In every organization, sharing files is an everyday workplace task. Sharing files insecurely, however, can be an expensive risk for any organization. To eliminate such risks, organizations should employ FTP clients.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) clients provide a quick and easy channel to transfer files among computers and servers via a network. They also help organizations synchronize local and remote folders more easily. Keep reading to learn about the best FTP clients for Microsoft Windows.
What Are the Benefits of Using FTP Clients for Windows?
There are quite a few conveniences of using FTP clients for Windows.
Enables large file transfers
File transfer requires sending more than a single PDF document. Sometimes it can be hundreds of GBs of data at once. Regular transfers are prone to network failures, causing you to lose all of your progress.
Transfers through FTP clients enable you to transfer multiple large files quickly. You can also resume transfers later on in the event of network failure.
Scheduling and queuing files
FTP clients for Microsoft Windows can also enable you to schedule and queue your file transfers. You can schedule your large file transfers at a time that will impact your workflow the least. For instance, if you need a large file transferred for work the next day, you can schedule that transfer the night before.
Many FTP clients also provide data synchronizing utilities. This feature lets you work on your local files and automatically transfer the changes to the FTP server, saving the need to replace the existing files with the updated ones. The synchronization feature also eliminates confusion caused by maintaining multiple files at different locations.
What to Look for in the Best FTP Clients for Windows
There is a large number of FTP clients for Microsoft Windows on the market. Here are a few things the best FTP clients must offer.
Ease of use
The best FTP clients are always easy to use. The best FTP client for Microsoft Windows should be simple and straightforward. Look for a minimalist UI, drag-and-drop functionality and bookmarking features, including Command User Interface (CUI) within the interface.
Support for various protocols
FTP clients are not secure on their own as they do not encrypt the data in transfer. The best FTP clients need to be able to support protocols that do ensure security such as FTP over SSH and FTP over Transport Security Layer (TSL). This will improve the security of transferring files.
A good FTP client for Windows should also be compatible across platforms so that even if you have devices running on multiple operating systems, your work will not be interrupted. For instance, if you work from Microsoft Windows at the office but you use Linux at home, the best FTP client will be able to operate across both systems.
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) has started replacing IPv4. In addition to supporting 2^128 IP addresses, IPv6 also has built-in authentication and an additional privacy layer. It also guarantees faster data transfer speeds for sharing files. Look for FTP clients that support both IPv6 and IPv4 networks.
Ability to resume large file transfer
Various reasons could trigger a network failure. Imagine reaching the end of a massive file transfer and suddenly losing the connection. It is nothing short of a nightmare. Good FTP clients eliminate such a scenario by letting you resume the transfer from the point of interruption if the connection is lost. Find an FTP client that enables you to continue transfers from the point of failure.
The Best FTP Clients for Windows
Here are the top 5 FTP clients that contain all of the features we mentioned earlier.
- Core FTP
- WS_FTP Professional
- Fire FTP
FileZilla is an open-source FTP client for Microsoft Windows. It is both straightforward and fast. It can handle multi-threaded transfers and it can also open multiple connections across various servers. FileZilla is available on all operating systems.
FileZilla allows you to pick up aborted or interrupted downloads seamlessly and queue files to manage uploads and downloads. You can also transfer files quickly with its drag-and-drop interface, compare directories, search files remotely and edit them as well. It is available in numerous languages.
The FileZilla installer may contain adware or spyware if downloaded from third-party sites. It also features a lot of advanced tools that can be challenging for beginners.
Though entirely free, the client also comes with FileZilla Pro, which offers additional protocol support for WebDAV, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Google Cloud Storage for $19.99.
Rating: 4.8 stars
Similar to FileZilla, Core FTP also has a free FTP client for Windows. Its simplistic dual-panel is quite identical to FileZilla, also making it a great FileZilla alternative.
Its simple interface lets you drag and drop file elements to folders and transfer files with a single click. It also enables you to mask files and file permissions from the administrator level. It also allows you to control your transfer bandwidth and improve transfer speed with its mode Z compression. Core FTP supports FTPS, TLS, SSL and SFTP for security and auto-retries all transfers in the case of a failure.
You can only use Core FTP in Microsoft Windows. If you have to work across different operating systems, this limitation can disappoint you.
Core FTP has a free light version or a Core FTP Pro version that costs $24.95. The Pro version offers advanced tools like file syncing, encryption/decryption, scheduling and custom screen setups.
Rating: 4.7 stars
Cyberduck is a robust and free FTP client available on Microsoft Windows. It supports file syncing and popular third-party cloud storage platforms like MS Azure, Google Drive and Dropbox.
Cyberduck is known for its simple yet modern-looking UI. Like other FTP clients, it also offers a drag-and-drop interface and bookmarking. It lets you browse directories with ease, encrypt filenames, file content and share files easily via a custom URL generator. Cyberduck comes with Crytomator that adds an extra layer of encryption to each file during transfers as a way of providing additional security.
Cyberduck doesn’t have a built-in file editor or a separate transfer progress window. Though available on Microsoft Windows and macOS, it is not available on Linux.
Cyberduck can be entirely free. However, if you want to access all of the features, there is a one-time payment of $10.
Rating: 4.8 stars
WS_FTP Professional is the most secure FTP client for Microsoft Windows. It provides enterprise-grade protection with robust data encryption and advanced administration tools. It is also equipped with an easy and clean interface.
WS_FTP Professional enhances security by using SSH, 256-bit AES and FIPS 140-2 validated cryptography. The FTP client also offers OpenPGP file encryption, ensuring data safety at all points of the transfer process. It protects data by backing it up and allowing you to compress the data if you want to store it on other devices.
You can also set up email notifications to update you on the transfer progress. However, WS_FTP Professional has an outdated UI so it is not as intuitive as other FTP clients.
Compared to other clients, WS_FTP Professional can be expensive. WS_FTP Professional offers a free trial in addition to three separate plans. Its Basic version without support costs $49.95 per user, while the Basic plan with support costs $89.95 per user. Its most advanced version costs $390, allowing you to support 5 users at a time.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Unlike other FTP clients on this list, Fire FTP is not a standalone client but rather an add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser. It is available on all platforms that support the Firefox browser, including Windows, Linux and macOS.
Fire FTP works from within your browser to manage your files. It also offers many of the features that other FTP clients provide. Fire FTP supports SFTP, FTPS, SSL/TLS and IPv6. It also has a drag-and-drop interface while offering file compression, remote editing and synchronization. Fire FTP resumes file transfers automatically from the point of failure in case of connection interruption.
Because it doesn’t have a desktop application, you have to be online to use it from the Mozilla Firefox browser. Closing the browser will stop any and all in-progress file transfers. Unless most of your work revolves around Mozilla Firefox, this tool can affect your workflow.
Fire FTP is an open-source FTP client and it is entirely free.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Where to Go From Here
FTP clients offer an easier and better way to transfer files over a network. If you work mainly from Microsoft Windows, you have many FTP client options to choose from and most of them are free to use.
If you want to streamline the file transfer process, try the free versions of these clients before purchasing any of them. Assess your usage, necessities and budget carefully when choosing the best FTP client for Windows.