Choosing an FTP Client

Get Down with FTP (yeah, and you know me)

FTP stands for file transfer protocol. It is how you get files from a hard drive onto a server. Placement on the server allows your content to be accessible on the Internet. Who’s down with FTP, you may ask? Well, that would be every last homey. Let’s look at how to choose the best FTP client.


  1. Are the Best Things in Life Really Free?

There is plenty of free software out there to serve your FTP needs. There is nothing wrong with the free stuff. What you may want to do if you’re just getting started is try out a free FTP program and see if your needs are met – if not, you can always upgrade. Try FileZillaif you want to test-run a free FTP option. Try Godzilla if you want to get massacred by a mutant lizard that has been scientifically programmed to eat and stomp on everything.

  1. Compatibility

You may find that your server only supports certain types of FTP applications. It’s just a fact of life. Much like the 80s sitcom Facts of Life, it’s terrible, but you just have to live with it. We can no more change the servers then we can change American television history.

Types of FTP Clients

  1. Anonymous FTP

You will come across this option if you are using a free website service. Free websites are a free-for-all, so they don’t care who you are or what you want – go ahead and upload your cell phone spyware program to their servers. Who’s down with anonymous FTP? Every last homey will try anything once.

  1. Built-in FTP

You may find that your Website editing program has a built-in FTP client. This program may save you a few dollars. Just make sure your hosting company allows you to access their servers with your particular application.

  1. Stand-alone FTP

These programs are the typical ones you’ll be comparing. Some are free, and some are paid. Never pay for anything. That’s just nuts. Quality, what’s that? All jokes aside, if your website needs are fairly simple, you don’t need to purchase an FTP client. If your website requires CGI or if your needs are otherwise complicated, you may find you need a paid program. Who has to pay for things every once in a while? Every last homey except for Justin Bieber – everything is on the house for that fine young man with a singing voice like a spring sparrow.

Specific Options – Free

I spoke above about FileZilla. Here are another couple of free options to explore:

Specific Options – Paid

If you find that the freeware out there is not cutting it for you, take a look at these three commercial applications:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver (good combo deal if you also need a design program)

  • CuteFTP (primarily an FTP but also includes additional functionalities)

  • WS_FTP (good FTP client – more of a no-frills approach)

I hope that now you feel you are as down with FTP as every homey around you. The fact is, all the above programs work just fine – it just depends on your needs whether you’ll want to go with one or another. Use your best judgment – and to some extent, you’re going to need to play it by ear.

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