What is FTP ?
FTP is one of the most widely used protocols in web development, and it is useful for people active in the field to be familiar with this protocol and its mechanism.
If you’ve worked with tech professionals, especially web developers, you’ve probably heard the phrase ” FTP .” You may be somewhat familiar with the uses and terminology of FTP. But what is FTP ?
First of all, it is better to get acquainted with the definition of protocol. According to Wikipedia,
A protocol defines a template and the order in which messages are exchanged between two or more communication entities. Simply put, a protocol is a contract for how information is exchanged in a computer network community, and it also specifies the type of operation required to send or receive a message.
Simply put, FTP is a way to transfer files online. With that in mind, think about the websites you see on your browsers and on the Internet. But keep in mind that browsers only use the HTTP protocol, but there are many protocols that make up the Internet. IMAP and POP, for example, are two protocols used in client emails to receive and send messages, or XMPP is a protocol used to send and receive instant messages, as well as DNS or Domain Name Service. A protocol for translating domain names into IP addresses.
Similarly, FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a protocol. FTP is one of the oldest protocols used to date and is one of the easiest ways to transfer files. An FTP server makes folders and subfolders available to the user to transfer files. Users can connect to this server with the help of user information, and through various software, they can download the file from the server, as well as upload to the server.
Many users never have an FTP server. But if you own a website, the FTP server is an essential and efficient tool for you. Since FTP is a basic and important service on the web, even if you are not a web developer, familiarity with it is useful and practical. Here’s a few basic facts about a stomp pad and how it is used.
What does FTP do?
FTP, for web developers, is a tool for transferring files from a local computer to a web hosting server. For example, if you want to install WordPress content management system on a host server, you will need FTP to transfer files between the server and the computer
FTP is also used in some cases to share files. After uploading the file to the FTP server, for example, the user provides access to it to other users. Although this method of sharing is not common in the world of cloud services, some users prefer to start their own FTP service by creating a host for the files on their home server.
Is FTP Safe ?
Not in design and implementation. The FTP protocol dates back to 1970, when there was no talk of cyber security. This means that communications and transactions are not encrypted in the FTP protocol. Therefore, if someone accesses the FTP communication path, they can easily listen to the transactions and receive them if necessary.
That’s why FTP users are now using FTPS. FTPS is exactly the same as FTP, except that everything is encrypted, so spies, hackers, or any other unauthorized user cannot use them if they have access to the files. Today, companies are refusing to transfer unencrypted information, instead of FTP service, they provide secure FTPS service
Features to Look for in the Best FTP Clients
FTP clients are so similar in some ways but sometimes you find a little feature in one of them that makes it significantly more useful for you. That said, these are the features you should be primarily considering:
- You must first figure out whether or not the FTP client will work on your Operating System (like Windows, Mac, or Linux).
- Also, take a look at which versions of your OS are supported. Some FTP clients are much better than others in terms of OS support.
- Seek out beautiful interfaces with drag and drop functionality.
- The best FTP clients have bookmarking and search tools for locating your files, even if you have thousands of them.
- Look for which clients connect to certain types of servers. Some of them are only for transferring from local to online servers. Others connect to third-party storage servers like Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Make sure the client supports the protocols you need it to. Some of them might be FTP, SSL, and SSH.
- Fast file transfer is a must.
- Side-by-side directory comparisons look wonderful.
- Most developers need to ensure that large files are transferable through their FTP client.
- Security should be one of your top priorities when choosing an FTP client.
1) Filezilla :
One of the most popular names in the FTP game is Filezilla. Not only is FileZilla free and easy to download, but it doesn’t take long to understand the inner workings of the entire system. Although FileZilla has a bit of an outdated interface, all users are able to link to their site files and place them next to what’s being stored on a computer.
The majority of FileZilla users have Windows machines, but you can also download software for all Operating Systems, including older versions such as Windows 7.
Is Filezilla the right choice for you?
FileZilla is one of the best all-around FTP clients on the market. It may take a bit to get used to the interface, but it supports all Operating Systems and many of the older versions. It’s definitely more likely to be used by people with Windows, but the option for Mac and Linux users is there. In addition, we like FileZilla for those who want the side-by-side drag and drop comparison.
FileZilla Features :
- FileZilla is a completely free open source software.
- It has several options for different Operating Systems and various versions. FileZilla is one of the few FTP clients where it really doesn’t matter what type of machine you have.
- The FileZilla community is active and thriving, meaning that updates are common and you can interact with users and developers
- The support documentation is plentiful, with a full section for development help, FAQs, a support page, and a forum.
- The side-by-side display on the main screen allows for easy interpretation of where your files are being moved and what the status is for a transfer.
- The FTP client supports a wide range of protocols such as SFTP, FTPS, and FTP.
- The client is available in many languages for use around the world.
- The remote file search function ensures that you never have to go scanning around to locate them manually.
- You receive remote file editing so that you don’t always have to log in to your host account.
- Bookmarks are provided to save your spot and remember where files are.
- You can transfer large files. Most of the time it supports files larger than 4GB, which is better than some of the competition.
- The directory comparison module becomes even more useful with the help of drag and drop tools.
2) Cyberduck :
Cyberduck doesn’t provide support for Linux, but Mac and Windows users find it rather simple to use and fast for transferring files to and from local and remote locations. Feel free to download the FTP client from the Cyberduck website or you have options for downloads on the Microsoft and Mac App Stores.
This is free, open source software but you can get rid of donation prompts and even receive a registration key if you’d like to donate more than $10 to the developers.
The Cyberduck interface is more modern when compared to other FTP Clients (FileZilla included) and it links your website to external storage locations such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
One of the benefits of Cyberduck is the “cryptomator,” which adds an extra side of encryption during your transfers for added security. Along with that, we enjoy that Cyberduck hooks you up to the cloud while also giving you the opportunity to share files with the help of a quick web URL.
What Makes Cyberduck a Great Option:
- Cyberduck runs as an open source project without any fees.
- You can download the client for both Windows and Mac machines.
- It allows you to connect through multiple protocols such as FTP and SFTP.
- Cyberduck also includes transfer support for some of the most popular third-party cloud storage platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
- The Cryptomator feature makes sure that all of your files and transfers are encrypted and secure, adding an extra layer by encrypting every file individually. There are also no backdoors since you don’t have to register or create any type of account.
- You’re able to use an external file editor to make changes to all of your documents.
- Sharing files is easy with the help of a URL generator.
- The bookmarking tool has features for logging history, imports, files, and more.
- You can browse with ease by utilizing the quick look feature or checking out the general outline provided for large folder structures.
- Anything can be transferred through Cyberduck. This is done with the help of a drag and drop module. You can also synchronize and copy and paste.
- Cyberduck comes with several integrations such as the Keychain password protector and the Bonjour auto-discovery platform.
Is Cyberduck the right choice for you?
You can’t use Cyberduck if you’re on Linux. However, Windows and Mac users rather appreciate the modern, clean interface that Cyberduck has to offer.
In addition, it’s great for those users who want to sync with alternative, third-party cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Really, if you’re more interested in linking to cloud storage, this is the right FTP client for you (and my personal preference).
3. ForkLift (Mac)
ForkLift is a Mac-only file manager and transfer client with dual panes for comparing multiple file locations and moving them back and forth. Remote connections are available for things like Amazon S3 and Google Drive. Not to mention, you have the ability to connect to multiple servers at the same time, giving you more versatility if you have more than one transfer to complete.
ForkLift does have a free trial but the core software requires a payment of $29.95 for a single license. The family license can be used on three computers for $49.95, while the small business license goes on up to five Macs, all for the price of $99.95. ForkLift also offers education discounts for teachers and students.
The main file manager links your remote servers to the local environment, using a drag and drop system with nice visuals so you can see which files are being managed. In addition, the side-by-side comparison lets you see everything in one window and move them from file to file. It’s a fresh interface that should go along with the sleekness that Mac users are accustomed to.
What Makes ForkList a Great Option:
- Although ForkLift isn’t free, it has some reasonable lifetime prices and discounts for students and teachers.
- The dual-pane interface splits the locations of your files in two separate windows, giving you the tools to drag files from one area to another.
- You can sync all of your favorites between computers with the use of Dropbox.
- ForkLift lets you copy Dropbox files with a right-click and instantly drop them into the ForkLift files.
- Various remote connections are available, including WebDAV, Amazon S3, and Google Drive.
- ForkLift supports transfers with SFTP and FTP.
- The transfer module includes a preview panel for inspecting important details from all files. For instance, you might want to play an audio file or view an image.
- The multi-rename tool lets you select a bulk group of files and rename them all at the same time.
- You can change your interface to a “dark mode” so as not to strain your eyes while working.
- ForkLift has options for setting your preferred editor. This means that all file edits are done outside of ForkLift but then synced with the software.
Is ForkLift t Right for You?
ForkLift only works for Mac users, so Windows and Linux folks should look at some of the other FTP clients. As for choosing ForkLift based on features, consider it if you’d like access to many remote connections, some of which include Google Drive, SMB, and NFS. This is also a premium software, so if you don’t want to pay for an FTP client then you need to look for something else.
4) WinSCP :
WinSCP, as you may assume from the name, only works on Windows computers. It’s a free file manager and FTP client that connects your remote and local environments. The open source project has over 124 million downloads as of this article and its popularity only seems to be increasing. The user interface looks somewhat similar to FileZilla, with a dual-pane module for transferring files.
You can also customize your main page with multiple tabs, varying commands, and sessions. Multiple sessions are possible on the same screen, allowing you to complete more work at one time.
The feature-base for WinSCP looks plentiful and easy to use. In addition, you can find all sorts of information about the product on the WinSCP website. Some of the resources include in-depth documentation, a user forum, and options for getting customer support.
What Makes WinSCP a Great Option:
- WinSCP is a free FTP client.
- The documentation and support tools are better than some of the competition.
- The client allows for transfers using WebDAV, S3, SFTP, SCP, FTPS, and FTP.
- The graphical user interface makes your work more visual and easy to understand.
- You’re able to integrate the text editor of your choice.
- Tasks and scripts can be automated by making rules.
- The client translates into several languages for support in many countries.
- All files are encrypted when sent through WinSCP.
- You can set administrative restrictions if you plan on using the client for your company or if you don’t want some people gaining access to some files or functions.
- You can change the user interface to meet whatever demands you require.
- WinSCP is always connected to your current workspaces. WinSCP restores an entire workspace if you lose something.
Is WinSCP Right for You?
WinSCP isn’t an option for Mac or Linux users. It makes sense for those who want a strictly Windows-based FTP client. We like it mostly for the simplicity of the interface. If you only want the basic necessities, WinSCP looks like a good option for you.
5) WS_FTP® Professional :
The availability of this professional FTP client is in two variants and each one of these offers varying feature levels. This is accessible just for the PCs that are Windows based and support is also there for Windows 10. SmartFTP serves to be a good choice since support is offered for FTPS, FTP, Amazon S3, SFTP, OneDrive, Google Drive and WebDAV. There are several other tasks for which SmartFTP could be used in addition to downloading and uploading files to site. This includes tasks such as backup since certain standard and advanced features are also there. Therefore it could be said that SmartFTP truly serves like smart FTP client having features and quality of professional level.
6) FreeFTP :
Free FTP has both free and paid versions for you to test out and potentially upgrade if that’s what you need in terms of features. The premium version is listed at $39 and it does have a free trial if you’d rather give it a try instead of sticking to the free version. As of right now, Free FTP is supported on Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista.
The premium software is actually called Direct FTP, but it’s made by the same developers and simply improves on what is provided in the free alternative.
Starting off with those premium features, if you’d like to pay for Direct FTP, you gain access to standard file transfer and editing tools. It takes the interface a step further by providing a complete web design toolset for quick edits and organization of files. Everything can be edited right on your server, and all uploads are reliable and fast to ensure the highest performance. Overall, the premium version (Direct FTP) adds little bits and pieces such as more secure file transfer, customizable syntax highlighting, and file permissions for folders.
Many people won’t even consider paying for an FTP, so let’s move onto the actual Free FTP software. This particular tool specializes in super simple and fast uploads to your servers. Dragging and dropping is provided, along with several other tools that are great for beginners and advanced users alike. The status of all file transfers is ordered in a beautiful list to see exactly what has been transferred and what is in the process of uploading.
Bookmarks are simple and intuitive, and the file management all happens inside the program for tasks like adding, launching, and moving files. The backup tools are also nice so that you can save a ZIP folder of your website files with the click of a button.
What Makes FreeFTP a Great Option:
- Free FTP has both a free and paid version.
- Secure file transfers are available through SFTP, SSH, FTPS, HTTP, and TLS.
- File permissions are available for protecting your work and ensuring that the right users can see and manipulate what they need to.
- Free FTP includes a simple drag and drop editor with a side-by-side comparison to see all of the folders in your remote and local servers.
- The quick archival features ensure that you’re able to back up all files and folders without having to worry about losing anything.
- The full version provides a code completion solution where items like HTML tags and attributes are suggested and completed for you, minimizing some of the stress on your fingers.
- All browsing and transfer actions are logged in a history module. This means that you can always go back in time to locate a file if you forget where you put it.
- A status bar is shown on the bottom of the FTP client so that you know when files are being transferred or if an error has occurred.
- Free FTP actually provides support for a few more variations of FTP than other competitors. For instance, you gain support for TSL, HTTPS, SFTP, SSH, and FTPS.
- The interface is simple and effective for all users, especially considering how easy it is to tag bookmarks and watch the progress of your files in the main window.
Is FreeFTP Right for You?
FreeFTP should work well for those who want a clean, simple workspace. You get the basics without any of the extras that usually aren’t needed for the average user. In addition, you can get code completion features and support for HTTPS and TSL if you have no problem paying for the premium version.
8) Transmit :
This FTP software is Mac only that makes use of Twin Turbo engine for enhanced speed and claims to offer 25 times faster speed. users can enjoy stability in file transfer with the help of support for multi connection and twin turbo engine. Transmit app also has simple and easy to use interface. Transfer section is there to offer users with the option of setting advanced preferences of server and other sections. Favorite button, built-in editor etc. are included in the additional features. Options are also there for managing the transfers that are paused or crashed.