Now, it goes without saying that if your first instinct when seeing a price on something as simple an FTP program involves screaming, laughing, or the coughing up of your own spleen, WS_FTP isn't going to be for you. It uploads files. It downloads files. It CHMODs as 666, as time permits. The basic functions are available for free in about 100 different applications.
However, if you've ever tried a professional FTP program, you'll know that things aren't quite so simple. What initially seem like bolt-on features can quickly become essential timesavers - and WS_FTP offers plenty of them to pick and choose from.
One of the most useful, particularly if you're into the blogging scene, is the ability to view your entries as thumbnails instead of just files. It takes a while to process each folder, but makes images much easier to manage. Another handles backing up, automatically pulling set files and folders from your machine and shunting them up onto the internet on whatever schedule you need.
We'd suggest making sure you're comfortable with web security first, although Compression Mode does store everything in a password protected ZIP. You can also synchronise folders between the web and your home machine, and create workspaces to keep your important connections close at hand. Finally, this version has plenty of extra error checking code to make sure that your files successfully make the jump from PC to the net.
In short, WS_FTP is an extremely polished, useful file manager. The ability to do things like hook it into any major desktop search package, giving you instant drag and drop for any file on your PC, puts it far ahead of most of the free competition, and the many bonus features make it an excellent addition to your toolbox.
That said, to justify the outlay, you'll need to spend a fair amount of time working with files. For a simple blog, features like the thumbnailer are useful, but arguably not essential - although the effectively free online backup and file synchronisation aspects of this application could perhaps tip the balance back if you're comfortable leaving files on your web server. Richard Cobbett