Building a website requires files and folders. Building a complicated website requires a seemingly endless supply of files and folders. If you’re a developer or designer it becomes incredibly overwhelming. You may forget where a media file was moved to or maybe a theme folder has gone missing or didn’t transfer to the server properly. Regardless of your problems, you need one of the best FTP clients to help you stay organized.

What’s the Point of an FTP Client?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it allows you to connect your local files on a computer to an online server. For instance, you may be creating a WordPress site. In that case, you could build a website on your computer, then eventually move all of the files to your server and launch your website for the world to see. In short, it gives you the opportunity to organize your files, make edits in a private environment, and also check to see if anything is going wrong.

All FTP clients are different but the important thing to know is that you want a client that works on your Operating System and you’re looking for a user interface that’s easy to move around and sort out the folders.

Today, hosting companies typically have one-click buttons for installing these files on platforms like WordPress. However, an FTP client is still an excellent training and troubleshooting tool for those beginners and advanced developers. It’s also wise to always have a local version of your website saved on a computer.

Features to Look for in the Best FTP Clients

FTP clients are so similar in some ways but sometimes you find a little feature in one of them that makes it significantly more useful for you. That said, these are the features you should be primarily considering:

The Best FTP Clients on the Market Today

  1. FileZilla
  2. Cyberduck
  3. ForkLift
  4. Transmit
  5. WinSCP
  6. WS_FTP® Professional
  7. Commander One PRO
  8. Core FTP LE
  9. CuteFTP
  10. Free FTP

In-Depth Reviews of the Best FTP Clients

Some of the best FTP clients are extremely similar in terms of features and their interfaces. Some are drastically different. We encourage you to start by looking at which of the FTP clients are supported on your Operating System. Then, take our in-depth reviews below into consideration!

Let’s start.

1. FileZilla (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

One of the most popular names in the FTP game is Filezilla. Not only is FileZilla free and easy to download, but it doesn’t take long to understand the inner workings of the entire system. Although FileZilla has a bit of an outdated interface, all users are able to link to their site files and place them next to what’s being stored on a computer.

The majority of FileZilla users have Windows machines, but you can also download software for all Operating Systems, including older versions such as Windows 7.

Best FTP Clients: FileZilla

FileZilla

The FileZilla interface offers a main window (where you’ll spend most of your time,) a site manager, and a filename filter area. You can search for certain elements in the files, and configure settings all by switching between tabs located on the main menu. As mentioned, most of the work is done on the main window, where you’ll see a side-by-side display with local site files on the left and the remote site on the right.

With a simple login using your host, username, and password you’re able to add files to a queue for transfer and even drag and drop your files from one side to the other. Status reports are shown in several areas, and it usually provides an error pretty quickly to let you know if you did something wrong.

Sometimes Filezilla doesn’t show all the files as default. If you want to see hidden files we have a short tutorial you can follow and fix this issue.

Important

There have been several reports of downloads containing malware and viruses from the SourceForge website (which offers a FileZilla download). Your best bet is to go directly to the FileZilla website for the safest and most reliable download file.

 

What Makes FileZilla a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

FileZilla is one of the best all-around FTP clients on the market. It may take a bit to get used to the interface, but it supports all Operating Systems and many of the older versions. It’s definitely more likely to be used by people with Windows, but the option for Mac and Linux users is there. In addition, we like FileZilla for those who want the side-by-side drag and drop comparison.

2. Cyberduck (Windows and Mac)

Cyberduck doesn’t provide support for Linux, but Mac and Windows users find it rather simple to use and fast for transferring files to and from local and remote locations. Feel free to download the FTP client from the Cyberduck website or you have options for downloads on the Microsoft and Mac App Stores.

This is free, open source software but you can get rid of donation prompts and even receive a registration key if you’d like to donate more than $10 to the developers.

Best FTP Clients: Cyberduck

Cyberduck

The Cyberduck interface is more modern when compared to other FTP Clients (FileZilla included) and it links your website to external storage locations such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

One of the benefits of Cyberduck is the “cryptomator,” which adds an extra side of encryption during your transfers for added security. Along with that, we enjoy that Cyberduck hooks you up to the cloud while also giving you the opportunity to share files with the help of a quick web URL.

What Makes Cyberduck a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

You can’t use Cyberduck if you’re on Linux. However, Windows and Mac users rather appreciate the modern, clean interface that Cyberduck has to offer.

In addition, it’s great for those users who want to sync with alternative, third-party cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Really, if you’re more interested in linking to cloud storage, this is the right FTP client for you (and my personal preference).

3. ForkLift (Mac)

ForkLift is a Mac-only file manager and transfer client with dual panes for comparing multiple file locations and moving them back and forth. Remote connections are available for things like Amazon S3 and Google Drive. Not to mention, you have the ability to connect to multiple servers at the same time, giving you more versatility if you have more than one transfer to complete.

ForkLift does have a free trial but the core software requires a payment of $29.95 for a single license. The family license can be used on three computers for $49.95, while the small business license goes on up to five Macs, all for the price of $99.95. ForkLift also offers education discounts for teachers and students.

Best FTP Clients: ForkLift

ForkLift

The main file manager links your remote servers to the local environment, using a drag and drop system with nice visuals so you can see which files are being managed. In addition, the side-by-side comparison lets you see everything in one window and move them from file to file. It’s a fresh interface that should go along with the sleekness that Mac users are accustomed to.

What Makes ForkList a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

ForkLift only works for Mac users, so Windows and Linux folks should look at some of the other FTP clients. As for choosing ForkLift based on features, consider it if you’d like access to many remote connections, some of which include Google Drive, SMB, and NFS. This is also a premium software, so if you don’t want to pay for an FTP client then you need to look for something else.

4. Transmit (Mac)

If you’re a Mac user who’s looking for something different than ForkLift, Transmit has some unique features that make it stand out on its own. On the surface, Transmit provides a wonderful interface for managing your files and linking them to several servers at one time. You can upload, manage, and download all from one place, while also connecting to favorites like Box, Google Drive, and Backblaze.

As with many of the Mac FTP clients, Transmit has a free trial to test. However, the main software sells for a price of $45. This is only for one license, but you receive discounts the more licenses you purchase. For instance, 10 copies of Transmit cost $43 per copy. It’s not a huge discount, but decent for companies that need the extra copies.

Best FTP Clients: Transmit

Transmit

One of the main selling points of Transmit is that it boasts a significant speed boost compared to other FTP clients. It also offers a side-by-side module, visuals of your files, and excellent shortcuts for finding your files in no time. Overall, the Transmit FTP client seems to excel with its cloud support and file searching tools.

What Makes Transmit a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

You should only consider Transmit if you’re a Mac user. Outside of that, we recommend comparing Transmit and Forklift to see which one has the remote servers you need. Other than that, Transmit is for those who want a clean interface with fast upload and transfer speeds. The shortcuts are also great for improving your workflow.

5. WinSCP (Windows)

WinSCP, as you may assume from the name, only works on Windows computers. It’s a free file manager and FTP client that connects your remote and local environments. The open source project has over 124 million downloads as of this article and its popularity only seems to be increasing. The user interface looks somewhat similar to FileZilla, with a dual-pane module for transferring files.

You can also customize your main page with multiple tabs, varying commands, and sessions. Multiple sessions are possible on the same screen, allowing you to complete more work at one time.

Best FTP Clients: WinSCP

WinSCP

The feature-base for WinSCP looks plentiful and easy to use. In addition, you can find all sorts of information about the product on the WinSCP website. Some of the resources include in-depth documentation, a user forum, and options for getting customer support.

What Makes WinSCP a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

WinSCP isn’t an option for Mac or Linux users. It makes sense for those who want a strictly Windows-based FTP client. We like it mostly for the simplicity of the interface. If you only want the basic necessities, WinSCP looks like a good option for you.

6. WS_FTP® Professional

WS_FTP Professional has over 40 million users. One of the reasons for this is because WS_FTP provides extreme levels of encryption, easy customization, and advanced admin tools. Starting with the security, WS_FTP protects all files at all points of the transfer process. This includes prior to and after the file transfers. Multiple forms of encryption are used to make sure that all of your files are protected inside WS FTP.

This type of security makes WS_FTP a premium FTP client. Therefore, you’ll have to pay the $49.95 per license for a single user. You can take advantage of community and email support if you upgrade to the professional option, starting at $89.95.

Best FTP Clients: WS_FTP® Professional

WS_FTP® Professional

Besides the encryption, WS_FTP has some other ways to keep your files safe from harm. First of all, every file is backed up based on a schedule. You can also compress some of these backups to store them on other machines or USB drives. The syncing is also done automatically, so you can send those files to remote servers and not worry about them getting lost elsewhere.

What Makes WS_FTP a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

Security is the name of the game for WS FTP. The FIPS 140-2 Validated Cryptography and the integrated file encryption come together for the ultimate protection for all important files. Pair this with the backups and syncs and you should have no problems keeping your files on lockdown. Because of that, we like WS FTP the most for Windows users who want the best security.

7. Commander One PRO (Mac)

Commander One does have a free version that you are more than welcome to download. However, we’re focusing more on the premium Commander One PRO FTP client for a few reasons. First of all, the feature-set is far superior when you upgrade to the Pro version. Secondly, the personal license for Pro is only $29.99. After that, you could get the team version for $99.99 (five licenses,) or the company plan (50 licenses) for $149.99.

Best FTP Clients: Commander One

Commander One

Commander One PRO supports transfers with FTP, SFTP, and FTPS. It’s a reliable and fairly fast client for quickly transferring, uploading, and moving items from server to server. Multiple connections are possible, and the tabbed browsing is sure to make your workflow more efficient.

The developers also have a new release called Commander One PRO 2. This introduces many cloud syncing opportunities such as Backblaze B2, Box Cloud, and Amazon S3. All of these servers are linked with the help of a beautiful connection manager. Therefore, you always have access to your connections in one place–even if you have five or ten connections going at the same time.

What Makes Commander One PRO a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

Windows and Linux users can skip Commander One PRO altogether. If you’re a Mac user with a need for multiple connections and a highly customizable interface, Commander One PRO might just be for you. It also has great support for compression files.

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8. Core FTP LE (Windows)

Core FTP LE wasn’t always free but now you have the option to either pay for the Pro version or the LE version. In our opinion, Core FTP LE should work just fine for the majority of users, with its basic interface, dual-panel layout, and striking similarity to that of FileZilla. The main difference is that Core FTP LE only dedicates its development to the Windows software, so you may find it more focused on that type of experience.

Having said that, the file manager provides modules for transfers and dragging and dropping, along with a status section to understand if and when your file will go from a local site to a remote one. The majority of your tasks are performed on the same window, allowing you to search for files in a long hierarchy and bookmark the items most important to you.

Best FTP Clients: Core FTP LE

Core FTP LE

As mentioned, the main features you need from Core FTP LE are free. However, you can upgrade to the Pro version for $24.95. As for the website, you can find many support resources for your own research or to speak with other community members.

For example,  you do have the option to send an email to the developer, or you could post that same question in the forums and hear from other users. Some other tabs on the website include an FAQ, feature list, and documentation.

What Makes Core FTP LE a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

You can only use Core FTP LE with a Windows machine. We feel like Core FTP LE is a great alternative to FileZilla. Maybe you don’t like some of the shortcuts or the overall interface on FileZilla. In that case, try this one out to see if it provides any relief. The transfers are fast and secure, so you should be able to find a solution between the two of them.

9. CuteFTP (Windows)

CuteFTP is owned by a company called Globalscape. It’s only available for use on Windows platforms, and it requires a $59.99 per year payment. Most years the developers come out with a new version. In that case, you can upgrade for a fee of $29.99. CuteFTP also has one year of maintenance and support for an additional $30.

The basis behind CuteFTP is to provide an FTP client with an easy-to-use interface, plenty of automation, and industry-leading security. The security is definitely covered, with the use of things like password authentication, powerful encryption, and a password manager.

Best FTP Clients: CuteFTP

CuteFTP

What’s great about a premium FTP file manager is that you receive an onslaught of online resources and actual, human customer support. Globalscape provides a full support knowledgebase, an online help file, and user guide.

You’re able to contact the customer support team via phone or a chatbox. In short, sometimes an FTP transfer causes big problems for your organization. That’s when it’s nice to speak with a real person. That’s when paying a small fee for an FTP client pays off.

What Makes CuteFTP a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

If you use a Windows computer, CuteFTP might be for you. It’s one of the few premium Windows FTP clients, so you gain access to incredible customer support and some unusual features you can’t find in FileZilla or other open source projects. So, we enjoy the CuteFTP client if you’d like superior automation, security, and customer support on a Windows machine.

10. Free FTP (Windows)

Free FTP has both free and paid versions for you to test out and potentially upgrade if that’s what you need in terms of features. The premium version is listed at $39 and it does have a free trial if you’d rather give it a try instead of sticking to the free version. As of right now, Free FTP is supported on Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista.

The premium software is actually called Direct FTP, but it’s made by the same developers and simply improves on what is provided in the free alternative.

Starting off with those premium features, if you’d like to pay for Direct FTP, you gain access to standard file transfer and editing tools. It takes the interface a step further by providing a complete web design toolset for quick edits and organization of files. Everything can be edited right on your server, and all uploads are reliable and fast to ensure the highest performance. Overall, the premium version (Direct FTP) adds little bits and pieces such as more secure file transfer, customizable syntax highlighting, and file permissions for folders.

Best FTP Clients: Free FTP

Free FTP

Many people won’t even consider paying for an FTP, so let’s move onto the actual Free FTP software. This particular tool specializes in super simple and fast uploads to your servers. Dragging and dropping is provided, along with several other tools that are great for beginners and advanced users alike. The status of all file transfers is ordered in a beautiful list to see exactly what has been transferred and what is in the process of uploading.

Bookmarks are simple and intuitive, and the file management all happens inside the program for tasks like adding, launching, and moving files. The backup tools are also nice so that you can save a ZIP folder of your website files with the click of a button.

What Makes Free FTP a Great Option:

Is This FTP Client Right for You?

Free FTP should work well for those who want a clean, simple workspace. You get the basics without any of the extras that usually aren’t needed for the average user. In addition, you can get code completion features and support for HTTPS and TSL if you have no problem paying for the premium version.

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Which of the Best FTP Clients Should You Go For?

Hopefully, our recommendations allow you to cut down your FTP clients list and make a selection. If you need a little more help, here are some final suggestions:

And that’s all we have for the best FTP clients! If you have any further questions or would like to let us know about your favorite clients, write a comment in the section below.


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