FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It has been around for years and years, used to transfer files between computers on a network.
For these file transfers, you need to use an FTP client that will connect to an FTP server that runs on a remote device.
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Some vendors provide software for both – FTP client and FTP server in the same package. But many DO NOT.
Besides, with emerging security concerns of FTP, another protocol, SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol), was soon introduced to address these issues and perform secure file transfers.
It is an entirely different protocol that uses different ports. And, it also adds great file management and file transfer abilities to SSH. All file transfers in SFTP are encrypted using SSH protocol.
Now since myriads of FTP and SFTP clients are flooding the market, it can get quite overwhelming to understand which one is the best.
So, here we have curated a list of Top 8 FTP and SFTP clients for Windows and Linux in 2020. Many are free and some are paid after the trials expire.
Here’s a List of the Best FTP & SFTP
1. SolarWinds Solar-PuTTY
SolarWinds is one of the prominent software companies that has developed a FREE SFTP client- which is Solar-PuTTY. The program in itself is user-friendly. It allows you to remotely connect to any server or device in a network through Windows systems.
As it features a tabbed interface, you get to conveniently manage multiple sessions from a single console. Not just that, it also lets you save private keys or credentials of any session for quicker login the next time. For quick recognition, just use the color coding feature for every session.
There’s also an efficient ‘Windows Search’ tool integration, using which you can search your tags, IP addresses, saved sessions, usernames, etc. within seconds. And as connection establishes, you can even automate all scripts.
Not only does it support graphical SFTP file transfer, but Solar-PuTTY also supports SSH, SCP and Telnet protocols. Lastly there’s no need for installation, you can simply run the executable file.
- Tabbed interface with one console to manage multiple sessions simultaneously
- Integrated ‘Windows Search’ tool to easily search IP addresses, saved sessions, tags or usernames
- Supports graphical SFTP file transfer
- Also doubles as a SSH Client, SCP Client and Telnet
- NO need for installation
- Can save credentials or private keys for Auto-login
- Script automation
- Auto Re-connection
- Color Codes for each PuTTY session
- File encryption
Solar-PuTTY is the best SFTP client and also a great choice for script automation. Apart from this, the tabbed interface, Windows Search integration and feature to save credentials or private keys are some of its best highlights!
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2. FTP Voyager
SolarWinds is a leading developer when it comes to designing free FTP clients. It has deployed myriads of free tools in the market featuring intuitiveness and user-friendliness.
Here’s another powerful FTP Client, Serv-U Managed FTP Voyager. It is a free tool that is packed with features, is fast and quite responsive altogether.
FTP Voyager can handle FTP, SFTP and FTPS file transfers. Its enhanced security is proven by its FIPS 140-2 validation and U.S. Army Certificate of Networthiness (CoN).
It is deliberately made for Windows and Linux systems, and includes various advanced features such as synchronization of folders, scheduling of file transfers and more.
FTP Voyager Features
- Connection to multiple servers simultaneously
- Establish multiple file transfers
- Secure file transfers using FTP, FTPS and SFTP protocols
- Drag and drop feature for quick file transfers from Windows desktop
- Automatic synchronization of folders
- Scheduling of file transfers at a predetermined time
- Allows transfer of larger files
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As the name suggests, the WinSCP file manager only runs on Windows systems. It is an extremely popular, free SFTP and FTP client that lets you connect your local and remote servers seamlessly. It has a very unique dual-pane module for file transfers.
Here you can manage multiple sessions at a time, and also personalize your main page with different sessions, commands and tabs.
WinSCP is quite user-friendly, as it has a nice graphical user interface to make it more visually appealing. Not just that, you can even automate scripts and tasks by setting the rules.
- Open-source, Free
- Supports SFTP for enhanced security
- Supports SCP, Amazon S3, WebDAV, FTP and FTPS protocols
- Integrated text editor allows remote editing
- Offers GUI as well as a command line interface for file transfers
- Stores session information such as username, IP address, etc.
- Scripting and task automation
- Port forwarding
- File encryption and Master Password
If you are looking for a very basic file manager, and SFTP/FTP client for Windows computers- WinSCP is a great choice.
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FileZilla is again a very popular FTP client, which also supports SFTP and FTPS (FTP over SSL) protocols. The best thing about FileZilla is that it is cross-platform and available for Windows, Mac OS X, *BSD and Linux systems as well.
It is an open-source, free software featuring intuitive graphical user interface along with a bunch of impressive features. Along with IPv6 support, FileZilla client also includes a tabbed user interface, so you can manage multiple sessions over a single window.
Apart from this, it offers a flexible drag and drop interface, so you seamlessly upload or download files. It also supports resume and transfer of larger files, greater than 4 GB- which is a huge bonus!
FileZilla has a powerful site manager and transfer queue for effortless management and transfer of entire websites. Moreover, the directory comparison feature lets you compare files, their sizes, dates, etc. on a local and remote directory.
The only drawback is that many Windows users have witnessed adware in FileZilla’s downloadable program. But that can be resolved by simply unchecking the box to opt-out from the adware while you are installing the program.
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- Open-source, Free
- Multi-threaded transfers: Supports FTP, SFTP and FTPS (FTP over SSL) protocols
- Cross-platform: Available for Windows, Linux and Mac OX S
- Uses tabbed graphical interface
- Complete support documentation with FAQs, forum and support page
- Available in many languages
- Remote file search tool
- Remote file editing
- Filename filters
- Bookmarking feature
- Supports resume and transfer of larger files, more than 4GB
- Drag and drop support
- Supports IPv6
- Great Site Manager and transfer queue
- Directory comparison
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CyberDuck is another potential FTP and SFTP client that is compatible with Mac and Windows computers. It also supports WebDAV, Amazon S3, and more.
Its interface is perfect for newbies and advanced users as it is easy to use. One thing that makes CyberDuck stand out is how seamlessly it integrates with your Mac environment.
With just a click of a button, you can open files and edit them. Plus, you can even choose your preferred code editor.
For enhanced security of your data, this program uses Cryptomator interoperable vaults that perform client side data encryption. Plus, it also connects your website to cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive and lets you share files quickly via web URLs.
As compared to other FTP clients, CyberDuck’s user interface looks quite modern and intuitive.
- Cryptomator: Client side data encryption for better security
- Supports FTP, SFTP or WebDAV
- Supports transfer to cloud platforms such as Google Drive, Microsoft Azure and Dropbox
- Filename encryption
- Open-source, free
- Does not require account or registration
- Preferred code editor
- Drag and Drop feature
- Filter Field for quick search
- Quick Look allows a quick preview of files
- Resume and Transfer files
- Synchronize local directories with remote directories
- Supports multiple languages
- URL generator allows easy file sharing
- Includes integrations such as Keychain password protector and Bonjour auto-discovery platform.
Though it is free software, if you want to get a registration key or don’t want to see any donation prompts, you need to donate $10 to the developers.
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Developed in PHP and AJAX, MonstaFTP is a web-based FTP and SFTP client, unlike other clients which are desktop software.
MonstaFTP also boasts a modern interface for user-friendliness, making it a perfect choice for beginners and pro users. You can use it to manage your website via browser, upload/download files, edit code, and much more.
The biggest benefit of MonstaFTP is that it is a file manager in the cloud. You can access your install from anywhere, through any device, which is not the case with other desktop software.
MonstaFTP comes in Lite Edition and Business Edition. Lite Edition is free and has basic FTP functionality such as file transfers, folders or file uploads or downloads. Whereas, Business Edition is a paid version where you can customize your UI, restrict access to certain IP addresses and much more.
- Supports FTP, SFTP and SCP protocols
- Code-friendly editor lets you edit your remote files on-screen
- Allows uploading of zip archives and extract on your server
- Intuitive interface: works seamlessly on all devices and screen sizes
7. CoffeeCup Free FTP
CoffeeCup is an impressive, free FTP client, recognized by the name ‘Free FTP’. The program is intuitive, fast and user-friendly.
With just a click of a button, you can connect to a server and simply use drag and drop feature to seamlessly download or upload files to your server or computer.
‘FTP Activity Pane’ shows you a clear status of your file downloads and uploads. Plus, you can even pause or cancel the file transfers. Not just FTP, but CoffeeCup Free FTP can handle SFTP, FTPS and HTTP protocols as well!
At the bottom, you’ll see a Status Bar filled with critical information about what’s exactly happening in your FTP session. It also encompasses amazing file management features for both local as well as remote environments.
Besides, the use of Bookmarks is the most impressive thing about this Free FTP client. Using this feature, you can save your place in a folder on the remote server, or your local device or both.
In just one click, you can even archive the entire remote directory in a local zip file. Such a feature comes most handy while backing up your website.
CoffeeCup Free FTP Features
- Supports FTP, SFTP, FTPS and HTTP protocols
- Easy File Management
- ZIP Archive feature
- Drag and Drop Feature
- Allows you to set permissions for files and folders on your server
- Statusbar shows important information regarding your session
- Combo Bookmarks
As the name implies, Free FTP is a free FTP client. But CoffeeCup also offers Direct FTP which is a paid FTP client packed with high-end features.
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Last but definitely not the least, the IPswitch WS_FTP Professional is a paid FTP client packed with myriads of advanced features. Thus, it is more suitable for advanced users.
It is a safe and easy FTP client that allows secure uploads and downloads of files with OpenPGP file encryption, 256-bit AES and FIPS 140-2 validated cryptography.
Not just SFTP, but it also supports other protocols such as SSH, HTTP and SSL.
Apart from this, the IPswitch client has an easy drag and drop feature, customizable display, integrated desktop search engines and schedule feature for post-transfer actions.
IPswitch WS_FTP Professional Features
- Secure file transfers with 256-bit AES, OpenPGP file encryption and FIPS 140-2 validated cryptography
- Customizable display
- Powerful Integrated File Encryption
- Drag and Drop feature
- Integrated Google™, Windows® or Copernic™ desktop search engines to easily search and transfer files
- Scheduling of post-transfer actions such as renaming, moving or deleting files
- File and folder Archives
- Schedule recurring transfers
- Synchronization to any drive, device, location or server
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Most users just need a basic free FTP client with simple functionalities, but there are some advanced users who might need the premium offerings of paid versions. It all comes down to your personal preference.
If you like dual-pane view in the interface for your local and remote files, the WinSCP and FileZilla are two impressive, free FTP clients.
Whereas, if you would just like to see remote files on your server, without any local files or folders, you can opt for CyberDuck- it is clean, free and fast.
For high-grade security, reliability and regulatory compliance, you can try Serv-U Managed FTP Voyager.