SFTP server with Python and Paramiko in under a minute

by Ruslan Spivak on December 12, 2011

I needed a simple server that could be used as a stub for testing Python SFTP clients so I whipped out one over the weekend.
It’s a simple single-threaded server so it’s not for production use but give it a try anyways, you might find it useful too.


$ [sudo] pip install sftpserver

Running the server:

    $ sftpserver
    Usage: sftpserver [options]
    -k/--keyfile should be specified

      -h, --help            show this help message and exit
      --host=HOST           listen on HOST [default: localhost]
      -p PORT, --port=PORT  listen on PORT [default: 3373]
      -l LEVEL, --level=LEVEL
                            Debug level: WARNING, INFO, DEBUG [default: INFO]
      -k FILE, --keyfile=FILE
                            Path to private key, for example /tmp/test_rsa.key

    $ sftpserver -k /tmp/test_rsa.key -l DEBUG

Connecting with a Python client to our server:

>>> import paramiko
>>> pkey = paramiko.RSAKey.from_private_key_file('/tmp/test_rsa.key')
>>> transport = paramiko.Transport(('localhost', 3373))
>>> transport.connect(username='admin', password='admin', pkey=pkey)
>>> sftp = paramiko.SFTPClient.from_transport(transport)
>>> sftp.listdir('.')
['loop.py', 'stub_sftp.py']

The server code itself is pretty minimal, check it out on GitHub.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrei Savu December 12, 2011 at 2:16 AM

Nice work! How about making it use PyFilesystem? It could be useful for testing to be able to use an in-memory filesystem.

[1] http://code.google.com/p/pyfilesystem/


Ruslan Spivak December 12, 2011 at 8:03 AM

Hi Andrei,

Thanks for pointing out PyFilesystem. I’ll look into it.


Will Mcgugan December 13, 2011 at 7:22 AM

The ‘fsserve’ command in PyFilesystem can serve a directory over sftp.

For example, to serve the current working directory:

$ sudo fsserve -t sftp

And this to get a directory listing:

$ fsls sftp://

You might want to join the PyFilesystem mailing list!


Ruslan Spivak December 13, 2011 at 8:11 AM

I didn’t know that, really neat! Thanks for the information, Will.


horizon September 1, 2013 at 2:51 AM

why not use paramiko common class ,such as from sftp_server import SFTPServer


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