Cloud

Review: File transfers with WS_FTP Professional

WS_FTP Professional is an full featured FTP client that supports a wide range of connections and a wide variety of scripting and automation options.

WS_FTP Professional is an extremely full featured FTP client. It supports a wide range of connections, has a UI that is well designed, and supports a wide variety of scripting and other automation options. If there is something you want to do with FTP operations, WS_FTP Professional can probably do it.

Specifications

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP SP2, Vista, and Windows Server 2003 (32 bit), 2008 (32 bit)
  • System Requirements: 32MB RAM and 32MB disk space
  • Additional Information: Product Web site
  • For a closer look, check out the TechRepublic Spotlight Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

WS_FTP Professional is a good fit for people who do a lot of FTP transfers, particularly transfers to a variety of hosts. Users willing to read the help file, or experiment a bit, will get a lot more bang for their buck, as WS_FTP Professional has many layers of functionality beyond basic file transfers.

What problems does it solve?

Every operating system ships with some sort of FTP client, and every Web browser is able to work with FTP as well. However, some users have more sophisticated needs than what the built-in OS and browser FTP clients are designed to handle. For these users, a special purpose FTP application is needed. WS_FTP Professional is an extremely full featured FTP client, built to handle the needs of advanced FTP users.

Standout features

  • Lots of file transfer options: WS_FTP Professional supports a huge number of FTP servers and encryption options.
  • Highly automatable: WS_FTP Professional has many options for automating its functionality, including scripting.
  • Great UI: WS_FTP is built for only one function, and the user interface supports that functionality well.

What's wrong?

  • Cost: WS_FTP is not free, in direct comparison to many of its competitors. At this time, upgrades between major versions require a current maintenance contract.
  • Overkill for many users: While WS-FTP may be a Swiss Army knife, many FTP users just need a simple screwdriver.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

The FTP connectivity built into most operating systems and Web browsers is just inadequate for anything other than the simplest tasks. If you are someone who needs to do more than shuffle a few files back and forth via FTP a few times a month, you probably need an FTP application that can do more than "the basics." Depending upon your needs, there are a wide variety of free and inexpensive FTP clients out there.

WS_FTP Professional falls at the very top end of the scale both in terms of feature set and cost. It really is the full "kitchen sink" of FTP applications. Every imaginable feature, encryption option, and automation possibility (right down to shutting the computer off after the transfer is completed) are supported.

Need to synchronize file systems? WS_FTP Professional has you covered. Are you a freelance Web designer who needs to easily access the Web sites for multiple customers throughout the day? The multi-tabbed interface had you covered.

Luckily for the less advanced users, WS_FTP Professional lets you discover the features as you need them. For the most basic functionality, WS_FTP Professional has a UI which is easy to understand. Given WS_FTP Professional's price, if you are not going to use any of its advanced features, you will want to check out the other free and inexpensive FTP clients on the market, including WS_FTP Professional's "little brother," WS_FTP Home.

User rating

Have you encountered or used WS_FTP Professional? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out.

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About Justin James

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

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