Choosing the Best FTP Client in 2017

By Cody Arsenault
Updated on January 27, 2017
Choosing the Best FTP Client in 2017

While most web hosting dashboards try to make managing files as straightforward as possible, a good file transfer protocol client can help simplify the job for serious web developers. Furthermore, there are certain cases where a solid FTP client is required such as the case when uploading data to a KeyCDN Push Zone. FTP clients allow users to quickly download, upload or update website files without having to navigate endless dialog boxes.

In addition to being secure, most FTP clients are lightweight and consume few resources. If you ask a bunch of web developers which client is superior, you'll get dozens of responses, so here is a guide to the most popular free and premium options to help you decide which one is the best FTP client for your needs and preferences.

The FTP clients below are listed in no particular order.

Best free FTP clients

1. FileZilla

As far as free FTP clients go, FileZilla is a favorite among developers thanks to its intuitive UI and impressive protocol support. This lightweight, multi-platform FTP client installs in under two minutes, so you can get to work right away. However, FileZilla's biggest selling point is the comprehensive set of documentation the FTP client comes with, which makes it very easy for newer developers to navigate. Features such as filename filters and the ability to compare two directories makes juggling a large number of files more manageable. Certain professional web developers may turn their noses up at the limited UI, but this simple FTP client is powerful enough for most jobs.

Notable FileZilla Features:

  • Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux
  • Supports FTP, FTPS, SFTP and IPv6
  • Tab-based interface and easy login
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • Synchronized browsing
  • Pause and resume option for uploading large files

2. Cyberduck

Cyberduck is well known for its visually appealing UI, but the popular FTP client also has a wealth of options for keeping your files organized. The Quick Look feature allows you to easily preview files, and the transfer section offers plenty of choices to help streamline synchronization. What makes Cyberduck a candidate for best FTP client is easy integration of external editors, which allows for instantaneous file editing. Like FileZilla, Cyberduck is open source and multi-platform, but there is currently no Linux version unfortunately. Integration with system technologies like Finder and keychain make Cyberduck especially appealing to Mac users.

Notable Cyberduck Features:

  • Unparalleled bookmarking feature
  • Supports external editors for instantaneous file editing
  • Supports FTP, SFTP, OpenStack Swift, WebDAV and Amazon S3
  • Advanced SSH functionality
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Convenient system tray notifications

3. Free FTP

Free FTP doesn't contain all of the bells and whistles that premium tools offer, but it's likely to satisfy a lot of developers. If you really like Free FTP, the company that made it offers a premium version with more advanced features called Direct FTP.

Notable Free FTP Features:

  • Minimalistic UI
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • Supports FTP, SFTP, FTPS and HTTP
  • Convenient bookmark and history features
  • Handy status bar
  • Code completion
  • One-click backup

4. FireFTP

While FireFTP isn't a stand-alone FTP Client, it offers many of the same features as its competitors. FireFTP is an add-on that can be integrated with Mozilla Firefox, so you can manage your files without leaving your browser window. Of course, the catch is that you must use Firefox, but fortunately, FireFTP works just as well in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It's also free.

Some developers may need more features than FireFTP has to offer, but they can still use it as an auxiliary tool since FireFTP is convenient for quick uploads or downloads. If your internet connection is interrupted while transferring files, the transfer will resume automatically when a connection is established. The simple UI makes FireFTP especially user-friendly for beginners.

Notable FireFTP Features:

  • Supports FTP, SSL, TLS, SFTP, FXP and IPv6
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • File compression
  • Proxy support
  • Timestamp synchronization
  • File Hashing
  • Compatible with Firefox Portable
  • Available in more than 20 language


FOFF, or Free Open FTP Face, is another open source, multi-platform client for Windows, Mac, Linux and BSD. The UI was designed with simplicity in mind, and although it lacks the range of features provided by premium clients, FOFF is one of the more convenient options for managing files between local and remote directories. There are other free clients that contain more features, but if you just need a basic FTP client, FOFF will suit your needs. You can download FOFF from the Ubuntu repository.

Notable FOFF Features:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Simple UI
  • Written in python
  • Bookmark manager
  • Audio player
  • Text viewer
  • Single-click file compression and decompression

6. WinSCP

WinSCP is another free, lightweight client similar to FileZilla. Initially created as a tool for securely copying files between two computers, WinSCP also serves as an excellent FTP client. Consequently, WinSCP's key feature is its superior security. WinSCP can open plain text files in your favorite editor. When you save the file, WinSCP automatically uploads your alterations to the remote server. The only downside for some developers is that WinSCP is exclusive to Windows, but regular Windows users will find this client's UI to be extremely intuitive.

Notable WinSCP Features:

  • Fast and lightweight
  • Supports FTP, SCP, SFTP and WebDAV protocols
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • Integrated text editor allows for quick file editing
  • Remote editing capabilities
  • Synchronized browsing
  • Convenient shortcut icons
  • More than 30 language options
  • Portable version available

7. AndFTP

Sometimes, you just don't feel like sitting in front of your computer waiting for files to transfer, which is why there is AndFTP. Considered by many developers to be the best FTP client exclusively for Android, AndFTP is a lightweight option that allows you transfer files from your tablet or smartphone while you focus on other things. Since making transfers from an Android device comes with extra security risks, the makers of AndFTP promise enhanced security features.

It's especially useful for multi-tasking student developers who are constantly on the go, but professional developers also use AndFTP as a supplementary client when they just need to quickly upload something. While it obviously lacks advanced features, there is little to complain about considering AndFTP is free. You can upgrade to AndFTP Pro if you need more support, but make sure to download the most recent version since it includes many bug fixes, extra encryption, and small screen support.

Notable AndFTP Features:

  • Supports FTP, FTPS, SCP and SFTP
  • Custom FTP and SCP commands support
  • Resume support
  • Delete file support
  • SSH, RSA, and DSA private key authentication support
  • Share support
  • Open files via app
  • Local and remote file browsers
  • Active and passive FTP modes
  • Multiple language options

Best premium FTP clients

8. Transmit

A large group of developers swear that Transmit is best FTP client exclusively available for Mac. Apple enthusiasts will grasp the UI right away. Purportedly, Transmit features a Twin-Turbo engine that significantly boosts the speed of transfers, which makes Transmit 25x faster than some other FTP clients. Furthermore, multi-connection support ensures the stability of your large transfers. If time is a high priority for your projects, Transmit is an ideal FTP client for you. In addition to the standard features, you can set advanced server preferences in the Transfer section. You have to pay to use Transmit, but given the low price tag, any developer who primarily works with Macs likely won't be disappointed.

Notable Transmit Features:

  • Permits exceptionally fast transfers
  • Supports FTP, SFTP and WebDAV
  • Supports Amazon CloudFront
  • Built-in editor
  • Favorite button
  • Bandwidth limiting
  • Advanced file skipping options

9. CuteFTP

Don't let the name fool you; CuteFTP is a powerful FTP client that allows for fast file transfers. You can make up to 100 transfers at once, and TappIn support lets you share files between computers and mobile devices almost instantaneously. CuteFTP frequently asks for your password, which some developers may find annoying, but it's considered one of the most secure FTP clients around.

CuteFTP has all of the features you'd expect out of a professional FTP client and them some. The advanced search tool is especially helpful if you're managing a large volume of files. Although CuteFTP is available for both Windows and Mac, the Mac version doesn't have as many features as the Windows version. Consequently, the Windows version is more expensive. You can try either one for free for 30 days. Make sure to pick up the newest edition, which is a consolidation of the Lite, Home, and Pro editions of CuteFTP.

Notable CuteFTP Features:

  • Supports FTP, HTTP, SSL, SFTP and WebDav
  • Supports UNICODE
  • Supports Tappin, OpenPGP encryption, and OTP
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • Built-in text editor
  • Password manager
  • Advanced authentication protocol
  • Comprehensive customer service

10. SmartFTP

The premium version of SmartFTP is another great option for professional users thanks to its extensive protocol support. In addition to performing important tasks like backup, SmartFTP has a Visual Compare feature that allows you to easily keep two directories in sync. The integrated editor is perfectly suited for professional developers as it contains convenient features like syntax highlighting. If you're curious about SmartFTP, the limited version can help you get a feel for the client, but you'll have to pay to enjoy all of its features. Fortunately, you can get plans for multiple users at a discount. Unfortunately, SmartFTP is only available for Windows.

Notable SmartFTP Features:

  • Ideal for a wide variety of professional projects
  • Supports FTP, FTPS, SSH, SFTP and WebDAV
  • Supports Amazon S3, Google Drive, OneDrive
  • Developer-oriented integrated editor
  • Allows secure mobile file sharing via tapping
  • Works with Windows 10

11. FlashFXP

FlashFXP is becoming standard in many offices due to its versatility. With an interface that resembles Windows Explorer, FlashFXP will make most developers feel right at home. On the downside, it's currently only available for Windows. On top of the integrated file scheduling system, FlashFXP contains a wealth of tools for webmasters. If you're concerned about the security and integrity of your transfers, FlashFXP is an ideal option for you.

Notable FlashFXP Features:

  • Excellent performance and connectivity
  • Supports FTP, FTPS and SFTP
  • Drag-and-drop file transfers
  • Strong password encryption
  • Synchronized browsing and folder bookmarks
  • Pattern based file highlighting

12. Commander One / Total Commander

Commander One is a free dual pane file manager for mac. However, the pro version allows you to use the built-in FTP manager while giving you the flexibility to use two panels to work more efficiently. Additionally, if you are a Windows users, Total Commander is the Windows-compatible alternative. It is offered as shareware software and both options offer an array of features.

Notable Commander One FTP Features:

  • Supports FTP, SFTP, or FTPS
  • Two-panel support
  • Safely stores server settings and passwords are kept in keychain
  • Multiple connections
  • FTP server as a local drive

Notable Total Commander Features:

  • Two file windows side by side
  • Compare files
  • Built-in FTP client with FXP and HTTP proxy support
  • Tabbed interface, regular expressions, and history / favorites buttons
  • Support for a few additional addons (tools and plugins)

13. WebDrive

WebDrive is another premium FTP client that's easy to use thanks to its simple interface. It allows you to work with cloud storage and corporate servers through one common access point. It also allows you to preconfigure settings (such as protocols, IPs, ports, etc) and push them out to your users in order to reduce the installation setup time.

Notable WebDrive features:

  • Supports SFTP
  • Uses S/KEY Password Encryption (MD4 & MD5 for supported FTP servers)
  • Supports file caching for quicker access
  • Offers a backup utility
  • Supports ZLIB compression on SFTP transfers
  • Access SFTP or cloud servers as mounted devices


Which is the best FTP client for you? That will depend on several factors including your OS of choice, your priorities and how much money you're willing to spend. Given the wealth of options, you could make a list of the qualities you desire in an FTP client and probably find several that match your criteria. Since professional developers don't always get to pick which software they have to use at the office, being well versed in all of the best FTP client options will make you more marketable. Nonetheless, there is absolutely no reason to stick with a cumbersome FTP client when there are so many alternatives to choose from.

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