Cloud

Five solid FTP clients that also happen to be free

FTP isn't going away anytime soon and for anyone looking for a solid FTP client, here are five free tools that should meet nearly any need.

No matter how embedded into our lives cloud computing becomes, there are still plenty of companies and individuals that rely upon good old fashion file transfer protocol (FTP). There's a reason for that. FTP is easy to use, reliable, and can be set up securely.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

But we are no longer in the nineties and having to pay for an FTP client shouldn't be necessary. There are plenty of tools available that range in the simple, single-minded FTP application to the feature-rich, more complicated tool. With that in mind, I have found five FTP clients that should fit nearly any situation and do so without costing you or your department a penny.

Five Apps

1. FileZilla

FileZilla is a cross platform client (Windows, Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X, and more) that offers tons of features, such as support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS), and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It supports resume and files over 4GB. It has a site manager and transfer queue, a powerful filtering system, an easy to use networking configuring wizard, and much more. Filezilla is GPL and works seamlessly with FileZill Server.

2. gFTP

gFTP hasn't been in development for a while, but still stands as a solid FTP solution for the Linux desktop. gFTP features FTP, FTPS (control connection only), HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, and FSP protocols. It also features FTP and HTTP proxy server support, and bookmarks tools. It supports FXP file transfer, UNIX, EPLF, Novell, MacOS, VMS, MVS, and NT (DOS) style directory listings. Though the development of gFTP seems to have stopped (latest stable release in 2008), the software still works on the latest releases of nearly every distribution (tested on Ubuntu 12.10 to make sure).

3. Free FTP

Free FTP is all about simplicity. From the interface to the features, with Free FTP you will be transferring files quickly and easily. Features include multiple server profiles, the ability to transfer files in binary, ASCII, or auto mode. Free FTP includes drag and drop support and an easy to use and unique bookmarks tool. Free FTP works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8. With the bookmarks tool you can not only save server information but local information - so transferring files from a specific directory to a specific server is as simple as selecting a bookmark and then dragging and dropping the files to be transferred.

4. BareFTP

BareFTP is another Linux client that makes use of the Mono framework on the GNOME desktop environment. BareFTP focuses on simplicity and supports transfers with the following protocols: FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS), and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). Any level of user would be immediately at home with the BareFTP interface. Unlike gFTP, BareFTP is still in development (though the developer has been on a temporary hiatus due to other projects). Because of the issues with Mono, BareFTP is being ported into a strict Python port.

5. FireFTP

FireFTP is a unique FTP solution in that it is an addon for the Firefox browser. Because of this, it not only works across platforms, it also already works within a familiar environment. FireFTP features: SSL/TLS/SFTP support, directory comparison, and support for nearly all encoding. It also features a search and filter system, integrity checks, drag and drop, remote editing, file hashing, proxy support, FXP support, timestamp synchronization, CHMOD and recursive CHMOD changes, and much more.

Bottom line

FTP isn't going away anytime soon and for anyone looking for a solid FTP client, here are five free tools that should meet nearly any need. Whether you're looking for a simple tool or one with plenty of features - you'll find what you're looking for here.

Also read:

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.

20 comments
Mycle cleark
Mycle cleark

You left out FTP Manager Lite. Very intuitive to use for everyone and super quick transfers.

hackomania
hackomania

I always go with FileZilla, any day, any time. And it works as a portable application in fact. FileZilla the best for me

dkaparunakis
dkaparunakis

cyberduck..... Please state your experience in computers Thanks

Jiggy Gaton
Jiggy Gaton

For the price of a cheap thumb drive, I find Transmit a good value, as you get a nice interface that works like a champ, and works very well with my mac mini servers running PureFTPd. But thx for the freebies review...

hkphooey
hkphooey

Possibly worth mentioning the command-line FTP clients for scripting purposes: I use wget and aria2c And in fact sometimes its easier to get a command prompt and use these than normal FTP clients. I particularly like aria2c's ability to use multiple connections, and both client's ability to continue/resume downloads. I just found out that aria2c has a web interface, so maybe it does qualify. Or maybe command line FTP is a subject unto itself.

sdupor
sdupor

Very fast and easy to use. Works with SFTP. Free. Just enough for all my needs.

mmason
mmason

I have not used filezilla in a while because I use the secureFX & SecureCRT package from VanDyke software. Yes I have to pay for it & certainly interested in looking into the client mentioned by maj37. What I found really nice about the SecureFX server is having multiple remote ftp windows open at once and being able to transfer files between remote servers without having to use my local laptop.It is a huge timesaver since I work with many different remote servers and often have to transfer files between them.

C_Tharp
C_Tharp

I have been told that FTP transmits username and password in clear text. If that is true why should FTP ever be used? Some of these tools support FTPS (SSL/TLS), SFTP (SSH), HTTPS, and FSP protocols. What controls the choice and which is better?

maj37
maj37

I still work with an IBM Mainframe and an AS/400 extensively. Since both support FTP several years ago I went looking for an FTP client that understood how to read their file structures. I found BlueZone FTP from BrotherSoft. It works great, for M/F, AS/400 and all other system types. It even has a secure version. The only issue has been they renamed it from BlueZone to SeaGull and back again, as the company was bought out I think. But it is still a wonderful product by any name.

Craig_B
Craig_B

I have been using FileZilla server and client for some time and find it's a very solid program.

guillegr123
guillegr123

Through portable Firefox 16.0.1. That's what I like: portability!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you still using FTP on a regular basis? What is your FTP client of choice?

marcdw
marcdw

Even on Windows I make regular use of aria2c and NcFTP. The latter is more like a suite with extras similar to wget/aria2c (ncftpget - lots of options) as well as ncftpput and ncftpls. There is an old perl (and maybe python) front-end to aria2c but my recent perl upgrades rendered it inoperative. :-(

ssmusoke
ssmusoke

Yes I agree totally, with its integration with Putty provides a single interface for having both FTP and command line access which is required for many web application deployments, since they also include archiving, database updates, permission changes etc which gives it an edge over the FileZilla usability

MartyinIT
MartyinIT

We do hundreds of transfers a week and have found SFTP to be the most common secure protocol used and the easiest to support. FTPS and others are more difficult to implement as they can use more ports through the firewall and have more options... implicit versus explicit etc..

maj37
maj37

Sorry the company is still SeaGull Software, I think, I just found it at BrotherSoft which is a download site.

MartyinIT
MartyinIT

FileZilla stores the passwords in Cleartext, big problem for an otherwise good program

Slayer_
Slayer_

If the hacker already has access to your servers file system outside of the FTP sandbox, your already in trouble, clear text passwords seem like a minor issue.

Editor's Picks