The 6 Best Free FTP Clients

Transferring files to and from your web host or server is best done with what’s commonly known an FTP client, though the term is a bit dated because there are more secure alternatives such as SFTP and FTPS. If you’re looking for a free FTP software, though, this compilation of the best free FTP clients will help you narrow your choices.

Keep reading to see the full list and learn why these free FTP clients made the cut.

How we created this list of the best free FTP software applications

When I was putting together this list, this was my criteria:

  • Supports secure file transfer protocols: FTP isn’t secure. Among its many flaws, plain FTP doesn’t encrypt the data you’re transferring. If your data is compromised en route to its destination, your credentials (username and password) and your data can easily be read.

    SFTP (which stands for SHH File Transfer Protocol) is a popular secure alternative, but there are many others.

  • Has a GUI: There are some awesome FTP clients with a command-line interface, but for a great number of people, a graphical user interface is more approachable and easier to use.

6 best free FTP clients

The six free FTP clients that made our list include:

1. FileZilla

Topping the list is FileZilla, an open source FTP client. It’s fast, being able to handle simultaneous transmissions (multi-threaded transfers), and supports SFTP and FTPS (which stands for FTP over SSL). What’s more, it’s available on all operating systems, so if you work on multiple computers — like if you use Windows at work, but you have a Mac at home — you don’t need to use a different application for your file-transferring needs.


This FTP client is available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

2. Cyberduck

Cyberduck can take care of a ton of your file-transferring needs: SFTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, and more. It has a minimalist UI, which makes it super easy to use.


Available on Windows and Mac OS

3. FireFTP

This Mozilla Firefox add-on gives you a very capable FTP/SFTP client right within your browser. It’s available on all platforms that can run Firefox.


Available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux

4. Classic FTP

Classic FTP is a file transfer client that’s free for non-commercial use. It has a very simple interface, which is a good thing, because it makes it easy and intuitive to use. I like its “Compare Directories” feature that’s helpful for seeing differences between your local and remote files.

Classic FTP

Available on Windows and Mac OS

5. WinSCP

This popular FTP client has a very long list of features, and if you’re a Windows user, it’s certainly worth a look. WinSCP can deal with multiple file-transfer protocols (FTP, SFTP, SCP, FTPS, WebDAV, and S3). It has a built-in text editor for making quick text edits more convenient, and has scripting support for power users.


Available on Windows

6. Free FTP by CoffeeCup

Another popular option is Free FTP by CoffeeCup. Free FTP can handle FTP, FTPS, SFTP, and more and is compatible with Windows.

This free FTP client offers fast speeds and an easy-to-use, visually pleasing interface. It also has several unique features like bookmarks, which save your place in folders, and a button for quickly creating ZIP folders.

For more advanced features, you have the option to upgrade to CoffeeCup’s paid version — Direct FTP.

Free FTP by CoffeeCup


Available on Windows

Honorable Mention: Transmit

For this post, I decided to focus on free software.

But it just doesn’t seem right to leave out Transmit (which costs $45) in a post about FTP clients because it’s a popular option used by web developers on Mac OS. It has a lot of innovative features and its user-friendliness is unmatched. If you’ve got the cash to spare and you’re on a Mac, this might be your best option.


Available on Mac OS

FTP client FAQs

What is FTP?

FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is a method for transferring files from one computer to another. With an FTP, you can transfer a file from your local computer to your remote server.

What is an FTP client?

An FTP client is a tool that enables you to use FTP to transfer files from your computer to your server as well as manage those files.

What are FTP clients used for?

FTP clients make it easier to transfer files from local computers to remote servers and manage the files on your server. You might transfer files using FTP to:

  • Upload files to your website
  • Back up your files
  • Enable remote access to files

Which FTP client do you use?

There’s a great deal of FTP clients out there. If your favorite FTP client isn’t on the list, please mention it in the comments for the benefit of other readers. And if you’ve used any of the FTP clients mentioned here, please do share your thoughts about them too.

Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions.

He’s a front-end developer. Connect with him on Twitter.

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