What would you if you needed to directly access the files on your site’s server?
WordPress is a robust content management systems used by millions of people all over the world. However, the widely popular CMS doesn’t have a built-in FTP client to enable users to transfer files in between your computer and your site’s web hosting server.
In this article, we’ll run the rule over the best FTP clients (for both Mac and Windows) and highlight the standout features in each.
Before we get started, let’s put all of this into context.
What Is FTP and Why Do You Need An FTP Client?
According to Wikipedia, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.
FTP client is software that enables you to manage files located somewhere else on the Internet (e.g. on a web hosting server) through your personal computer.
WordPress is an effective CMS and most users could build websites without needing an FTP client. The user can do just about everything from the WordPress dashboard which eliminates the need for an FTP client for day to day tasks.
However, if your WordPress site takes a turn for the worst (which we find isn’t all that rare) an FTP client can prove to be priceless. For example, when a plugin is incompatible with another plugin or the latest version of WordPress, it causes blank white screen (aka the white screen of death) to appear in place of the Dashboard. This troubleshooting problem can only be taken care of using an FTP client.
Now that we’ve established the importance of FTP clients in WordPress, let’s take a look at some of the best, free and premium FTP clients.
01. Filezilla (for Windows, Mac, Linux)
Filezilla is the most popular, open-source FTP client available free for download on all three major operating systems – Windows, Mac, and Linux. This FTP client is easy to use, features a friendly user interface and comes with comprehensive documentation that answers every question a novice would have regarding the usage of FTP clients.
Time and again users have complained about Filezilla’s drag and drop interface and that the FTP client isn’t as visually appealing as others. However, we’ve found Filezilla to be more than adequate for a WordPress site.
Let’s take a look at the features it has on offer:
- Support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS and SSH FTP.
- Remote file searching.
- Support for IPv6.
Filezilla is a fast and reliable FTP client that is sure to cater to your WordPress site’s troubleshooting needs without putting you through the trouble of hiring a web developer to manage the FTP client.
02. Cyberduck (for Windows, Mac)
Cyberduck is a free FTP client designed for both Windows and Mac that owes its popularity to its premium quality features. It offers advanced SSH functionality and bookmarking along with a simple and easy to use interface.
One of the best features we like about Cyberduck is that it integrates with external editor applications which make it easier to edit files while they reside on the server. Users can edit both text files and binary files.
Here’s a list of features that Cyberduck has on offer:
- Support for FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV.
- Integrates with Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, and Rackspace Cloud Files.
- Configurable with Amazon CloudFront, and Akamai CDNs.
- First class bookmarking.
Cyberduck’s advanced functionality makes it a popular option among webmasters who want the very best FTP clients for their sites without having to spend money on them.
03. CuteFTP (for Windows, Mac)
If you need advanced functionality and premium support in an FTP client then perhaps it’s best to go for a premium FTP client. CuteFTP, available for $59, is one of the best FTP clients in the premium category designed to work on both Windows and Mac.
CuteFTP has been merged into one, powerful FTP client that is fully loaded with the power and security users expect to find in a professional version alongside some crucial enhancements. One of the standout features we find in CuteFTP is that it offers TappIn which is a secure mobile file sharing application.
Let’s quickly go over the features it offers:
- Consolidation of CuteFTP Lite, Home, and Pro.
- The addition of TappIn.
- Support for UNICODE character set.
- Support for WebDAV.
TappIn integration makes it possible for users to securely access and share files from your computer to any mobile device which may be a necessity to website owners who need to access files on the go. CuteFTP also offers high-quality customer support with every license.
04. Transmit (for Mac)
Panic’s Transmit is an FTP client designed exclusively of the Mac OS and is known to be one of the fastest and most reliable ones around. It has all of the features you’d expect to find in a professional FTP client.
Users can try out Transmit’s 7-day trial version and then purchase the $34 license if they’re satisfied with its functionality. The latest version of the FTP client features a Transmit Twin-Turbo Engine which performs up to 25x faster for smaller sized files and Multi-Connection Transfers for faster batch transfers.
Let’s take a look at some of the standout features Transmit offers:
- Support for FXP, SSH, and SFTP.
- Bandwidth limiting.
- Support for Amazon CloudFront.
- Advanced file skipping options.
Transmit is one of the best premium FTP clients for Mac that focuses on performance and reliability above all else. The advanced functionality it offers is definitely worth the $34.
05. WinSCP (for Windows)
WinSCP is one of the most sought-out FTP client solutions for Windows operating systems. It’s a simple and straightforward FTP client that will get the job done. It doesn’t have an extensive list of features on offer and is ideal for anyone whose FTP needs are average.
The open-source WinSCP features SFTP, SCP and FTP client, and interoperability between SFTP and FTP servers.
Let’s go over the features it offers:
- Support for FTP, SCP, and SFTP.
- Support for WebDAV.
- Ongoing foreground transfer can be moved to background transfer queue.
- Translates into different languages.
Anyone who owns a Windows machine and doesn’t want to empty out their wallet for an FTP client should definitely try out WinSCP – there’s nothing to lose in giving it a try.
06. Classic FTP (for Windows and Mac)
Classic FTP is an easy to use and stable FTP solution for maintaining your websites. It’s a feature-rich solution that can be used on both Windows and Mac machines to manage files and transfer them securely over an FTP SSL connection.
Classic FTP is compatible with all of the major FTP servers in use and supports secure FTP protocol for file transfers. Reliability is the top priority when it comes to this FTP client. In addition to these features, Classic FTP also offers an intuitive user interface that is easy to get used to and synchronize tools to ensure that all of your folders (both local and remote) contain up-to-date copies of everything.
Let’s take a closer look at the features on offer with this free FTP client solution:
- Support for secure FTP protocol SSL.
- Compatible will all major FTP servers.
- Synchronize tools to ensure all folders have updated files.
- Drag and drop functionality.
NCH Software’s Classic FTP is a must have for anyone who requires minimum FTP client interaction. It’s available free for download on both Windows and Mac operating systems.
07. OneButton FTP (for Mac)
OneButton FTP is a bare minimum FTP client for Mac operating systems that is designed for users with smaller websites. This FTP client works right out of the box once you’ve configured the remote server and enables users to start transferring, uploading and downloading files right away.
OneButton FTP has an easy to use drag and drop interface that makes it incredibly simple to learn. One of the best features about this FTP client is that it enables users to put files in a queue if they’d like to download them later. This feature is useful for users who don’t have a high-speed internet connection or find themselves having to go offline frequently.
Here’s a quick list of the features on offer:
- Support for FTP and FTP SSL.
- Options for easy file queuing.
- Easy to setup.
- Simple drag and drop functionality.
OneButton FTP may not be the best option for those of you who are looking for a feature-rich FTP client, but it definitely gets the job done for Mac users. The downside of opting for this FTP client is that the developer, Aaron Jacobs, isn’t offering support for it any longer.
Wrapping It Up
There are two major factors that end up governing which FTP client you go with – the operating system you’re running and your budget. Although there are many different FTP clients out there, our list covers some of the very best FTP solutions for all sorts of webmasters and websites.
Which FTP client do you use? Which FTP client features are most important to you? Let us know in the comments section below.