We talked about some FTP fundamentals in a previous tutorial, like how FTP works, what you need to know about it, and so on. Here, I'd like to provide you with some recommendations for FTP applications that you may want to consider using in your business. There's certainly no shortage of free and commercial-grade FTP applications available, but here we'll zero in on just a handful. If you're running a small business website, a free FTP application will be just fine. If you have more advanced needs, and want to ensure security and reliability, then going with a paid application is your best option.
If you're not familiar with FTP, or you're kinda fuzzy on what it is and how you can use it in your business, be sure to take a look at that previous tutorial.
Below, I've listed out some of the most popular FTP applications available for Mac users. I've listed them in no particular order. You'll get a brief description of each one, links to where you can find them, and whether they're free or paid. Because each FTP application has it's own feel and interface, as well as different options and features, you might have to try one or two out until you find one you like. Essentially, all FTP applications do the same thing—move files to and from your website—but differences begin appearing between these applications with some of the additional features...like file syncing, batch uploads and so on. Hence why you should take a look at more than just one FTP application, to see which one will work best for you and your business.
Ready to roll? We'll start things off with my preferred FTP application of choice...
FireFTP is an extension that runs inside the Firefox web browser. I've been using FireFTP for a long, long time. What I like so much about it is that because it runs inside my web browser, I can run all of my FTP tasks inside one browser tab, while I'm off doing something else in another browser tab. In other words, I don't need to flip between different software applications that are running on my computer. Instead, everything's running in my browser.
FireFTP has an easy to use, intuitive interface and includes handy features like file synchronization, automatic reconnection should there be an interruption, directory comparison, and so on. And, it's free!
But the best thing about FireFTP is that the developer behind the project takes 100% any proceeds and donations, and puts it all towards helping people with disabilities. So if you like FireFTP, please consider supporting it.
CyberDuck has been around for a long time, and is one of the more popular FTP applications available. It's easy to use interface integrates nicely with the Mac OS, which makes it intuitive both for new and experienced users. Cyberduck has a few unique characteristics that make it different from other FTP applications. First, unlike traditional FTP applications, which use a left and right window pane interface, Cyberduck uses just a single window pane—in fact, the interface looks and behaves almost like a Finder window on the Mac.
The other thing that makes Cyberduck unique is that it has a very handy bookmarking feature. Bookmarks behave in a similar manner to traditional web browser bookmarks, allowing you to quickly connect to your various web servers and online accounts. This brings us to yet another unique feature about Cyberduck: If you're using any cloud storage services like DropBox, Amazon S3, or Google Drive, you can connect directly to them with Cyberduck. This is a very nice touch.
But the best part is, Cyberduck is free. If the above features sound interesting, give it a try!
Yummy FTP Pro is a solid FTP application used by designers and developers. It actually comes in two different flavours: Lite and Pro. The pro version is a powerful, commercial-grade FTP application for those looking for security, powerful options, and performance. Yummy FTP Pro supports FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV, and can handle and synchronize large batch transfers.
Yummy FTP Pro is optimized for performance, maintaining several connections simultaneously to maximize available resources. In addition, the built-in code editor makes it easy to make edits to files that are live on your website. You can also connect Yummy FTP Pro to your preferred editors of choice for larger changes. Yummy FTP Pro costs $29.99 while the Lite version costs $9.99.
If either of these sound like good options, take a closer look!
Transmit is a very popular FTP application for Mac users. In addition to a clean, easy to use interface, there's also quite a few features packed into this fast, lightweight FTP app. For instance, Transmit has the ability to synchronize and compare files in local and remote directories. To handle file transfers, you can also make use of batch and even multi-connection transfers.
Transmit supports SSH, SFTP, FTP, and FTPs connections, and also supports Amazon S3 cloud storage. A nice extra touch is the ability to make fast edits on your live website using Transmit's built in code editor.
You can give Transmit a try, and purchase a license for $34.
Way back at the beginning of this tutorial, I said that there's no shortage of FTP applications for you to choose from. Well, I have two more honourable mentions for you to check out. Really though, the FTP application that you choose really depends on your business needs and personal preferences. You really can't go wrong here. I've tried to cover the gamut above, going from browser-based FTP applications, to free options, to a commercial-grade application. And I'll throw a couple more in here for good measure: ForkLift, and CuteFTP.
One FTP application to steer clear of is Filezilla. Filezilla used to be one of the most popular FTP applications in use, but I keep coming across warnings and bad reviews for more recent versions of it. More and more people are reporting that it's bundled in with malware and spyware so be wary of installing it.
Well there's a whole pile of FTP applications for you to check out. Give two or three of them a try, and go with the one that suits you and your business needs best.
We took a close look at four top FTP choices, and had a two runner-ups towards the end as well. As for which FTP application I use and can personally vouch for, I actually use two. Most often, I use FireFTP for all the reasons I mentioned above. It's my go-to choice, just because it's so fast and convenient. As a backup, I use Cyberduck. It fits the bill for me, and I like that I can use it with DropBox and Amazon S3. As I said above, you really can't go wrong with any of these choices, so find one that'll fit the bill for you.
If you'd like to see how to actually connect to your web server using FTP, check out my How To Use FTP To Connect To Your Small Business Website tutorial. If you're a Windows user as well as a Mac user, you might be interested in The Best FTP Applications For Windows Users.
Good luck FTP'ing!