If you have a website then you’re going to need a way to access its files on the web hosting server. This enables you to modify files, create backups, upload media items, and do so much more without relying entirely on your content management system.
Thankfully, there are a number of high-quality FTP clients that offer everything you need to be able to manage your site’s files from a single platform, reliably. With this in mind, in this post, we’ll run the rule over five of the best FTP clients for Mac and Windows users and highlight the standout features each one has to offer. By the time you’re done, you’ll (hopefully) have a better idea of which FTP client you should go for.
What Are FTP Clients and Why Do You Need Them?
The file transfer protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files between a client and server. And an FTP client is the software that allows you to do manage your website’s files (located on the web hosting server) through your computer.
While most content management systems (such as WordPress), allow you to modify your website’s files and upload media items directly through the back-end, it’s important to have an FTP client, too. Here’s why:
- Locked out of your site. Errors like the White Screen of Death can lock you out of your website. And when this happens, you’ll need an FTP client to access your site’s files and modify them to login to your site again.
- Upload large files. Uploading large files (or files in bulk) can be a daunting task if you’re working through a content management system. With an FTP client, you’re able to upload/download files in bulk quickly and reliably.
Now that you have a better understanding of what FTP clients are and why it’s a good idea to have one for your website, let’s take a look at some of the best FTP clients out there.
5 Best FTP Clients for Mac and Windows Users
There are a number of factors that go into selecting an FTP client such as your budget, the features you’re looking for, and the operating system you’re running on your machine. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at five of the best FTP clients for Mac and Windows users and highlight their main features.
FileZilla (Mac, Windows)
FileZilla is by far one of the most popular, open-source FTP clients for both Mac and Windows machines. It packs an intuitive user-interface that’s incredibly easy to get started with. And if you get stuck somewhere along the way, you can refer to its comprehensive documentation for help.
The FileZilla FTP client offers a wide-range of features such as directory comparison and bookmarking that makes it incredibly easy to manage your site’s files. In addition to this, it also comes with a site manager and remote file searching functionality right out of the box.
- Cross-platform FTP, FTPS, and SFTP client.
- Drag and drop support.
- Offers remote file editing functionality.
Cyberduck (Mac, Windows)
Cyberduck is a powerful and widely-tested FTP client that allows both Mac and Windows users to leverage advanced features for free. For instance, its Cryptomator module is designed to secure your data on servers and cloud storage.
To keep things simple and intuitive, Cyberduck allows you to integrate external file editors with your FTP client to modify text and binary files quickly. The standout feature on offer with this FTP solution is that it allows you to limit the number of concurrent file transfers and filter files using regular expressions.
- Limit number of concurrent file transfers.
- Allows you to synchronize local directories with remote directories.
- Drag and drop bookmarks.
CuteFTP (Mac, Windows)
If you’re looking for a premium FTP client that comes with around the clock support and advanced functionality then CuteFTP is definitely worth considering. This powerful FTP client features a built-in Transfer Engine that allows you to automate tasks such as taking regular backups, synchronizing files, and monitoring local directories for changes.
CuteFTP makes it incredibly easy for first-time FTP users to get started by offering helpful, step-by-step wizards to connect their website. One of the best things about CuteFTP is its advanced security features and comprehensive protocol options that make it possible for users to work securely with multiple remote sites.
- Allows segmented downloading for large files.
- Transfer Engine lets you create and schedule site maintenance tasks.
- Integrated color-coded HTML editor.
Transmit is a premium, Mac-only FTP client that’s known for its blazing fast speeds. Its Twin-Turbo Engine enables website owners to transfer small files 25x faster and set up multi-connection transfers for faster batch transfers. Transmit features a sleek user interface that packs tear-off tabs, progress bars, different directory views, pane switchers, and much more.
In addition to all of this, Transmit allows you to set rules for advanced file skipping and configure advanced server preferences to get better control over your site’s file transfers.
- Neat and clean user interface.
- Allows you to configure advanced file skipping.
- Support multi-connection transfers.
WinSCP is a lightweight, Windows-only FTP client that comes with basic FTP functionality and is great for making quick file updates. It comes with an integrated text editor and directory synchronization functionality.
The open-source FTP client offers support for FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and SCP client for Windows. Additionally, you can also set up scripting and leverage basic file management functionality that allows you to upload/download files, manage sessions, change file permissions, and much more.
- Comes with an integrated text editor.
- Offers batch file scripting functionality.
- Support for SFTP and SCP protocols over SSH and FTP.
Having an FTP client installed on your machine will help you rest assured that you have a way of accessing your site’s core files even if your site stops functioning properly. In addition to this, it can also speed up the process of uploading (or downloading) files in bulk.
The FTP client you end up going with will depend largely on the operating system you’re running and whether or not you’re looking for a premium solution.
Which FTP clients have you used for your website? Let us know by commenting below!