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How to Choose FTP Client? 27 May, 2021   

FTP or as it is also known as File Transfer Protocol is a standard protocol used to organize file exchange. Its function is to copy and transfer documents from a remote computer to a local one and vice versa. Until the mid-90s, this protocol accounted for more than half of all Internet traffic, but today it is used to transfer software and remote access to hosts.

How does FTP work?

It is worth learning the functioning of the FTP protocol at least out of curiosity and to understand the general principles. The FTP protocol is a set of commands that we can send to the server in plain text for authentication, viewing the contents of directories, moving through directories, uploading and downloading files. All commands are transmitted in clear text, including the password, so using FTP is not very secure.

The interaction of connections and ports is the main thing that should be taken into consideration when talking about FTP protocol. Most of the errors when working with this protocol are related to the fact that one of the parties to the connection did not configure its port. There is a passive and an active side to the protocol. The passive must listen carefully and wait for the active one to transmit the port number, which must be immediately opened. If the port is not open, data transfer will not start.

In active mode, the server opens the data connection whereas in passive, both connections are initiated by the client. This avoids problems when the client does not have a dedicated IP address or uses a firewall. In most cases, this is exactly the case, therefore, almost always when connecting via FTP, you should use the passive mode.

Features to look for in FTP client 

So, as it is known, FTP helps you to connect your computer to a remote server, allowing you to upload and download files. However, when talking about FTP, people are likely to discuss FTP clients.  So what are they? 

FTP clients are special software used to establish an FTP connection, making it easy to transfer files over the Internet. Take a look at this issue from a different angle: while working on your computer, you are free to edit, delete, copy, move files, right? Well, an FTP client offers you the same functionality, but with files stored on the remote server. However, how to choose a decent client? And what criteria should you take into consideration? Let’s try to figure it out. 

In fact, there are dozens of different programs now for transferring files between a computer and an FTP server. By the way, more information concerning this issue can be found in the corresponding article on how to choose the best FTP client. However, when choosing, it is worth considering the following criteria, including:

  • the ability to work in your usual environment, i.e. so that the FTP client does not contrast in its interface and peculiarities of working with other programs with which you are used to working;

  • the client interface should be simple and compact, without 7-8 windows of different size inside the main window;

  • type of license plays an important role. It is always difficult to choose between paid services and free ones. We do not want to pay more for the functionality, but sometimes it is the only choice if you want to have a decent app;

  • review of the users. Well, users are the best critics, search the internet and find out what people think about one or another FTP client;

  • also, another important criterion is the ability to work with different protocols, for instance, SFTP, FTPS, etc.

  • FTP client functionality. For some users, it is enough to have several features whereas others will consider them insufficient;

  • the operating system you are running on, Some of the FTP clients have the full functionality only on certain OSes, that is why before choosing the right one, make sure it is compatible with yours.

Definitely, each user has its own idea of a perfect FTP client and this list can be way longer than it is now. The main thing is to find the one that fully satisfies your needs. Choose wisely and have the most convenient file transfer. 

Conclusion

The FTP protocol is a set of commands that we can send to the server in plain text for authentication, viewing the contents of directories, moving through directories, uploading and downloading files. Keep in mind that all commands are transmitted in clear text, including the password, so using FTP is very insecure that is why choose an FTP client that provides additional protection to your data while transferring.

FTP

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