server as if they were local, from any Windows application.

Bitvise SSH Client also incorporates an advanced, scriptable command-line SFTP client.

Terminal Access - Remote Console

Bitvise SSH Client provides integrated access to the SSH server's console, either via VT-100 and xterm protocols supported by most SSH servers on any platform, or via the enhanced bvterm protocol supported by Bitvise SSH Server:

  • UTF support with VT-100 and xterm, full Unicode support with bvterm;
  • full color support with xterm and bvterm;
  • support for large screen buffers, all key combinations including Alt-keys and fully-accurate console rendering with bvterm;
  • terminal session recording.

Bitvise SSH Client also incorporates a command line terminal emulation client, stermc, as well as a command-line remote execution client (sexec).

Single sign-on

When using Bitvise SSH Client to connect to a GSSAPI-enabled SSH server in the same or a trusted Windows domain, you can let Kerberos 5 (or on older platforms, NTLM) perform the server as well as user authentication for you. No manual host key verification; no management of user passwords and public keys. Just tell the SSH client which server in the domain to connect to, and if that server is Bitvise SSH Server or another server with compatible support for GSSAPI, the two programs will authenticate and establish a secure connection automatically.

Port Forwarding

Bitvise SSH Client is a powerful SSH2 port forwarding client with many features, including:

  • Dynamic tunneling via integrated proxy supporting SOCKS4, SOCKS4A, SOCKS5 and HTTP CONNECT proxy tunneling protocols. Configure your applications to connect to target hosts through the SSH Client's proxy, and no manual tunneling rules need be configured.

    How to set up programs for dynamic tunneling: Firefox, IE; with these settings in Bitvise SSH Client.

  • Port forwarding settings can be saved to and loaded from a profile. One can maintain multiple complex tunneling configurations without having to manually enter parameters before each session.

  • Bitvise SSH Client minimizes its presence by displaying only a system tray icon when running in the background. If an error is encountered while the program is minimized, the icon reflects that.

  • Server-side forwarding: with Bitvise SSH Server and Client, a server and multiple clients can be set up so that all port forwarding rules are configured centrally at the server, without requiring any client-side setting updates. The SSH clients only need to be configured once, and port forwarding rules can easily be changed when necessary.

  • Command-line parameters are supported. Using command-line automation, a port forwarding session can be started from a link in the Startup menu without requiring any user interaction whatsoever. Help with the command-line parameters can be found in the SSH client log area when it is first started, or by executing 'BvSsh /?' from a command prompt.

  • After an SSH session is established, any external application can be launched automatically.

  • If an SSH session is interrupted, Bitvise SSH Client can automatically reconnect to the server.

Bitvise SSH Client also incorporates an advanced, scriptable command-line tunneling client.

Highly customizable

Run 'BvSsh -?' for a list of command-line parameters providing flexibility to:

  • make Bitvise SSH Client load a profile and connect immediately on startup and exit on disconnect using the -profile, -loginOnStartup and -exitOnLogout parameters;

  • make Bitvise SSH Client hide portions of its user interface (main window, authentication messages, access to SSH features) using the -hide and -menu parameters;

  • run Bitvise SSH Client from removable media and prevent it from making any changes to the Windows registry - and yet use public key authentication and verify host keys using the -noRegistry, -keypairFile and -hostKeyFile parameters;

and more.

Additionally, when the graphical Bitvise SSH Client is running, you can use the command line utility BvSshCtrl to programmatically cause the client to log in, log out, or exit. Run 'BvSshCtrl' for help.

Portable use of Bitvise SSH Client

Bitvise SSH Client (Tunnelier) supports command-line parameters that control how it uses the Windows registry (the -noRegistry and -baseRegistry parameters). This can be used when control over registry usage is required.

The latest versions of our SSH Client additionally support storing host key information and client authentication keypairs in an SSH Client profile. This means that you can copy the contents of the SSH Client installation directory to a USB key, insert the USB key into another computer, and run the graphical SSH Client as follows:

BvSsh -noRegistry -profile=U:\Profile.bscp

This will tell the Client to not use the Windows registry, and to connect exclusively using the host and keypair information you have saved into Profile.bscp.

For more information about the supported command line parameters, run the graphical SSH Client as follows:

BvSsh -?

Bitvise SSH Client further includes command line clients – sftpc, sexec, stermc, and stnlc – which also support the -noRegistry and -profile parameters. These command line clients are frequently used unattended, but can also be used interactively. For more information, check Using Bitvise SSH Client Unattended.

Command-Line SFTP Client

Bitvise SSH Client incorporates sftpc, an advanced command-line SFTP client which supports:

  • queued background transfers so you can continue browsing directories while a file downloads ('get * -bg');
  • powerful command-line parameters for automated scripted transfers launched from a batch file or an external program;
  • verified-integrity resume with servers that support SFTP v6 check-file and check-file-blocks;
  • automatic text file conversion when transferring files between platforms (the 'type' command);
  • wildcards - the * and ? wildcard characters can match more than one file;
  • recursive transfers - a simple 'get * -s' downloads all files and subdirectories;
  • resume support - 'get file.txt -r' resumes a previously downloaded file if it already exists;
  • high speed - in the tens of MB/s with Bitvise SSH Server, network and disk speed permitting.

Additional information:

  • Usage: after installing Bitvise SSH Client, get this help by executing "sftpc -?"

  • Command list: after installing Bitvise SSH Client, get this help by connecting to a server using sftpc, then execute "help" and "help <command>"

  • The "log" utility can be used with sftpc to store the output of each individual SFTP session in a separate, uniquely named log file for auditing.

  • The "retry" utility can be used with sftpc to automatically repeat transfer attempts after specific types of failures.

Command-Line Remote Execution Client

Bitvise SSH Client incorporates sexec, a scriptable command-line remote execution client which can be used to securely execute programs on remote machines from a batch file. The batch file can perform actions based on the exit code reported from the remote program, and can capture the remote program's output for processing by simple redirection of sexec output.

Another command-line program included with Bitvise SSH Client, stermc, conveniently opens an SSH terminal emulation session with xterm, VT-100 and bvterm support in the same Command Prompt window it is started from. If you SSH from computer A to computer B running Bitvise SSH Server, and you also have Bitvise SSH Client installed on computer B, you can use stermc to conveniently establish an onward SSH terminal session to computer C.

All Bitvise command-line clients support all authentication methods supported by Bitvise SSH Client, can load settings from a profile configured in the graphical client, work with the same user keypair and host key database as the graphical client, can connect through a SOCKS or HTTP CONNECT proxy, and support a common set of command-line parameters controlling most aspects of establishing an SSH connection.

Command-Line Tunneling Client

Bitvise SSH Client incorporates stnlc, a scriptable command line port forwarding client with support for static port forwarding rules, dynamic SOCKS-based tunneling, FTP-to-SFTP bridge, and SFTP drive mapping.

For more information about using this client, run 'stnlc -h'.

FTP-to-SFTP Bridge

Bitvise SSH Client incorporates an FTP-to-SFTP bridge which performs translation between the FTP and SFTP protocols, allowing any FTP client application to connect securely to an SFTP server through Bitvise SSH Client. Both active mode and passive mode FTP data connections are supported, as well as restarted transfers, directory listings and other features. All FTP clients should be able to list directories and transfer files across Bitvise SSH Client's FTP-to-SFTP bridge, including integrated clients in applications such as DreamWeaver, GUI clients such as BulletProof FTP, and command line clients such as the default ftp.exe client accompanying Windows. If an FTP client you use fails to work with Bitvise SSH Client's FTP-to-SFTP bridge, let us know.

See Accessing an SFTP Server with an FTP Client for more information about the FTP bridge.

Using with Bitvise SSH Server

When connected to Bitvise SSH Server, our client can do all of the above, as well as the following:

  • bvterm console: When connected to Bitvise SSH Server, our client provides you with the best console available on the Windows platform. Our bvterm protocol supports the full spectrum of a Windows console's features: colors, Unicode characters, all-key access and large scrollable buffers.

  • Remote server configuration: Using Bitvise SSH Client, all SSH Server settings can be configured remotely without having to use Remote Desktop.

Windows version compatibility

Bitvise SSH Client supports the following Windows versions:

  • Windows Server 2022
  • Windows 11
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Vista SP1 or SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP SP3

A recent Bitvise SSH Client version should be used on all platforms. The SSH Client is security-sensitive software that communicates across a network. Using a recent version is the only way to receive updates. Therefore, we do not recommend indefinite use of older versions.

Encryption and security features


  • Key exchange algorithms:

    • Curve25519
    • ECDH over elliptic curves secp256k1, nistp256, nistp384, nistp521 using SHA-512, SHA-384, or SHA-256
    • Diffie Hellman with group exchange using SHA-256
    • Diffie Hellman with fixed 4096, 3072, or 2048-bit group parameters using SHA-512 or SHA-256
    • Diffie Hellman with 1024-bit group parameters or using SHA-1 (legacy)
    • GSSAPI key exchange using Diffie Hellman and Kerberos authentication
  • Signature algorithms:

    • Ed25519
    • ECDSA over elliptic curves secp256k1, nistp256, nistp384, nistp521 using SHA-512, SHA-384, or SHA-256
    • RSA using 4096, 3072, or 2048-bit key sizes with SHA-512 or SHA-256
    • RSA using 1024-bit keys or with SHA-1 (legacy)
    • DSA using SHA-1 (legacy)
  • Encryption algorithms:

    • ChaCha20 with 512-bit keys with Poly1305
    • AES with 256, 128-bit keys in GCM mode
    • AES with 256, 192, 128-bit keys in CTR mode
    • AES with 256, 192, 128-bit keys in CBC mode (legacy)
    • 3DES in CTR or CBC mode (legacy)
  • Data integrity protection:

    • ChaCha20 with 512-bit keys with Poly1305
    • AES with 256, 128-bit keys in GCM mode
    • HMAC using SHA-256 or SHA-512, in encrypt-then-MAC mode
    • HMAC using SHA-256 or SHA-512 (classic)
    • HMAC using SHA-1 (legacy)
  • Server authentication:

    • Client verifies server identity using server host key fingerprint or public key
    • Automatic synchronization of new host keys to client supported
  • Client authentication:

    • Password authentication
    • Password change during password authentication
    • Public key authentication
    • Kerberos single sign-on using GSSAPI
    • Two-factor authentication with a time-based one-time password

FIPS 140-2 validation

When FIPS is enabled in Windows, our software uses Windows built-in cryptography, validated by NIST to FIPS 140-2 under certificates #2937, #2606, #2357, and #1892. On Windows XP and 2003, our software uses the Crypto++ 5.3.0 FIPS DLL, originally validated by NIST under certificate #819 (historical). When FIPS mode is not enabled, additional non-FIPS algorithms are supported.

Cryptographic implementations and availability

Current Bitvise software versions (9.12 and higher) use the following cryptographic implementations for different algorithms, on different versions of Windows:

Windows XP,
Server 2003
Windows Vista to 8.1,
Server 2008 to 2012 R2
Windows 10, 11,
Server 2016 to 2022
RSA Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
Ed25519 n/a DJB DJB
ECDSA (NIST curves) Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
ECDSA/secp256k1 Crypto++ 5.3 OpenSSL Windows CNG
1024-bit DSA Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
Non-standard DSA Crypto++ 5.3 Crypto++ 5.6 Crypto++ 5.6
Key exchange
Classic DH Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
Curve25519 n/a DJB DJB
ECDH (NIST curves) Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
ECDH/secp256k1 Crypto++ 5.3 OpenSSL Windows CNG
AES Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
ChaCha20 n/a OpenSSL OpenSSL
3DES Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
GCM n/a Windows CNG Windows CNG
Poly1305 n/a OpenSSL OpenSSL
HMAC-SHA2 Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG
HMAC-SHA1 Crypto++ 5.3 Windows CNG Windows CNG

This product includes software developed by the OpenSSL Project for use in the OpenSSL Toolkit. (

This product includes cryptographic software written by Eric Young (