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, ensuring security.
This article will discuss FTP in detail and the 7 best FTP clients a user can opt for. Here is what we are going to explain in the article:
What is an FTP Client?
FTP is an internet protocol that helps you in transferring files across the network. Suppose you are working on WordPress on your website; you will require FTP for uploading all WordPress files from the local system to the server.
To make this happen, you need an FTP client, which is software that runs on your system, allowing 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 to receive the file on the network i.e. the receiver. For connecting to the FTP server, the user should have permissions 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 in the following way:
- The FTP server will run the FTP server software to listen for the connection request from other systems within the network.
- Another system is the FTP client that 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 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 enabling 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 the 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 an 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 for 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/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
So that now you know what an FTP client is, how does it work, and what to look for while choosing one, here are our 7 best FTP clients recommendations:
- Free FTP
- WS_FTP Professional
Let’s discuss each of them in detail.
Available for free, and able to understand the inner working of your complete local system on which it will be installed. Though the FTP client has an outdated user interface, it provides an extensive toolset and comes with the support for bandwidth, controls, authentication along with active and passive modes.
FileZilla also provides tools for remote file searching, bookmarking, and setting locations. It allows you to login 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 and error(s), if any, that occur during a file transfer(s).
Features of FileZilla
- Open-source software.
- Compatible with all operating systems as it does not matter on which machine you are installing this software.
- Has a broad, active community providing regular updates.
- Comes with comfortable documentation support with development help.
- Supports various protocols like SFTP, FTPS, and FTP.
- You can edit remote files without logging in to your host account.
- Has a directory comparison module along with a drag-drop functionality.
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 or 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 once 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.
Features of Cyberduck
- Use Cyberduck with cloud and share files with easily accessible web URLs.
- Comes with support for protocols like FTP and SFTP.
- Allows you to use an external file editor to modify your documents.
- Uses a URL generator for easy sharing of the files.
- Comes with features like bookmarking, logging history, imports files, quick look feature, and drag-and-drop module.
- Provides a keychain password protector and auto-discovery platform.
ForkLift only works for macOS-powered machines. It transfers the files with dual planes with multiple file location comparisons. It allows remote connections for 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.
ForkLift has different payment plans as per your requirement. It has a file manager that will connect the remote server to the local system.
Features of ForkLift
- Provides a side-by-side comparison window.
- A paid premium product that comes with various offers.
- Allows you to sync all your favorites using Dropbox.
- Provides you a dual-pane interface that will split the file location in different windows and allow you to drag and drop the file.
- You get many remote connections like WebDAV, Amazon S3, and Google Drive.
- Supports protocols like SFTP and FTP.
- You can select multiple files and rename them using the multi-rename tool.
- Lets you change the interface to the dark-mode, ensuring less strain to your eyes.
- You can choose your preferred editor and edit files externally.
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 offering.
You need to spare $45 per license for Transmit. It is unexpectedly faster than other FTP client software.
Features of Transmit
- Offers a side-by-side window pane displaying the visuals of your files.
- Has a fantastic and advanced user interface.
- This software offers server integration with services like Rackspace, Dropbox, and Backblaze.
- Supports a drag-and-drop functionality for easy and quick file transfer.
- Enables you to handle multiple files on multiple servers at the same time.
- Allows you to check the file transfer status on the available sidebar.
- Enables you to handle extra-large Amazon S3 file transfers quickly.
- It may be costly but comes with a plethora of security features.
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, varying commands, and sessions. The FTP client is straightforward to use.
Features of WinSCP
- Free software with good documentation and support for many tools.
- Has a simplistic-yet-powerful graphical user interface.
- You can automate the tasks and scripts using the different rules option.
- All the files sent via WinSCP are encrypted.
- You can customize the user interface with various tools as per the business requirement(s).
- Helps in restoring the entire workspace in case of a failure.
This FTP client has both paid and free versions that you can test from your end and upgrade their version whenever required. The paid, premium version comes at $39 and is called Direct FTP. Free FTP 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 edits and handling files. It displays the file transfer status in an ordered list.
Features of FreeFTP
- Provides intuitive and straightforward bookmarks.
- 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.
- Logs everything from browsing to transfer in a history module.
- You can check the status of the transferred files at the bottom of the FTP client.
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, costs $49.95 per single user. It allows you to create a backup of all the files and sync them automatically.
Features of WS_FTP Professional
- Offers exceptionally advanced security with file encryption, signature keys, etc.
- Guarantees that all the files are transferred to the right location.
- Allows you to synchronize the file transfer to multiple servers.
- You can compress files using the WS_FTP window.
- Sends you an email notification for every file transfer.
An 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 made 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.
People are also reading:
- Best Minecraft Server Hosting Services
- Best VPS Hosting Services
- Security of Hosting Servers
- Difference between Web Hosting and Domain Hosting
- How Does Web Hosting Work?
- WordPress Hosting Service Providers
- Best Linux Web Hosting Services
- Best Shared Hosting
- How to Host a Website On IIS?
- Best ARK Server Hosting