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Review: FileZilla FTP client

While FTP is quickly becoming an old standard, for those who still rely on it, FileZilla offers an easy, cross-platform client. Jack Wallen breaks it down in this review.

For some, the days of FTP are long gone. With the cost of drives so low as well as so many services moving to the cloud, the FTP server just seems to not be a necessity now. That, of course, is not a universal. There are plenty of situations that still call for a good "old fashioned" FTP session. And when you need to do FTP, you need a good client to handle the FTP session for you. One FTP client that stands above so many others is FileZilla. FileZilla is a cross-platform FTP client  that is a perfect choice for the new and power user. (It is also a server. NOTE: Server is only available for Windows.) But does FileZilla have everything you need? Let's drill down into this FTP client and find out.

System requirements

  • Linux: Built specifically for Debian but will work with just about any distribution. Recommended you install with your Add/Remove Software utility.
  • OS X: 10.5 or newer.
  • Windows: XP, Vista, or 7

Who's it for?

If you have any need to transfer files back and forth to/from an FTP server you need to have the simplest client available and FileZilla might very well be that client. With an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tabbed interface, FileZilla has next to no learning curve, but will be a welcome client for power users as well.

What problem does it solve?

FileZilla allows the user to quickly and easily transfer files to and from an FTP server with a drag-and-drop interface. And since FileZilla is cross platform (Windows, Linux, BSD, Mac) your users will feel at home no matter what platform they are using.

Key features

  • Easy to use drag and drop interface
  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Cross-platform
  • IPv4 and IPv6 support
  • Multi language support
  • Resume and transfer for files larger than 4GB
  • Tabbed interface
  • Site Manager/transfer queue
  • Bookmarks
  • Transfer speed limits
  • Filename filters
  • Compare directory contents
  • Network configuration wizard
  • Remote file editing
  • Keep-alive support
  • HTTP/1.1, SOCKS5 and FTP-Proxy support
  • Logging
  • Synchronized directory browsing
  • Remote file search

The FileZilla user interface offers a very complete and easy to use experience with plenty of information for the power user as well as ease of use for the new user.

What's wrong?

The biggest problem facing FileZilla is the simple fact that FTP is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Because of much easier to use Web-interfaces, FTP clients are a hard sell. Fortunately, for those that must rely on the old standby FTP client, FileZilla is one of the best. The only other issue is that you will want to encourage all users to take advantage of the more secure types of file transferred offered in FileZilla - unfortunately these are not the default.

Bottom line for businesses

If you have to rely on the older standard FTP client, you can not go wrong with FileZilla. With its simple to use interface, outstanding feature list, and cross-platform availability, no other FTP client comes close to bringing to the table what FileZilla brings. Any business, small or large, would do well to employ this powerful tool. FileZilla can easily make any level of user at home with an aging standard of file transfer.

User rating

Have you deployed FileZilla? If so, what was your experience? Would you recommend this FTP client to a fellow IT user?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

30 comments
nilesh.godhani
nilesh.godhani

In windows i am using WinSCP.. but i am missing it in Linux. Does SCP transfer is supported in FireZilla ?

bri_sull
bri_sull

To be fair, this only happens when I leave a connection open for a long time (like overnight). On Windows, it will always reconnect without any trouble but in OS X it always closes. This has been the behavior through many upgrades. Great program despite. Anyone else experience this?

NexS
NexS

I have to say that I'm quite happy with it. though I am afraid that if i update it (like it asked me to do last night!) I'll have to find my FTP credentials!! There's some neat options available when copying over files which i've found quite useful (ie: only if file is newer) which is handy for making changes to websites. I still haven't had a change to interrogate it's full functionality, but i'm sure it'd only be good. Right? ;)

kacaudle
kacaudle

I have one issue with any GUI ftp program. I have some users that use FileZilla to "browse" files they have access to. They do not like command line. On more than one occasion, they have accidentally dragged complete directory structures from one part of the tree to another. Other access methods do reduce the chance of this happening. Ken C.

pgit
pgit

but then I use Linux, there is no windows gftp client. For the server nothing beats proftp. The ability to easily alias the Unix users is sort of like sandboxing. If someone cracks the ftp account they get ftp, but they do not have Unix user credentials and will get nowhere trying to elevate out of the ftp server space.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

and use a corporate FTP site to do so. Filezilla is the recommended client, and is provided on our tech resource site. I like best the persistence of the client. When I update my software store (drive images, CD images, and so on), I browse the server in the late evening. I can log in, select the files I need to transfer, drag them from the server to the local destination, then go to bed knowing they will have all transferred by morning. Great program.

Marc Thibault
Marc Thibault

As a long time 'zilla user, I have to agree with you. But what's this "old standard" stuff? Standards don't wear out, so "old" is irrelevant. I maintain a half dozen web sites by editing the files on my PC and using ftp to ship them up to the web host. Am I missing something? Is there a better way? Have I fallen behind the curve somehow?

dsk74
dsk74

FTP surely is becoming a thing of the past. Direct file transfers is the new thing... the way TCP/IP was intended to be in the first place. I use Binfer instead of FTP for data transfer. If you are interested check it out here: http://www.binfer.com

Tommy S.
Tommy S.

Which is a plugging for Firefox. Its simple, efficient and free.

zvonimir
zvonimir

I can't imagine to upload 300+ MB of finished web page to server with some kind of web interface. FileZilla rocks :)

ScottLander
ScottLander

I can guarantee that FTP clients are not going away now or anytime in the near future. In the enterprise IT world, we use FTP/SFTP all the time to transfer files to client servers. Also, in the world of web development, of which there are literally millions if not billions of web sites, FTP is how developers/designers usually transfer the website files to the web server. There are certain areas of IT where you may never touch an FTP client or server, but in other areas, you will work with FTP quite often.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It's got so many useful features, I like using the throttle settings and for my home server which is pretty ancient, I can turn off the compression.

dvpswe
dvpswe

Filezilla is my choice for FTP client. I have been using the tool for several years. My most frequent use is posting web pages created locally to my web servers. Regards, Darryl http://darrylpendergrass.com

pgit
pgit

Go to 'transfer (menu)--->manual transfer' and there is a drop down on the right called "server type." Your secure options are on there. It will use scp on the backend.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My installation has retained the server and account information through numerous updates. For the corporate site, my password changes monthly, so I have to type all that stuff in anyway. After three years, it's second nature, now. ftp.ourserver.com < tab > userid@ourserver.com < tab > password < enter > :0 I've been doing it so long, it took longer to type in the obfuscated address than it would have to enter the actual one! :^0

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

For example, this tutorial addresses the Filezilla server and how to set up and configure user accounts. The server administrator configures the server to lock directories or limit user actions. Any server admin who doesn't do that deserves what he/she gets.

dsk74
dsk74

Filezilla is great. We use it for uploading files to and from our hosting server. We also use Binfer with clients who have difficulties setting up FTP or dont have a FTP server. It does direct computer to computer file transfers and has proven useful more than once. Another tool to keep our clients happy. The site is http://www.binfer.com

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But there is no way it would meet our requirements. A 1GB cap? You must be kidding. I transfer that in a week.

martian
martian

I actually like this ftp client, however, it does have a limitation that is built in. It is unable to "see" very large files for some reason. We have dvd images made available to us at work so that we can install programs for our users, CAD and the like, but FZ is unable to see these large ISOs. I've had to resort to Core ftp lite for those times, but still use FZ the rest of the time. They need to fix this. Hope this helps someone.

NexS
NexS

I guess I'm just lazy. I'll do the update when I get home tonight. I'll hold you personally responsible if it blows up. :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I work with 8-10 GB image files and have no problems seeing or downloading them with Filezilla.

NexS
NexS

To do so. If only for 'larf' values.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Hold me responsible, that is. I'd be personally devastated if anything were to happen. . . . Or not. :p

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Just local user/ pass in HFS. Good enough for us. :)

pgit
pgit

What are you using to authenticate users?

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Our management wanted client less, so I installed an HFS server with STunnel SSL proxy to encrypt authentication and data transfer. Works pretty well, but I am now the keeper of it even though I have passed it off to our support staff. :0 Oh well, it had been 4 or 5 years since I had done any server admin so I kind of enjoy it again, for now. :p

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's configured to allow GET access to all users, but only certain users have PUT access. This eliminates the problem where somebody's finger slips off (or on) the mouse and they knacker the directory structure by dragging things around. Only one or two directories allow general PUT access. With over 500 employees, and very limited outside access, this is the most economical method for us.

dsk74
dsk74

I did miss your previous response. You are right that the free version has 1 GB cap, but only for the sender, receivers dont pay. We are on one of the package plans. Its much more convenient for certain clients. Our first priority is to do whats easier for the client, and second is to use free software :-)

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