5 Best FTP Clients For Both Windows and MacOS

FTP is widely used to transfer files and folders from and to a server. A good FTP client is a lifesaver if you are a website owner or run a home media server. Even though most web hosts and other services provide their version of the file manager to manage files and folders on a server, it is never equivalent or robust as a full-fledged FTP client.

Best FTP Clients

Why do you need FTP Client?

Ok, so imagine this – you can easily copy and move files on your computer by using the Windows explorer of or finder on MacOS. But what if you want to do that on a remote server (which is basically a big computer that always stays ON)? Well, this is where FTP or file transfer protocol comes in.

To access a remote server like WordPress directory using an FTP client, you’ll need 3 things – host or the server IP address, username and password. Type these three values in correct places on your FTP client, and click Connect. And that’s it.

Now, since there are a lot of FTP client software out there on the internet, here are some of the best FTP software for you to try.

Best FTP Clients

1. Cyberduck

Cyberduck is one of the most popular and my favorite FTP client for Windows that comes with all the features you will ever need. Just like any other FTP client, Cyberduck supports FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and WebDAV. Along with the regular FTP core, Cyberduck can also be used to browse and transfer files from Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, etc. The best thing about Cyberduck is its superior bookmarking system and its ease of use for browsing, editing, and transferring files on servers. If you want to, you can also import bookmarks from FileZilla.

Not to mention, Cyberduck offers no compromise advanced SSH features so that you can Archive and expand TAR and ZIP files, ability to read existing OpenSSH configurations, support for wide range of SSH authentication systems, etc. So, if you are looking for a simple, free yet fully functional FTP client then do give Cyberduck a try.

Remote file editing: Yes, you edit any file with your preferred editor.

Support: Cyberduck is available for both the MacOS and Windows platforms.

Where it lacks: In the free version, you will receive a donation prompt whenever the software is updated or upgraded. You will also see the “Unregistered” tag on the title bar. However, this is not a big deal and you can remove these by simply donating the amount of your choice.

Is it free: Yes it is.

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2. FileZilla

If you are thinking about FTP then you might probably know or heard about FileZilla. In case you don’t know, FileZilla is a free, open-source, and cross-platform FTP client. Being one of the most popular FTP clients, it is very beginner friendly for basic tasks. In fact, most web hosts provide pre-configured bookmarks so that you don’t have to enter the FTP authentication details manually. Just import the bookmark and you are good to go. At the core, it supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS.

Some of the absolute best things about FileZilla are its powerful site manager, transfer queue, and support for transferring large files (>4GB). Other features include but not limited to synchronized directory browsing, tabbed user interface, drag and drop support, remote file editing, remote file search, etc. If you are looking for a widely supported FTP client with a huge community then do give FileZilla a try.

Remote file editing: Yes

Support: FileZilla is a cross-platform software available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. There is also a portable version of FileZilla(7MB) for Windows users.

Where it lacks: There is no support for WebDAV. Moreover, though it is easy to use, the user interface looks a bit dated and may intimidate users on its first use. Also, beware of the adware while installing the software.

Is it free: Yes it is.

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3. FireFTP

Unlike the other software on this list, FireFTP is not a separate software. Instead, it is a free and open-source Firefox add-on. A really good thing if you are a Firefox user. As you can tell, being a simple addon, it is cross-platform, very lightweight and you can access it with just a few clicks directly from your Firefox browser. Just like any other FTP client, it supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS. Other features of FireFTP include but not limited to support for drag and drop, synchronization, file compression, integrity checks, directory comparison, etc.

When it comes to the user interface, FireFTP is pretty traditional and resembles FileZilla. However, it is pretty easy to get started and get used to. Just launch FireFTP from the Developer options in the Firefox menu and you are good to go. Of course, you need to create a new connection with your FTP authentication details.

Remote file editing: Yes, but need some configuration first.

Support: Since it’s integrated with Firefox web browser, you can use it on all platform where Firefox is available i.e. Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Where it lacks: No advanced features that you get from other FTP clients. Being a Firefox add-on, it won’t be much of use if you are not a Firefox user.

Is it free: Yes it is.

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4. WinSCP

WinSCP is yet another popular FTP client that is widely used by advanced Windows users and system administrators. As you can tell from the name itself, WinSCP supports SCP (Session Control Protocol) protocol along with regular FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and WebDAV protocols. The WinSCP FTP client may look intimidating at the first glance but is very easy to use. Just download the software, install it, enter the FTP connection details when prompted and you are good to go. Two of the most sought out features of WinSCP are its reliability and fully automatic directory synchronization. So, if you are looking for a straightforward FTP client with capable directory synchronization then try WinSCP. You won’t be disappointed.

Remote file editing: Yes

Pros: Free, lightweight, and open-source. WinSCP also has extensive documentation and a big community to help you in need. Moreover, it is also available in the portable format.

Support: WinSCP is a Windows only software.

Is it free: Yes it is.

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5. SmartFTP

Of all the software shared here, SmartFTP is the only software you need to pay to use. Being an FTP client, SmartFTP supports FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and WebDAV. Moreover, just like Cyberduck, SmartFTP lets you browse and transfer files from cloud services like Google Drive, Google Cloud, OneDrive, and Amazon S3. What makes SmartFTP worth buying is its premium features like Advanced Scheduling to automate tasks, visual comparison, thumbnail previews, on the fly compression, support for bulk renaming, support for server-to-server transfer, etc.

Along with this, SmartFTP also supports FTP command line, custom commands and a wide range of firewall software for increased security. Moreover, SmartFTP follows the modern Windows design language with high DPI support. So, if you looking for an advanced FTP client with all sorts of enterprise features and don’t mind paying for it then SmartFTP is for you.

Remote file editing: ?

Support: SmartFTP is a Windows only client

Where it lacks: There is no free version. However, you can try the software for free for 30 days.

Is it free: No, it is not. There are three different editions namely Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate with a hefty price tag of $69.95, $119.95, and $149.95 respectively. You can get the difference between editions from this page.

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Hope that helps and if you think I missed any of your favorite FTP clients then do share it in the comments below.

About Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and tinkering with computers and software in general. He also writes his own blog sharing some simple tech how-to guides.