The abbreviation FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a system that enables website owners to upload and delete files easily on web servers. Typically, the website owner downloads ‘client’ software, and uses this to connect to a server, the details of which are most always provided by the host of the site.
However, there are many different FTP client software packages. Some of them are paid, while some of them are free. This list will narrow all the tools down to five which you should really consider using.
FileZilla is one of the most popular FTP clients. One great thing about it is that it’s cross platform, meaning that it is available for a number of operating systems. FileZilla has some cool features, such as “Site Manager”. Site Manager allows you to save all of your FTP details, rather than having to re enter details every time you want to connect to an FTP server. There is also a log shown at the top of the screen, and a transfer queue at the bottom. The transfer queue allows you to see failed and complete transfers, as well as how many files are left to be transferred. Finally, FileZilla has a File and Folder view, which shows the folders of the PC you are using on the left, and the folders of the web server you are connected to on the right. FileZilla was originally started as a class project in 2001, and it has clearly evolved a lot since then.
Notepad++ is a great free source code editor. It has many great features, but one of the lesser known is the fact that you can easily install a plugin which will integrate an FTP client in to the software. The plugin can be downloaded free here. Many other free plugins can be downloaded for Notepad++, all completely free of charge.
FireFTP is an FTP plugin for FireFox. It’s available in over 20 languages, has support for a large number of character sets and has many other features. However, my favourite feature about it is the fact that it can be opened in a tab and you can run it while you’re surfing the net, meaning directories can be in synch without having to have 2 windows open. It is built for seamless integration and is available for all operating systems.
Cyberduck is a Mac only FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Mosso Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser. It features a slick interface, with file editing features, as well as a bookmarking system. You can synchronize the bookmarks with your Mac iDisk if you wish, as well. Best of all, it’s open source. A great option for Mac users.
Coffee Cup FTP is very similar to FileZilla. What sets it apart however, is the user interface. It’s very friendly and easy to use. With big status panes, as well as a ‘shiny’ feel, it makes for a better experience. It has a very “Apple” feel; works right out of the box.
If you are looking for a great way to share or store files, Dropbox is an easy way to do this. Using software as well as a simple online interface, Dropbox enables you to drag and drop files from the web to your computer and vice versa. It also gives you the ability to store files privately or share them publicly. I use it all the time!
What’s your favourite FTP client or transfer tool? Let us know!