Best Free FTP Client

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Introduction

Dating back to at least April 1971, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is one of the oldest protocols supporting the Internet and is more common than many people know. FTP clients are programs that reside on a PC and enable fast bulk file transfers between the PC and a server.

They connect using File Transfer Protocol via different ports. They are very useful when you need to download or transfer more than a few files and are an essential tool for website management.

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!

While there are concerns about the storing of passwords in some clients, the only secure way around this is to NEVER store any passwords at all. Whenever you are using a FTP client, set it to what is called KIOSK MODE, and a password will be prompted every time you use the site, and there will be no way to be compromised.

 

Rated Products

FireFTP  

A secure and cross-platform FTP / SFTP client for Firefox


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Open source)
Easy to use, platform independent, small, fast, feature packed, frequent updates and new features.
4GB Download Limit.
Read full review...

Bitvise SSH Client (Tunnelier)  

A fast SSH client with a basic FTP client strapped on


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free
Fast, Secure SSH Terminal Emulation.
N/A
Read full review...

Core FTP LE  

The best tricky-site access ability of any FTP client


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Great for tricky sites and when other clients recommended may not work.
Nag Screens.
Read full review...

WinSCP  

A free FTP, SFTP and SCP client offering a rich feature set


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Secure copy using SSH, can limit download speeds, built in terminal.
Casual users may find it harder to learn and use.
Read full review...

Cyberduck  

An open-source FTP client for Windows and Mac OS X


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Easy-to-use interface, SFTP works fine, performs well for single and small transfers.
Some issues on transfer of multiple files, resume transfer broken.
Read full review...

FileZilla  

A free, lightweight and powerful cross-platform FTP product


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Easy to use, feature rich, includes site manager functions.
Does not support site-to-site transfer, passwords saved in open text.
Read full review...

Related Products and Links

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Contributors

Valuable contributions to this category have been made by: Tom Styles, Irene, Michael Gaul.

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

Thanks for the tip on Bitvise's Tunnelier. It is flexible but simple and VERY fast with some good protections. Appreciated.

Besides basic transferring of files, at times I need to synchronize folders. I look at the available alternatives, but it is hard to figure out just what synchronization capabilities the programs have. What I'd like to see is this page updated with a discussion on each alternative on how they can synchronize from an updated PC to the website host.

i using filezilla, it were problem not connect servers, i try WinSCP, it auto seen config from filezilla, and notice me import. Very good, WinSCP ok.

I would also like to see FTP Rush tested (requested 2010 by Wololo). I would also like to see Xftp (free for home and school use) and FTP Voyager (free from the serv u authors since they got acquired by solar winds) tested.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Please try to include links for the software in your post when you suggest them, for the ease of other users, as well as the editors and the moderators. Here are the links for the software suggested in your comment. FTP Rush: http://www.wftpserver.com/ftprush.htm Xftp: http://www.netsarang.com/products/xfp_overview.html FTP Voyager: http://www.serv-u.com/ftpvoyager.asp

I forgot the links, sorry. For FTP Voyager I used the German site (no need to register there), but non English sites are not allowed to post. I did not mention that site on purpose.

In March you wrote you would test FTP Rush and add it if were good enough. I'd like to know what's missing or problematic about it, since I've just started using it.

In my search for free software that does it all (FXP, every sorts of secured FTP etc.) that's about the only solution I've found, and so far it works great.

I was on FireFTP before, now things work so much smoother, distant folder browsing is so much faster too.. One thing I liked was I could limit my upload and download speeds settings while transfering and it would affect the current transfers immediatly, signs of good and solid programming imho.

That comment was from the old editor. A new editor has now taken over the category. So, please wait for them to update the category at their time. Thanks for the suggestion :).

One time I get file corruptions on upload PHP files with FireFTP.

Bitvise SSH Client (formerly Tunnelier) not belongs to this category (or the category name is wrong), since it isn't a FTP Client. It's a SSH and SFTP Client. Tunnelier can connect only to servers using SSH protocol version 2, and can perform file transfers with such servers using SFTP over SSH2. Tunnelier cannot connect to a classic, unencrypted FTP server. (Or even a newer, encrypted FTP server. It's a different protocol from SSH/SFTP.)

Thanks for the response, I will certainly have a good look at the claim you make of it not being able to connect to a normal FTP client, and definitely report back on this..... I am also currently testing FTPRush, anf will add my review on that soon as well.