FTP Software Recommendations

If you own a blog or a website, you probably spend hours everyday uploading and downloading files back and forth between your local computer and your site. With so many FTP software titles to choose from, how do you find the best one for you? Here I have listed some must-have features to look for in any FTP software as well as four of my top recommendations.

Must-Have Features

There’s more to a high quality FTP software than just uploading and downloading files. The features I appreciate the most include a “keep alive” feature, which sends random messages to your server periodically in order to keep your connection from timing out and disconnecting. Secondly, FXP (or, server-to-server) transfers are great if you manage more than one website. FXP will allow you to send files directly from one remote server to another without having to download the files to your local computer. Lastly, my personal favorite is a scheduler. A scheduler will allow you to automate things such as website or local backups. For example, if you would like to regularly backup the information on your local computer, you can schedule a daily backup where your FTP program will automatically upload newly modified files on your computer to a remote location. This also works the other way around for backups from your remote website to your local computer as well.

With that said, I have outlined four popular FTP programs that I would recommend for anyone looking for a high quality feature-rich FTP client at a reasonable price.

1. WS_FTP Pro- http://www.ipswitch.com
Cost: $54.95

Just off the top of my head, I would probably guess that WS_FTP Pro may be the most popular FTP client software out there. Developed by Ipswitch, WS_FTP Pro is packed with tons of features that will allow you to manage your files with ease. Of course, WS_FTP Pro is not the only version Ipswitch offers. They offer a few different versions along with the option of purchasing additional support if you desire.

In addition to my must-have features of “keep alive”, FXP and scheduler, WS_FTP Pro includes some neat things such as a thumbnail display of remote images, multiple program skins and auto email notifications on file transfers.

2. Cute FTP- http://www.cuteftp.com/cuteftppro/
Cost: $59.99

Again, Cute FTP also provides my three must-have features. Similar to WS_FTP, Cute FTP also features thumbnails of remote images. This software will also automatically check for updates to your local files and folders and automatically upload them to your remote server. Another similarity between WS_FTP and Cute FTP is the utilization of tabs, which many people find convenient but I am personally not a big fan of (although I’m not quite sure why).

3. Smart FTP- http://www.smartftp.com/
Cost: $36.95

Add the awesome feature of on-the-fly compression along with my three must-have features, and you’ve got Smart FTP. I also enjoy the easy to maneuver and understand GUI interface. Overall, Smart FTP is probably the best FTP client you can get taking into consideration price and features. It’s an absolutely awesome software which I have heard very little complaints about.

4. Turbo FTP- http://www.turboftp.com
Cost: $39.95

This is my personal favorite and what I have been using for the last few years. I actually paid the developer to customize the software by adding a few features to Turbo FTP’s task scheduler. I suppose since I paid extra for a customized version combined with the fact that Turbo FTP has all of my must-have features and I have been using it for a while now, I have not been inclined to change. The GUI interface is very similar to Smart FTP.

Don’t think that you have to pay to customize Turbo FTP in order for it to compete with any of the other programs mentioned above. This software is very easy to use and navigate, and the developers offer great support.


If you’re shopping for a good FTP client software, I hope that the information in this article will help you to find a program that works best for you. Everyone may be using the same type of software to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, so ultimately, you’ll just have to shop around and find the particular software that works best for you.

6 thoughts on “FTP Software Recommendations

  1. I use core ftp, it’s not as good as the ones mentioned above, but it’s a free ftp client. my blog is small and new so this will do for now, but later on I will look into the ones you’ve listed. the only drawback of core ftp that i’ve encountered so far is that you have to keep logging back into it when it times out.

  2. @Pheak T:

    I have an old free version of WS_FTP.. I mean its probably from the early Win98 days. But you dont even need to install it, you just click the .exe file and go! I love it and I havn’t seen it even available anywhere in years.

  3. @Shaun – I cant believe it still works, especially from back in the Win98 days. I’m going to have to look that up and see what I can find. I like that better than the whole installation matter

  4. FTP is an obsolete and outdated protocol.
    Anyone using FTP should seriously consider using WebDAV.

    Since DAV works over HTTP, you get all the benefits of HTTP that FTP cannot provide. For example: strong authentication, encryption, proxy support, and caching. It is true that you can get some of this through SSH, but the HTTP infrastructure is much more widely deployed than SSH. Further, SSH does not have the wide complement of tools, development libraries, and applications that HTTP does.

    DAV transfers (well, HTTP transfers) are also more efficient than FTP. You can pipeline multiple transfers through a single TCP connection, whereas FTP requires a new connection for each file transferred (plus the control connection).

    Do a Google search for BarracudaDrive, which is an easy to use WebDAV server.

    You do not need a client if using Windows or Mac since a client is integrated into the operating system.

  5. @Mark:

    I don’t think FTP is obsolete. In fact, I think it will still be around and used regularly for many years to come. Sure, as technology advances there will be more options (some may be better), but I think it will take a while for hosting companies and website owners to make them mainstream.

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