If you own a website, have a home network, or otherwise need to transport files between two PCs, you’ve likely come across File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and FTP programs. I’ve used 20 or so FTP programs over the last 12 years and there are literally hundreds, if not thousands available. In this article, I list my top five. If you know of a program you really like, which is not here, let us know in the comments.
You may also want to check out:
- Top 5 Remote Access Applications [2010 Edition]
- Home Network Setup, Sharing, Streaming, and Backup Series
FireFTP is unique to this list as it is not a standalone program—this is a Firefox extension. The reason I really like this program is because you don’t need to install separate software and you have access to it when you browse the web. The feature set is limited (often a bonus manifest in lack of bloat) but it does the job of transferring files between computers. I’ve used this software on computers where I don’t want to install a full-fledged program. If you’re new to FTP but know how to use Firefox extensions, you should probably start with this one.
I use PuTTY on my work PC and it’s a solid piece of software. I don’t have much to say about it other than, if you’re a geek, you’ll likely want to use this program over the rest listed here. PuTTY comes with the most bells and whistles (don’t get me wrong, it’s not flashy looking and it’s not bloatware) and will keep nerds entertained day and night!
Tunnelier is my current Windows FTP client of choice. With it, I can connect to any of my web servers, other PCs in my home, and connect via SSH to my iPhone. These are standard features of most FTP programs, but I really like how this client is packaged and how it uses little system resources. (P.S. I just realized Windows Guides’s IP is in this screenshot (type 126.96.36.199 in your browser’s address bar… where does it take you?)
I also like how, if configured correctly, you can connect to a client PC, via remote desktop, with this program. Having access to the command line is a big plus (and, once again, a standard feature) but I’ve been using this software for over a year now and am really happy with it.
WinSCP was my FTP client of choice when I started Windows Guides (alongside FileZilla, which didn’t make it to the list.)
This program has everything you need for file transfer, secured file transfer, and more. This, like PuTTY, is a favorite among the geeks for its all-round feature set and free price tag.
Windows Command Prompt
If you really want to get down and dirty, the Windows command prompt has all you need. Just open the command prompt and run the ftp command to go into FTP mode. From there you open the desired connection and authenticate. Typing help will give you a list of available commands.
Which FTP software do you use and why?