FTP: File Transfer Protocol. At one time, stand-alone FTP applications were used by everyone on the Internet to download files. FTP is built in to most browsers today. That’s how we download files. Uploading files to a web server is usually handled with FTP. Here’s a look at the best and worst and in between.
If you’re a long time Mac user you probably remember Fetch and Anarchy. For many years those were your choices for downloading and uploading Mac files to a server. They were cumbersome, not feature rich, and not very secure.
Today, File Transer Protocol programs run the full spectrum; great, in-between, and crummy. A quick “FTP” search of VersionTracker.com will yield more results than you’ll have time to try out.
There’s Captain FTP, FTP Thingy, AbleFTP, Hefty FTP, FTP Wizard, BulletProof FTP, CuteFTP Mac, Drop It, CrushFTP, Interarchy, RBrowser, Viconsoft FTP, Transmit FTP, Fetch (still around), Secure FTP, NetFinder, CyberDuck, and many others to numerous to mention.
Who says Mac OS X doesn’t have near the applications as windows? For crying out loud, how many FTP applications does a person need?
Some FTP applications for Mac OS X haven’t been upgraded in awhile. Call that “shareware that didn’t get shared enough.”
Here’s my list of what I’ve used, and/or bought and paid money to use:
• RBrowser (worked every time, needs GUI surgery)
• Vicomsoft FTP (excellent, can’t figure out the upgrades, though)
• Rumpus (not for the average user)
• Fetch (I’m as amazed as you; this is still in use)
• SecureFTP (nice guy from France built this)
• Netfinder (more like Mac OS 9; not many updates)
• SimpleFTP (so simple it’s not needed upgrade in awhile)
• CrushFTP (odd name, odd GUI, works well)
• Interarchy (Swiss Army Knife of FTP clients)
• Captain FTP (wicked cool logo)
• Cute FTP (has a Windows cousin, works well)
• Transmit (save the best for last)
There’s probably 5 to 10 times that many FTP applications still out there to be tried. Of course, if you like the command line interface (CLI), Mac OS X comes with a built-in FTP client. Navigation’s a bear, you gotta remember the commands, but it’ll work fine.
One of the early FTP clients for Mac OS X was RBrowser, followed up by SecureFTP. Both use an overextended Mac GUI—freakin’ windows everywhere for everything. Figuring out what’s what is a problem. Both work very well, though.
Interarchy (used to Anarchy, I think) and Fetch have converted from Mac OS 9 to OS X and continue to thrive. The GUI (interface) is painful for both, but they work well.
SimpleFTP is, as the name more than implies, simple. Not many features built in, but if all you need is FTP, that’s all you’ll get.
NetFinder found a crowd of users with Mac OS 9, but hasn’t seen an update in about two years for the OS X version.
Vicomsoft FTP is a favorite because of the extra features, ability to do secure transfers, the “droplet” feature, and the GUI is very good. Local files on the left, FTP location on the right. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
However, I bought Vicomsoft’s FTP app at version 4.0, and upgrading to 4.01, to 4.02, etc., is a monumental pain. I miss those “droplets” though. It was easy to create a link from your computer to a remote computer and store the information in an icon. Drag and drop a file to the icon and Vicomsoft would open the connection automatically, upload the files automatically, close down automatically.
I liked that automatic part.
Here’s what I use for FTP: Transmit.
Transmit is so good at what it does (transfers files) that’s it’s hard to image what kind of improvements they could come up with (droplets?). Standard FTP or Secure. Left and Right GUI navigation. There’s even a built in editor to make edits on remote or local files.
Transmit also does a great job keeping those sometimes flaky connections open.
I’ve tried more FTP programs than word processors. Some are good, some are really poor, Transmit is really good.
The developer has been a long-time Mac only outfit; Panic. Nice name, huh? Click Here for the web site and additional information.
What’s wrong with Transmit? Not many feature upgrades in recent years, although Transmit works great with OS X. It’s been rock solid for a long time.
What would I like to see? I love those droplets.
This is another in my series of “What’s On Tera Jean Patricks’ Mac.”