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The 5 Best Free FTP Clients

Transferring files to and from your web host or server is best done with what’s commonly known an FTP client, though the term is a bit dated because there are more secure alternatives such as SFTP and FTPS.

When I was putting together this list, this was my criteria:

1. FileZilla

Topping the list is FileZilla, an open source FTP client. It’s fast, being able to handle simultaneous transmissions (multi-threaded transfers), and supports SFTP and FTPS (which stands for FTP over SSL). What’s more, it’s available on all operating systems, so if you work on multiple computers — like if you’re forced to use Windows at work but you have a Mac at home — you don’t need to use a different application for your file-transferring needs.

FileZilla

Available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux

Download here

2. Cyberduck

Cyberduck can take care of a ton of your file-transferring needs: SFTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, and more. It has a minimalist UI, which makes it super easy to use.

Cyberduck

Available on Windows and Mac OS

Download here

3. FireFTP

This Mozilla Firefox add-on gives you a very capable FTP/SFTP client right within your browser. It’s available on all platforms that can run Firefox.

FireFTP

Available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux

Download here

4. Classic FTP

Classic FTP is a file transfer client that’s free for non-commercial use. It has a very simple interface, which is a good thing, because it makes it easy and intuitive to use. I like its "Compare Directories" feature that’s helpful for seeing differences between your local and remote files.

Classic FTP

Available on Windows and Mac OS

Download Here

5. WinSCP

This popular FTP client has a very long list of features, and if you’re a Windows user, it’s certainly worth a look. WinSCP can deal with multiple file-transfer protocols (SFTP, SCP, FTP, and WebDav). It has a built-in text editor for making quick text edits more convenient, and has scripting support for power users.

WinSCP

Available on Windows

Download here

Honorable Mention: Transmit

For this post, I decided to focus on free software. But it just doesn’t seem right to leave out Transmit (which costs $34) in a post about FTP clients because it’s a popular option used by web developers on Mac OS. It has a lot of innovative features and its user-friendliness is unmatched. If you’ve got the cash to spare and you’re on a Mac, this might be your best option.

TransmitSource: panic.com

Available on Mac OS

Download Here

Which FTP client do you use?

There’s a great deal of FTP clients out there. If your favorite FTP client isn’t on the list, please mention it in the comments for the benefit of other readers. And if you’ve used any of the FTP clients mentioned here, please do share your thoughts about them too.

Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions. He’s a front-end developer. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

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This was published on Apr 6, 2016

22 Comments

Arun Basil Lal Apr 06 2016

I have been using FileZilla for years, this comparison does not show the rest of the tools having any other benefit over FileZilla.

So if you got here looking for which one to get, just get FileZilla and be done with it. That is all you will ever need :)

Thanks!

I drifted around the free options before splashing out on Transmit. Haven’t looked back. It’s just so well put together.

I have always used FileZilla and had a challenge upload a site on a different server I struggled to connect to that server until I made a search and came across “Core FTP” which was able to connect to the server. I still mostly use File Zilla and now “Core FTP”

I have used FireFTP and FileZilla in the past but use Brackets GIT and GIT FTP most of the time now. Either that or Ubuntu’s built in FTP on sites that don’t use GIT.

YummyFTP is where it’s at. Beats old school Filezilla hands down.
The interface is WAY better, you can organize bookmarks, schedule file transfers, preview images, sync settings to dropbox if you’re working on multiple computers and more.

Craig Kendall Apr 06 2016

I’m curious. My son recently made me aware of an issue plaguing the Filezilla community. If I understand it, there are some non-legitimate, but legitimate looking download destinations to get a copy of Filezilla, however the code has been compromised before it is ever downloaded and not only is Filezilla already hacked when installed, but I believe I was told it further infects many things in your computer.
The most disconcerting thing is it’s both PCs and Macs that are vulnerable in this situation.
I’ve been using Filezilla for years, but at this point, I’m reluctant to get the update due to the potential to open myself up to risk. Any insight into this in your research?

    Jacob Gube Apr 12 2016

    I looked into this just now. The closest/most recent thing I could find that resembles what your son has described to you is the one discussed in this Panda Security article: Careful with FileZilla! There is malware that imitates it perfectly.

    The article reports about the discovery of compromised/corrupted versions of FileZilla, specifically in version 3.5.3 and version 3.7.3. The corrupted versions of the software forwards FTP login credentials (i.e. FTP username and password) and the data being transferred to an IP address that was traced to a server in Germany. The malware authors did this by modifying FileZilla’s source code (which is open source).

    The Panda Security article doesn’t say how the corrupted versions were distributed. A security advisory posted on the blog of Avast, an antivirus software company, sheds some light on the matter. The post says that the corrupted versions were “mostly hosted on hacked websites with fake content.”

    This highlights the importance of making sure you install software from reputable sources.

    I suggest always updating your software to the latest version. Even though you’re reluctant to update FileZilla because of potential security vulnerabilities, not updating your software is also a security vulnerability on its own.

    The following precautions are pretty simple and straightforward (and you probably already know them) but they do add extra layers of security whenever you’re installing or updating software:

    1. Update your antivirus software and then run a scan on your downloaded files before installing or updating anything.
    2. Always download apps from reputable sources. Usually, this means downloading from the official website of the software. Find/confirm a reputable source simply by doing a Google search. Google does a pretty good job of displaying reputable sites on their search results, as well as removing malicious and compromised websites from their search results.
    3. Keep your operating system updated.

    Though not 100% bullet-proof, these simple steps will significantly reduce your chances of being open to security vulnerabilities.

    Security vulnerabilities are always a possibility, especially with open source software. Someone can take the source code, add stuff to it, compile it, and then distribute it.

Donovan Maidens Apr 13 2016

I have been using Filezilla for years now.
One of the main reason is I work with Mac, Windows and Linux and the interface is the same across all platforms. I never know what platform my client is on and having a multi platform ftp client is essential.
I find the interface super simple to follow and use.

But in all honesty I have not tried other FTP clients since using Filezilla, so cant really comment if others are better or not.

Joseph Dykstra Apr 19 2016

I’ve been using Cyberduck for a while now, and I’m pretty happy with it. I used to use FileZilla, but I switched because Cyberduck can upload immediately when I save a file locally. FileZilla mostly supports this, but forces you to click a button every time. This might sound small, but when you modify a file 20 times in quick succession (which is common for my work) then that extra click gets really annoying.

FileZilla is best open source FTP client

charleshenry Apr 29 2016

Thanks for sharing this post. I am using File Zilla and it is best open source FTP.

Tammy Wyman Apr 29 2016

It’s helpful details. Thanks to share with us.

Carol M. Ingram May 10 2016

I have used this classic FTP and found it quite helpful.

Monsta FTP is a popular PHP/AJAX file manager you can install on your server to access any FTP server through your browser. http://www.monstaftp.com (disclaimer: I’m involved with this project)

Anararon May 23 2016

You could transfer files one at a time and you could of course do it all freehand via the ftp protocol in a command window – but one of these programs will beat that any which way. No contest!

Gaurav Sharma May 30 2016

Hello friend,

I know only about filezilla, thank you for sharing some amazing FTP clients such as cyberduck, and WinSCP

I must say great and informative post

I have been using Filezilla from years, I was not aware of so many FTP’s thanks for the update.

Rodger Miller Jul 07 2016

Thanks for this list, I have always just used FileZilla but am considering trying some of these others now!

I have found some other useful tools on a website similir to this one which also helps with with my work for HTML,CSS, Javascript and web development in general, worth checking out too.

I am using FireFTP for years on both mac and win. It has very simple and same UI on both OS.

I am using 3 computers depending on my work schedule. A PC for office, an iMac for home and a Macbook for vocation. The worst thing is that I have to add FTP account for a site to each my computers.

World would be a greater place, if my FTP could synchronize for all my computers :/

Do have any advice for that?

Soluweb Jul 09 2016

We have been using filezilla for almost 3 years since it is really versatil. No problems at all.

why doesnt filezilla support resumable uploads?
its a pain uploading files over a slow connection. They keep restarting whenever the upload fails which can go on forever!!!!!

You left out FTP Manager Lite. It is one of the best free FTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. It also supports FXP for superfast server to server transfers. It is perfect for backups or synchronizing servers.
http://www.deskshare.com/ftp-manager-free.aspx

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