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Best Free FTP Client

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1 Best Free FTP Client on Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:12 am


Dating back to at least April 1971 the File Transfer Protocol isone ofthe oldest protocols supporting the internet and is more commonthanmany people know.

FTP clients are programs that reside on a PC andenable fast bulk file transfers between the PC and a server.

Theyconnectusing File Transfer Protocol via different ports. They are veryusefulwhen you need to download or transfer more than a few files andare anessential tool for website management. You could transfer filesone at atime and you could of course do it all freehand via the ftpprotocol ina command window - but one of these programs will beat thatany whichway. No contest!


FireFTPIfyou use firefox, or if you needed one more reason to considerswitching,my top pick is FireFTP. After the latest round of upgradesit nowsupport SFTP, compression, and while somewhat hidden even FXP(server toserver transfer).

Other advanced features includedirectorycomparison, syncing directories while navigating, SSLencryption,search/filtering, integrity checks, remote editing, drag& drop,file hashing, and more. With this robust feature set, itsease of use,and browser integration FireFTP should now serve the needsof all butthe heaviest power user needs and is quickly becoming one ofmyfavorite FTP clients.

If you use a browser other thanFirefox or require advancedfunctionality not found in FireFTP then oneof these great standaloneapplications should meet your needs.


Cyberduck.For MacOS users a reader has suggested Cyberduck. Cyberduck is anopensource FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and Amazon S3 browser licenced under theGPLwith an easy to use interface, integration with external editorsandsupport for many Mac OS X system technologies such asSpotlight,Bonjour, QuickLook and the Keychain. I have not been able totest itbut welcome any feedback and encourage alternative suggestionsif youfind them.


FileZilla. It is the darling of the OSS crowd and certainly does the job. Some users report that WS_FTP Pro(thecommercial program) has lately become far too bloated, and insteadtheyhave turned to one of the capable and lightweight freewareapplications.

FileZilla seems tobe their favourite. It is a very credible alternativeto WS_FTP and hasmost of the features; it's lightweight in comparisonbut in my bookthat is often better. It uses a simple layout based on atwo-paneinterface that looks a bit like the early versions of WS_FTP.

Butthissimplicity is deceptive, it is actually quite a powerfulproduct.There's a full-featured site manager, firewall and proxysupport, SFTP,SSL and Kerberos GSS security, restart, drag 'n drop anda lot more.The only significant feature that's missing is site-to-sitetransfer,but that's probably of no importance to most users. What isofimportance is that FileZilla is totally reliable and very easy touse.The new V3 of FileZilla adds support for Linux, Mac OS X andFreeBSD.

There's also a free FileZilla FTP server which Ihaven't used but Ihear that it's just as good as the client.There isnow a 3PD (3rd-partydeveloper) portable version of FileZillathathas various uses, including being able to place it on a flashdrive andtake it with you for a no-install (anonymous) use on any PC.


Tunnelierisreported by a contributor as a much better proposition thanFileZillafor SFTP. It's a fast SSH client with a basic FTP clientstrapped on.The main reason for using it is that over SFTP it's manytimes quickerthan FileZilla, which is vital when you are sending 200mbvideo files.


WinSCPwillsuit if you want a SCP (secure copy) client for Windows that usesSSHand offers a rich feature set. It includes a built-in terminal, itcanlaunch Putty directly, allows remote file editing, direct transferandtransfer queuing, and has the ability to limit download speed rates.


CoreFTP LEismy tip because it worked for me when others didn't. This is theLiteversion of the commercial product; it has an annoying nag screenonstart-up, though, that might put you off. CoreFTP could be the oneforyou if you need to log on to a site that gives problems, and italsohas a massive feature set. Its strength is probably the ease of useforsuch a powerful app.

CoreFTP has four particular strengths:
1. It has the best tricky-site access ability of any FTP client I've used.
2. It has an excellent GUI that makes it outstandingly easy to use.
3. It has a massive feature set that somehow doesn't slow it down.
4. It has good on-screen real-time logging, which not all clients have.

There are sites - especially those with extra security, where ittakesabout 8 seconds to connect - that cause some FTP clientsinsurmountableproblems; CoreFTP will get you in. I couldn't log on toone site at allwith WS_FTP and some of the others, but this one didthe trick. The neaton-screen log display also lets you know what'shappening if you haveproblems.
You can force-view invisible files,like htaccess. Thechmod feature is useful, you can set your directoryand file permissionswith a very clear interface; ditto the clear andfast site manager.There's a nice one-click reconnect to the last sitein use.

Navigatingto different drives is tricky, though, in Core - soif you have a stackof hard drives that you work from, you should keepthis in mind -FileZilla is better here.

Here is a feature list:HIPAA compliance, SFTP/ SSH, SSL/ TLS, FTP/HTTP/ SOCKS proxy, IDN, drag'n drop, site manager, session manager,queue manager, custom screens,bandwidthcontrol, caching,auto-transfer, retry/resume, auto-reconnectoptions, auto S/key, remotefile-searching,advanced directory listings, start/stop/resume oftransfers, fullrecursive chmod, browser integration, site to sitetransfers, fileviewing and editing, firewall support, custom commands,FTP URL parsing,command line transfers, filters. This should be enoughfor most people.If not, upgrade to the $25 Pro version that that hascustom sounds,two-way encryption, ping and traceroute, and more.

Core also doa useful-looking Micro FTP Server which can beinstalled on PCs and usedfor PC-to-PC transfers. I'm looking forwardto trialling this. Contributors valuable contributions to this category have been made by: Tom Styles, Irene, Michael Gaul.


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