The best free FTP client
It may feel like something of a blast from the past, but file transfer protocol (FTP) software still has its place.
While used far less than in the past, FTP clients offer an unparalleled level of control over not only the upload and download of files, but also the access permissions for files and folders. The software may not be as popular as it once was, but there's a still a wide choice out there.
Here are the the best FTP clients available today. Have we missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
Fast, secure and highly customizable, FileZilla is the best FTP client you can download today
One of the best known free FTP clients out there, FileZilla has earned itself a great reputation over the years - and for good reason. If you're using it to upload large files to your website (or to any server, for that matter), you'll appreciate not only the secure transfer option, but also the ability to pause and resume uploads and downloads.
For anyone who works with multiple sites or servers, bookmarking is a great timesaver. The multi-pane interface might seem a little excessive to start with, but it's something you soon get used to, and it makes to very easy navigation of remote sites. What's particularly pleasing, however, is the fact that the interface is incredibly customizable, so if there's something you don’t like, you can probably change it. A word of warning, however - watch out for the bundled software so you can opt out of it during the installation if you want to.
2. Core FTP LE
Very easy to use, with advanced features wrapped in a no-frills interface, CoreFTP is a close runner-up
A cut-down version of Core FTP Pro, Core FTP LE still has a great deal to offer, and it should be more than capable of handling your file transfer needs.
Core FTP LE looks a bit dated, but that's unlikely to be a deciding factor when you're picking an FTP client, and there are plenty of different views to work with according to your preferences. What is a slight problem, however, is the nag screen that reminds you every time you start the program that it cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Some features are exclusive to the Pro version, such as thumbnails, enhanced FTP scheduling and encryption and decryption, but Core FTP LE isn't short of useful extras. With browser integration, remote file editing, pause and resume of file transfers and support for proxies, firewalls, and htaccess and htpasswd editing, it's highly accomplished free FTP client that's well worth checking out.
A tiny browser extension that fills a gap in Firefox's arsenal of online applications
FireFTP is a little different from the other FTP clients in this roundup because it is not a standalone application. Instead it is a plugin for Firefox, bringing FTP functionality to Mozilla's web browser. This is a bog bonus if you are an existing Firefox user, but is it reason enough to switch browsers if your allegiances lie elsewhere?
Although you might feel that using a browser extension as an FTP client would mean making compromises, FireFTP is on a par with all of the other tools in this roundup. The beauty of this particular FTP client is that it is cross-platform -- if you can install Firefox, you can install FireFTP. You can use it to manage multiple sites, and drag and drop support is present even though this is an extension. Importantly, there is SSL/TLS encryption and remote editing, as well as folder comparison for checking what changes you are yet to upload.
4. Free FTP
A dependable FTP client from the people behind CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor
Like Core FTP LE, Free FTP is getting on a bit, but that's no reason to overlook it. This free client was developed by CoffeeCup Software - a software company best known for its superb free HTML editor - so being a few years old isn't a problem in the slightest.
Although this isn't an FTP client aimed at power users, it has everything you need for day-to-day file transfers, including SSH transfers, file editing, and permission editing.
The interface is customizable, but it is also plagued by ads that encourage you to upgrade to a paid-for version of the program. If you can turn a blind eye to this, you'll get on well with the program even if not every feature is completely intuitive. As well as more hardcore features such as the terminal, Free FTP includes a great option for anyone with a website -- one-click backup with the Archive feature.
A powerful FTP client that's available in both standard and portable editions
One of the great things about WinSCP is that it is available not only as a standard, installable program, but also as a portable app. This is great for anyone who regularly finds themselves working on different computers, as the software can be popped onto a USB drive and moved from machine to machine complete with all your files and settings.
WinSCP is still being actively developed and updated, so don't be put off by its retro looks; it's a superb modern FTP client.
The name derives from the fact that the program support not just FTP and SFTP, but also SCP. Switching to Commander view provides access to a wealth of advanced options, but this does make the interface a little cluttered and overwhelming; it's a delicate balancing act between power and usability.