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Many businesses still thrive on sending and uploading files for various purposes. This requires a safe and secure way to protect the data over the network. The most commonly used network protocol is FTP. It is used way more than other network protocols.
The FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, helps securely communicate and transfer files between different computers using the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) network.
Transmitting and receiving files over an FTP server requires user access. If you are working as a website developer, you can efficiently make changes to the FTP of a website. FTP allows developers to handle several files at once, ensuring security.
How to Choose the best FTP Client to Use
The tools you employ while administering a website are almost as crucial as the website itself. The simplicity with which you may create the website you want, administer and modify it over time, boost traffic and speed up pages, and maintain strict security measures depends on your software. Cutting shortcuts while shopping for software may save you time and money today, but when it comes time to update them, you’re far more likely to have issues.
The phrase “FTP clients” refers to the programs that carry out this function. When you can’t access the default admin panel, finding the finest FTP tool or client is crucial to managing your website from your PC.
In addition, many FTP programs let you connect to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive, modify files on a server without having to download them and keep track of your file upload and download history.
FTP clients are widely accessible, with both free and commercial options. The best FTP client will be determined by your individual requirements and operating system (OS). So let’s examine the top seven choices, organized by compatibility with your OS.
What is an FTP Client?
FTP is an internet protocol that helps you transfer files across the network. Assume you are working on your website with WordPress; you will need FTP to upload all WordPress files from your local system to the server.
To make this happen, you need an FTP client, which is software that runs on your system and allows you to send files to the web server and vice-versa. Many WordPress web hosting service providers allow users to make the transfer, and for that, they require an FTP client.
How does an FTP Client Work?
For a successful FTP connection, we require two parties. One party to send the file, i.e., the sender, and the other receives the file on the network, i.e., the receiver. The user should have permission to connect to the FTP server with proper credentials.
Some public FTP servers do not require you to have authorized credentials to make the data transfer or access the available files. These are called anonymous FTP servers. A typical FTP process is in the following way:
- The FTP server will run the FTP server software to listen for connection requests from other systems within the network.
- Another system is the FTP client which will run the FTP client software and connect to the server.
- Once the connection is successful, a user can perform various file-related operations like transferring, editing, etc. on the server. Every system comes with an FTP protocol that allows any system to connect to a TCP/IP network for transmitting files to another system on the network.
- You do not need to rely on the underlying OS for transferring files using the FTP client software.
Whenever you are creating an FTP connection, you will require 2 different communication channels. One of the channels allows you to start the instruction and response. The other channel is the data channel, which enables you to distribute the data.
For transferring a file, only an authorized user can use the standardized protocol and make changes on the server. Then the server will provide you with access to make the required changes. This kind of session is called “active connection mode.”
You might get firewall issues while working in active mode, as the firewall will prevent any unauthorized access. To avoid the firewall issue, you can use the passive mode, where the user will handle both the command and the data channel.
FTP Client Features to Consider
There are several features offered by an FTP client. While seeking the best FTP client for your requirements, you need to consider the following features:
- Before getting FTP client software, check if it will work on the underlying operating system of your system/s.
- Check if your operating system supports the preferred FTP client‘s version.
- Check what functionalities are being offered by your FTP client, like drag and drop, bookmarking, and search tool features.
- Check if the FTP client will be able to connect with your designated servers or third-party servers.
- Ensure that the FTP client supports the necessary protocols, like SSL and SSH, for faster file transfer.
- Look to see if the FTP client’s dashboard displays the side-by-side directory comparison.
- Make sure your preferred FTP client will allow you to transfer large files.
- Ensure the FTP client uses safe and secure file transfer modes and mechanisms.
- You should look for an intuitive user interface that helps you to keep track of your files and transfer status on the server.
- Various software offers various features that may be unique in some way and are dedicated to a particular operating system.
- One of the critical features that should be included is the extra security layer to ensure safe file transfer.
7 Best FTP Clients for Windows 10 as well as MacOs
So now that you know what an FTP client is, how it works, and what to look for while choosing one, here are our 7 best FTP client recommendations:
- Free FTP
- WS_FTP Professional
Let’s discuss each of them in detail.
1. FileZilla (Windows, macOS, and Linux)
The FTP client is available for free and is able to understand the inner workings of your complete local system on which it will be installed. Though it has an outdated user interface, it provides an extensive toolset and comes with support for bandwidth, controls, and authentication, along with active and passive modes.
FileZilla also provides tools for remote file searching, bookmarking, and setting locations. It allows you to log in using a username, host, and password. You can add files to the queue with drag-and-drop functionality too. The FTP client displays the file transfer status as well as any errors that occurred during the transfer.
- open-source software.
- compatible with all operating systems, as it does not matter on which machine you are installing this software.
- It has a broad, active community providing regular updates.
- It comes with comfortable documentation support and development help.
- It supports various protocols like SFTP, FTPS, and FTP.
- You can edit remote files without logging in to your host account.
- It has a directory comparison module along with a drag-drop functionality.
2. Cyberduck (Windows and macOS)
This FTP client software is simple but highly useful for occasionally transferring files. Cyberduck ensures quick file transfer and comes for both Windows and MacOS. Unfortunately, it does not have support for Linux.
You can get this FTP client from the Cyberduck website, the Microsoft Store, or the App Store. This software is open-source but comes with various donation prompts. You can also get the registration key after you make a donation of $10 to the developers.
Unlike FileZilla, Cyberduck comes with an advanced user interface and allows you to link it with third-party storage locations. It ensures extra security with its cryptomator feature.
- Use Cyberduck with the cloud and share files with easily accessible web URLs.
- It comes with support for protocols like FTP and SFTP.
- It allows you to use an external file editor to modify your documents.
- It uses a URL generator for easy sharing of files.
- It comes with features like bookmarking, logging history, importing files, a quick look feature, and a drag-and-drop module.
- It provides a keychain password protector and auto-discovery platform.
3. ForkLift (macOS)
ForkLift only works for macOS-powered machines. It transfers the files with dual planes and multiple file location comparisons. It allows remote connections to Amazon S3 Storage and Google Drive.
You can connect to multiple servers simultaneously with ForkLift and transfer more than one file at a time. This software comes with a free trial but needs a $29.95 payment per license for a single user to get started.
The forkLift has different payment plans as per your requirements. It has a file manager that will connect the remote server to the local system.
Features of ForkLift
- It provides a side-by-side comparison window.
- A premium product that comes with various offers.
- It allows you to sync all your favorites using Dropbox.
- It provides you with a dual-pane interface that will split the file location into different windows and allow you to drag and drop the file.
- You get many remote connections, like WebDAV, Amazon S3, and Google Drive.
- It supports protocols like SFTP and FTP.
- You can select multiple files and rename them using the multi-rename tool.
- It lets you change the interface to the dark mode, ensuring less strain on your eyes.
- You can choose your preferred editor and edit files externally.
4. Transmit (macOS)
Another FTP software exclusively available for macOS users is Transmit. It provides unique features, much different from ForkLift. Transmit has an advanced interface, allowing you to manage and link various files to various servers simultaneously.
Transmit enables you to upload, manage, and download all the files with a connection to Google Drive, DropBox, and others. You can get a taste of this FTP client via its free trial offer.
You need to spare $45 per license for Transmit. It is unexpectedly faster than other FTP client software.
Features of Transmit
- It offers a side-by-side window pane displaying the visuals of your files.
- It has a fantastic and advanced user interface.
- This software offers server integration with services like Rackspace, Dropbox, and Backblaze.
- It supports drag-and-drop functionality for easy and quick file transfer.
- It enables you to handle multiple files on multiple servers at the same time.
- This allows you to check the file transfer status on the available sidebar.
- It enables you to handle extra-large Amazon S3 file transfers quickly.
- It may be costly, but it comes with a plethora of security features.
5. WinSCP (Windows)
As suggested by its name, WinSCP works for Windows only. It is available for free and allows you to connect your local system to the remote server for transferring files conveniently.
WinSCP has a user interface that resembles FileZilla, along with a dual-pane module for displaying files. It enables you to have multiple tabs with varying commands and sessions. The FTP client is straightforward to use.
Features of WinSCP
- Free software with good documentation and support for many tools.
- It has a simplistic-yet-powerful graphical user interface.
- You can automate the tasks and scripts using different rules.
- All the files sent via WinSCP are encrypted.
- You can customize the user interface with various tools as per the business requirements.
- It helps in restoring the entire workspace in case of failure.
6. Free FTP (Windows)
This FTP client has both paid and free versions that you can test from your end and upgrade to the latest version whenever required. The paid, premium version comes at $39 and is called Direct FTP. Free FTP software is available solely for Windows.
It provides you access to transferring files along with many editing tools. It has an advanced user interface along with an entire web design toolset for editing and handling files. It displays the file transfer status in an ordered list.
Features of FreeFTP
- It provides intuitive and straightforward bookmarks.
- It allows you to manage files with tasks like adding, launching, and moving files.
- ensures secure file transfers with protocols like SFTP, FTP, SSH, and HTTP.
- also provides you a side-by-side comparison table with simple drag-and-drop functionality.
- Everything from browsing to transferring is logged in a history module.
- You can check the status of the transferred files at the bottom of the FTP client.
7. WS_FTP Professional
WS_FTP Professional is the most commonly used FTP client software due to its advanced encryption and easy customization features. It helps in securing all the files through all transfers. WS_FTP Professional uses different levels of security.
Due to its features, it comes in premium plans and costs $49.95 per single user. It allows you to create a backup of all the files and sync them automatically.
WS_FTP Professional’s Features
- It offers exceptionally advanced security with file encryption, signature keys, etc.
- It guarantees that all the files are transferred to the right location.
- This allows you to synchronize the file transfer to multiple servers.
- You can compress files using the WS_FTP window.
- It sends you an email notification for every file transfer.
FTP client software ensures easy and secure transfer of files between the server and the client. FTP clients are easy to install and use, and some FTP clients will require you to have authorized access to log in to the host and make changes to the files.
The article discussed the features you must consider while choosing the right FTP client for your business, as well as the 7 best FTP client software available out there to choose from.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which are the Best FTP Clients for Mac?
The best free FTP client for Mac is Cyberduck, and The best FTP client for Mac is ForkLift
2. Which is the Best FTP Client Software?
Here are the best FTP clients on the market today
- Core FTP LE.
3. What is the best free FTP client?
Here are 3 of the best free FTP clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux
4. What is a common FTP client?
FileZilla is a common FTP client
5. Is FileZilla a good FTP client?
It is one of the most reliable and secure FTP clients
6. What is the safest FTP?
Files.com is the safest FTP (SFTP)
7. Is Google Drive an FTP?
A Google Drive app can be used like FTP to store and share files online if you have it installed.