File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. You might want to use FTP for any number of reasons, be you a web designer for example, or just a digital hoarder with your own server.
Either way, you’ll want to get yourself a quality and fully functional FTP client that won’t let you down whilst transferring massive files from one place to another. So, here’s our list of both free and paid applications that can get you on your way.
When it comes to file transfer protocol (FTP), Filezilla is the ubiquitous option, being free and open-source it’s a popular choice as Firefox is as a browser and Thunderbird a mail client. What you get with Filezilla is pretty comprehensive functionality, allowing you an expanse of views and options to customise your usage of the application, whilst being one of the more substantial and reliable FTP programs I’ve used.
My only qualm with Filezilla is the user interface. It just isn’t pretty, and when there are other options available that are, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer for me as I’m more pedantic than I should be when it comes to app design.
However, if my other client doesn’t work for one reason or another, Filezilla is usually the one I fall back and can rely upon.
You can download Filezilla here
Besides a cute icon, Cyberduck is one of the more fully featured and user friendly options for FTP on the Mac. Again, its open source, but this time it has a lot more than just the bare necessities you’ll get with Filezilla. Not that you can do a lot more, it just handles some of the hard work for you.
For example, Cyberduck includes a handful of preset options for connecting to Google Storage and Amazon S3, amongst other online storage options, and allows you to browse them on your desktop as you would do your hard drive, with deep integration into Finder.
The front end interface is also a lot more minimalistic and attractive, leaving only what you need on view at any time. That’s not to see the more advanced options aren’t there, they are, but they just stay in the background instead of cluttering up the page.
You can download Cyberduck here
First of all, it’s worth noting that MacFusion is dependant on you having the latest version of Google’s MacFUSE software installed to operate, which you can download and find instructions for here. For this reason, it’s certainly not the most simple application to begin with, though equally it’s not the most difficult.
What it offers once you’re set up, on the other hand, couldn’t be simpler. Instead of having window after window of complicated looking directories and options, MacFusion offers the bare minimum. However, it leaves the whole interface side to Finder, which in my opinion is a much nicer environment than any of the other free FTP clients, so a good move there.
MacFusion simply allows a means for you to connect to your servers around the web, and after that, it’s placed as a volume on your machine which you can mount and unmount at will using the most basic of interfaces.
You can download MacFusion here
Paid FTP Clients for Mac
At $28, you’ll obviously have to be pretty sure that you do really need the improvements that this paid option brings over the free alternatives before splashing the cash, but what YummyFTP gives you is unparalleled transfer speeds to and from your server.
The interface isn’t as polished as others, however the multi-pane layout can be perfect if you need to see a lot of what’s going on in your various directories, and the full screen mode in Lion means that depending on which Mac or screen you own, it shouldn’t look too cluttered anyway.
There are also various other useful features, such as the ‘failure auto recovery’. This is well worth paying for in my opinion, as in my experience no free option offers anything like that. Usually, if a FTP transfer dies, it dies. However many of the paid options do allow for resuming the transfer at the point at which it failed. Very useful, particularly with big files.
There’s also a handy little feature which allows you to automatically upload folders from your local directory to your server, great for backup purposes if that’s your reasoning for having the external server.
You can buy and download YummyFTP here
Transmit is a little more expensive than YummyFTP at $34 for a single user license, however it’s simple to tell why. The app is by far and away the most polished of any FTP app I’ve ever used in terms of how it looks and the usability. The dual pane layout is equally useful to when it was mentioned before in other apps, and the ease of setup and bookmarking is also a Godsend.
Not only that, Transmit allows you, like MacFusion, to place your servers as a volume on your desktop, so you need never actually enter the app again once you’ve setup your server, instead just accessing it from the desktop or the menubar.
Like YummyFTP, it also prides itself on being a great deal faster than the free options when it comes to transfer speeds, and allows you to recover failed downloads midway through if you need to.
You can buy and download it here
Did we miss out any of your favorite FTP apps? Let us know in the comments below.