What Is FTP?

Anyone who has to move files to or from a server usually uses an FTP client such as the popular FileZilla. But there are numerous other good alternatives. We’ll introduce you to the best FTP clients for your PC and explain what FTP actually is.

If you are working with a server for the first time, you will hear many unfamiliar terms like FTP. You need an FTP client to upload or download files to a server.

If you have not yet gained any experience in this area, it is often difficult to filter out the right FTP client. We, therefore, give you a few tips.

What is FTP

FTP stands for the File Transfer Protocol. This is a special protocol that is optimized for the transfer of files from a source computer to a target computer. You are already familiar with other protocols and use them regularly. Such as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol – HTTP for short.

What do you need FTP for?

As described, the FTP protocol is designed to transfer files to another computer that you have connected to. In conjunction with the appropriate client, the protocol enables a simple transfer of numerous files.

It does not matter in which direction the files are transferred.

What is an FTP Client?

An FTP client is software that is installed on your PC and uses the FTP protocol to transfer files. There are numerous FTP clients that are available free of charge, including the well-known FileZilla. You can find some of these free clients at, for example.

What functions does an FTP client offer me?

The range of functions varies depending on the FTP client used. However, they all have one thing in common: they allow files to be transferred to or from a server.

In addition, there are other additional functions available, some of which can vary greatly. For example, it is possible to carry out scheduled downloads and uploads. Or to edit the rights of the uploaded files. The possibilities are diverse and depend heavily on the FTP client used.

Also Read: Tips For Responsible Use Of Technologies

Which files can I upload with it?

In essence, there are no restrictions on what files you can upload via FTP. Regardless of whether MP3, AVI (video), or DOC (Word document). As a rule, all file formats can be transferred via FTP without any problems. There may only be specific restrictions on the target computer so that it does not accept certain file extensions such as .exe.

What do you use FTP for?

The majority use an FTP client to transfer data to a remote computer. Usually, it is a server that is located in a data center. The use of an FTP client is regularly used in the web area in particular. In practice, data can only be uploaded to a distant server using an FTP client, for example, to provide a website.

What is FileZilla?

FileZilla is an open-source license FTP client that has been on the market for years and has numerous fans. The FileZilla owes this in particular to its ease of use and functionality.

What speaks against FileZilla?

FileZilla has a lot of features but is by no means perfect. Probably the greatest deficiencies essentially include two aspects:

Missing auto-synchronization

As soon as a file has been changed locally, then upload to a server must be initiated manually. FileZilla does not automatically detect changes.

Passwords as plain text

FileZilla previously saved passwords as clear text in a local file. Third parties can easily read them out.

Also Read: IT Strategy: The Basics For Companies

How safe is Filezilla?

FileZilla is a comparatively secure FTP client, not least because of its regular updates, which do not become a risk anytime soon. However, there is one main reason for caution when using it:

If you let FileZilla save the access data to the server, the program saves them in plain text in a file. Third parties can open this file without problems and read out all access data.

Even Trojans have specialized in searching for that file and reading out the data it contains and transferring it to third parties. When using FileZilla you should therefore do without the password storage function.

Be careful when downloading FileZilla

Popular and widespread software is apt to be misused by criminals in one way or another. This is also the case with FileZilla.

Criminals currently offer the download of the client on domains with similar spelling. However, so that the download can be carried out, extensive personal data must first be entered. What follows are invoices and reminders for an allegedly used service.

Be particularly careful here and seek advice from a specialist lawyer or the consumer protection center if you have become a victim.

The most popular alternatives

It doesn’t always have to be FileZilla. You will find numerous other FTP clients on the Internet that are equivalent or even better equipped. Below we present the most popular options:


Cyberduck is an FTP client for Windows and Mac, not only FTP but also WebDAV, Amazon S3, or Google Drive controlled. Cyberduck can also synchronize directories.


WS_FTP Lite is an older generation Windows FTP client. If you like it rustic and don’t need any special functions, you will be happy with the download of the WS_FTP Lite, which is not even 1MB in size.


The Firefox web browser does not have an integrated FTP client. With the FireFTP add-on, however, you can quickly upgrade this functionality. The download is also remarkably small. However, FireFTP offers a considerable range of functions.

Total Commander

The Total Commander is also a bit older. A kind of Explorer for Windows, but which also has an FTP function on board. In addition, the application runs smoothly with Windows 7.

Core FTP

Like other FTP clients, Core FTP offers a few extras in addition to the standard functions. This includes, for example, control over the bandwidth used or the support of a command line.

Classic FTP

In Classic FTP is an optically kept very simple FTP client, which should especially beginners serve well.

Cute FTP

With Cute FTP is a functional yet visually uncluttered FTP client that can score with many additional options.

Fling FTP

Fling FTP offers the classic FTP functions that you would expect from a client. There are also some additional functions such as time-controlled uploads.

Absolute FTP

Simple, slim, undemanding. This is how you could describe Absolute FTP. The software handles FTP jobs quickly and easily.


WinSCP is actually not a “pure” FTP client. However, that doesn’t bother me much. The free software also handles FTP jobs clearly and quickly.

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