April 16, 2011 marked the 40th year of the existence of the file transfer protocol (FTP). As its name implies, FTP is used to move files from one location to another. It is fast, efficient, and can be used in a number of different ways depending on the task at hand. To commemorate this anniversary, let’s take a look at some popular free FTP clients.
FireFTP is an excellent FTP client that can be used within Mozilla’s FireFox web browser. It is very barebones and doesn’t have many features, but that doesn’t prevent it from doing its job. When you are doing web development, transferring files from your local machine to a web server can become a hassle if you are making a lot of fast edits. FireFTP makes this easy as you can simply switch to the tab it is on instead of bringing up a standalone FTP client. Combine this with the Firebug add-on and you will have a nice setup for rapid web development.
Core FTP Lite
This is one of the more powerful FTP clients that I have used, and it’s free of charge. A license can be purchased for $39.95 that upgrades to the “Pro” version (which includes email customer support) but the Lite version is just fine for normal use. It has a nice feature to change the view of the client in a number of different ways which allows for easy tracking of your files. Also, the GUI is very clean which makes this client very easy to use.
The two clients I previously mentioned are both very good, but my absolute favorite FTP client is FileZilla. The user interface takes some time to get accustomed to, but the power of the client easily overshadows that. A feature that can save you valuable time is the maximum transfer options. If you have 1000 files that are only a few kilobytes, turn the maximum transfers up and the transfer is done with incredible speed. This client can keep a list of frequently made connections as well, which is also a huge time saver.