Whether you do you work on the web, run a home FTP server, or you just prefer a quick download from time to time, a solid, full-featured FTP client can be lifesaver. You've got tons of options—both free and shareware—for your FTP needs, so finding the right FTP client can be difficult. Read on for a detailed look at the five best FTP clients for your money.
WinSCP, aka Windows Secure Copy, is a free, open-source FTP client. Supporting both SFTP and SCP protocols (upshot: secure transfers), WinSCP is fast and lightweight while still supporting advanced features like remote text editing. When you open a plain text file, WinSCP can open the file in your text editor of choice. Every time you save the file, it transparently saves and uploads the changes to the remote server. Added bonus: a portable version is available. WinSCP's synchronised browsing feature is also worth a look.
Transmit (Mac OS X)
Transmit is a shareware ($US30) FTP client packed to the brim with innovative features. It covers all of the usual suspects, including remote file editing and folder sync, and it's also got tons of Mac-centric features like a Dashboard widget, .Mac syncing of your favourites (bookmarked FTP servers), droplets for quick drag-and-drop uploading to favourite locations, inline previews, and Automator support. Transmit can even do server-to-server transfers from one server's tab to another's.
FireFTP (All Platforms with Firefox)
FireFTP is a Firefox extension that integrates a powerful FTP client directly into our favourite browser. FireFTP isn't the most feature-rich client of the bunch, but if all you need is a simple FTP client for the occasional upload or download, FireFTP is more than up for the job. Even better: You don't have to install a separate program for FTP, since it all runs from the warm and fuzzy comfort of the 'fox. If you're running Firefox Portable on your thumb drive, you can take FireFTP with you wherever you go.
FileZilla (All Platforms)
FileZilla is a free, open-source FTP client for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Due to its pricetag (or lack thereof), cross-platform support, and ease of use, FileZilla is a go-to option for many users new to FTP. Users stick around because FileZilla is a fast, full-featured (it also has remote file editing), and reliable FTP client in constant development. There's even a portable version you can toss on your thumb drive to use FileZilla on the go. Finally, if you're a Windows user you can even use FileZilla to build your own home FTP server.
Cyberduck (Mac OS X)
Cyberduck is a free, open-source FTP client for Mac OS X with support for most of the usual suspects in transfer protocols in addition to WEbDAV and Amazon S3. It also supports Quick Look, Growl, and remote editing with your text editor of choice. Cyberduck is a go-to client for Mac users who aren't happy with FileZilla and don't want to shell out any cash for Transmit flock to the duck for full-featured FTP and then some.
Now that you've seen the best, it's time to warm up your clicking finger and pick a favourite.