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Best File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Client

Despite being several decades old, the File Transfer Protocol is still widely used in the Web Hosting and IT worlds in order to easily and efficiently transfer files between remote machines. Now, in the majority of cases, transferring files over FTP requires you to use an FTP client. With so many of them out there, it could be difficult to pick the right one. Today, we will mention what we consider to be the best FTP clients for all the major operating systems so that you could choose the one that fits your needs the most.

01 May, 22 by Antoniy Yushkevych 15 min Read

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Whenever you create a website, you need to store and maintain some files related to that website. You need an FTP client that will help you to manage your files. FTP is a file transfer protocol that allows you to connect your local files to an online server. If you create a website, you can transfer all your website-related files to a server using FTP and then launch the website to be accessible. In short, it allows you to organize your files, make necessary changes, and debug the situation for possible errors.

You can find a wide range of FTP clients available in the market, but the important thing is to understand which FTP client will work better for your OS and provide an intuitive interface for efficiently sorting the files and folders.

In this article, we will be focusing on various FTP clients that you can prefer for your business. It would be best if you chose the right FTP client that will meet all your business requirements. 

However, all the FTP clients will work similarly, but they might possess some different features that will create a base for you to differentiate among a wide range of FTP clients. So you must look for the right features and understand your business requirement to choose the right FTP client. But while selecting the FTP client, you must look for the below-mentioned common features that the FTP client must offer.

  • Ensure that the chosen FTP client will be compatible with all operating systems such as Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  • Also, check which versions of the OS support the FTP client. Some FTP shows better OS support as compared to other available options.
  • Ensure the FTP client comes with unique features like drag and drop for transferring the file from the local system to the remoter server and vice versa.
  • It also comes with the bookmarking and search tool that will help locate the files from a pool of thousands of files.
  • Look for the FTP client that allows you to connect any servers such as the online servers, third-party storage, etc.
  • Ensure the FTP client comes with the support for the protocols such as FTP, SSL, and SSH.
  • It must ensure faster transfer of the files from one server to another.
  • It should come with the side by side comparison window to easily compare the available files on both sides.
  • It makes sure that the user can transfer large files.
  • It must make sure the secure transfer of the file between the servers.


We have summed up some of the most commonly used FTP clients in the market. We will be discussing in-depth features of each FTP client to differentiate among them and choose one that will be suitable as per the business requirement. Let’s take a look at various FTP client options available.

1. FileZilla (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

It is the most commonly used FTP client that is easy to set up and is available freely. It is easy to use and cross-platform, meaning you can run it on Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems, to mention a few, and is available in over 50 languages. The FTP client supports the transfer of large files and has a transfer queue and resume feature to reconnect transfer for lost sessions. 

Its interface offers you the main window, site manager, and filename filter area. It allows you to look for specific file elements and configure the required settings. Majorly the work is done on the main window that is split into two parts where the right pane shows the local files, and the right pane shows the remote server files. 

To connect to a remote server via FileZilla, you need to provide the login credentials that will allow you to perform actions like copy, edit, delete, or updates files on the remote server. 

Not only does the tool support FTP, but it also supports it through TLS and SFTP. In addition, it is open-source software with an intuitive graphic interface and tons of useful features.

The tabbed user interface FTP client is also a powerful site manager that allows users to configure the transfer speeds to their liking. Whether it is directory comparison, filename filters, remote file editing, or network configuration, FileZilla supports the capabilities critical to website development. 

Key features -

  • This FTP client is available as free and open-source software.
  • It is supported by Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.
  • It has a vast and active community that is consistently contributing to improving its functionalities.
  • It has well-written documentation that is useful for users using the FileZilla for the first time.
  • It comes with the support for various protocols such as FTP, SSH, and SSL.
  • This FTP client is available in various languages, making it useful for users across the globe.
  • It has a bookmarking facility, allowing users to save their spots and remember where they have stored the files.
  • It allows you to transfer large files seamlessly without breaking the software.

2. Cyberduck (Windows and Mac)

This FTP client comes with support for Windows and Mac but is not supported by Linux. It is a simple tool that will help the users efficiently transfer the files from the local system to the remote server. This tool is available for free to download. However the tool is available for free, but if you want to get rid of the dalmatian prompts and get the registration key, you can pay more than $10 to the developers. 

The FTP client is also user-friendly, making it ideal for first-time users. Cyberduck also offers client-side protection securing your files from intrusion during transfer. The key features that make the tool stand out to include its modern and navigable interface, drag and drop transfers, URL generator for file sharing, and an external file editor. You can also copy files directly between servers and sync local and remote directories to get access to previews of files before taking action. 

It has a fantastic interface that is much more updated than that of the FileZilla. Not only this, but this tool will also allow you to link your website to external storage locations such as google drive and others. One of the unique features of Cyberduck is the “cryptomator”, allowing the tool to add extra security while transferring the files. Apart from this, it will enable the users to connect to the cloud and share the required files using the fast web URL.

Key features-

  • It is an open-source tool available for Windows and Mac OS.
  • It comes with the support for protocols like FTP and SSH.
  • It allows you to make transfers to third-parties cloud storage like Google Drive, DropBox, etc.
  • Ensures solid security using features like cryptomator.
  • It does not require you to create an account to use this FTP client.
  • You can use an external file editor to make the required changes to the files.
  • You can share the files using the URL generator.
  • It also offers the bookmarking facility to keep track of the transferred files.
  • It comes with the drag and drops functionality for easy transferring the files.
  • It also provides the quick look feature for managing the large folder structure.

3. ForkLift (Mac)

This FTP client is only available for Mac systems. You can take leverage of its dual-pane that will allow the user to compare the file locations and move the files back and forth. You can make remote connections with Amazon S3 and Google Drive like cloud-based storage. You can even make connections to multiple servers at the same time. Apart from this, it allows you to create numerous transfers simultaneously yet efficiently.

You can use this tool as a free trial, but you need to pay for leveraging its features at $29.95 for a single license. You can also avail of its family license at $49.95 that can be only used on three systems. If you are a small business and require a license for up to five services, you need to pay $99.95. If you are a student or teacher, you can avail more of its features and educational offers for payment. 

It comes with an interactive interface with a drag and drop facility that will link the local remote servers with the local server. 

Key features-

  • However, you cannot avail of this FTP client for free, but you can leverage its affordable prices, especially for teachers and students.
  • It has a dual-pane facility that allows the users to use the drag and drop facility to transfer files from one pane to another. One pane reflects the local system, and the other is the remote server.
  • You can easily make transfers using DropBox, Google Drive seamlessly with a single click.
  • It comes with the support for protocols such as FTP and SFTP.
  • It allows you to make changes to the file externally and then sync them with this tool.
  • It allows you to rename multiple files at the same time with its multi-rename tool.
  • You can even safeguard your eyes with its “dark mode”.

4. Transmit (Mac)

Apart from the ForkLift FTP client, you can use this fantastic tool only on Mac systems. It comes with unique features making it stand out as compared to other alternatives. It offers an amazing interface that helps users manage their files and link them to third-parties storage systems. It is an all-rounder tool allowing the users to upload, manage, and download files from a single interface. 

Unlike ForkLift, Transmit comes with a free trial for testing purposes. But, for extended use, you need to pay $45, which is the cost for a single license, but if you buy more licenses, you will get a discount price. Suppose you want to buy 10 copies of Transmit; you will get each copy at $43. 

One of the vital features of using Transmit is that it allows fast speed for transferring the data compared to other alternatives. 

Key features-

  • You can leverage this FTP client at a reasonable price and get a discount if you buy more copies.
  • It comes with an amazing interface that can be easily blended with Mac systems.
  • It comes with a drag and drop facility for making the transfer seamless.
  • It allows the users to manage files on multiple servers simultaneously.
  • It ensures faster file transfer along with smart searching in complex folders.
  • You can even see the file-related details in the available sidebar.
  • You can do file edits within batches.

5. WinSCP (Windows)

This FTP client will only work on a Windows system that helps the users connect to the remote server from your local system and vice versa. It is one of the widely used FTP clients with more than 124 million downloads.

It has a unique interface providing a dual-pane that differentiates the local system and the remote system files. You can even use the drag and drop facility for transferring the files efficiently. 

With this FTP client, you can easily customize the main page by opening multiple tabs simultaneously. Working on multiple sessions ensures faster work is done and makes multiple file transfers of any size.

Not only this, this tool will allow the users to sort the file-related details. This tool is available for free and can be downloaded on the Windows system easily.

It also supports selectable user interfaces, file encryption, and portable use. The tool also allows connection tunnelling for instances where you cannot directly connect to a server from where you are working. 

WinSCP also can be integrated into PuTTY, windows, and other applications like Pageant, FileZilla, and External Editor. WinSCP can run background file transfers if you want to use the software for other tasks. More so, if you lose a session, the tool allows you to reconnect and resume the transfer.

WinSCP also features directory caching, custom commands, administrative restrictions, and advanced transfer settings. 

Key features-

  • This FTP client comes with detailed and easy documentation that is much better than any other FTP alternative.
  • It offers a graphical interface that makes every work easier and understandable.
  • It is available in various languages for being used across the globe.
  • The file transfers are encrypted to ensure security.
  • You can automate various tasks by creating rules.
  • This tool also allows the users to make the required changes to the interface as per their requirements and ease of working.

6. Nautilus

Using Nautilus as an FTP client is as simple as copy-pasting. With the GNOME open source manager, you don't have to install any additional software to your system. Some of the additional tasks the software supports include running scripts, installing and removing fonts, and launching applications. 

One of the biggest benefits of using the tool as an FTP client is utilizing the tabbed feature when working on a remote server. This means you can navigate various sections of your server while running file operations. 

The clean and easy user interface will also make your experience smooth.

7. Cute FTP

Cute FTP  is a premium FTP solution for Windows platforms that also provides security for files through encryption and password authentication. The platform is also a multi-part transfer, making it one of the best tools for quick large files transfer. It breaks down large files into smaller multiple parts, which are transferred simultaneously, speeding up the transfer process. 

Cute FTP comes with a user guide, ideal for users with limited experience. The interface is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to transfer files through an easy drag and drop process. 

The platform also provides amazing features that make it easy to upload and download files to build your server. 

The key features include encryption and a password manager to secure your files. You can also schedule and automate file transfers and monitor the transfers to avoid errors and ensure a complete and smooth process. The platform's drag and drop feature can run up to 100 concurrent transfers.

8. WS_FTP Professional

If you are looking for a secure platform that will protect your files from sniffing during transfer, then you should try WS_FTP Professional. It is among the most secure FTP clients with password authentication and backups that come with tons of features to make your file transfers easy and quick. 

The drag and drop feature enhances the platform's simplicity without compromising the functionality. You can also automate the transfers through automation as you focus on other website development tasks. At the same time, you can schedule post-transfer tasks such as moving, deletion, and renaming files. 

Some of the key features that the platform boasts include thumbnails, linked folders, integrated file encryption, compress, and email notifications, to mention a few. 

FTP stands for file transfer protocol that allows the user to log in to the tool to transfer the file from the local system to the remote server. You can find various FTP client tools that are available and help you to sort things out seamlessly. Different tools might offer similar functionality but may differ from each other on some basis.

In this article, we have mentioned some of the commonly used FTP clients and the detailed features that will allow you to choose one of them for your business requirement.

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Antoniy Yushkevych

Master of word when it comes to technology, internet and privacy. I'm also your usual guy that always aims for the best result and takes a skateboard to work. If you need me, you will find me at the office's Counter-Strike championships on Fridays or at a.yushkevych@monovm.com