I have a website, and I need free, cross-platform FTP file editor and uploader that's also a code editor that I can use to:

  1. Upload files such as HTML/PHP/ASP to my FTP server
  2. Connect to my FTP server to upload these files
  3. Have access to all files already on my website, and be able to edit them and easily overwrite them on the FTP server

Basically, a code editor with the ability to FTP.

Most multi-platform ones (such as Dreamweaver) cost money. By multi-platform, I mean support the most popular operating systems (Linux, Windows, OSX).

Edit It appears that some people might think this is a duplicate. However, that question is talking about a PHP/JavaScript editor; this needs to be able to support code hinting, etc. on other files such as css and html.


13 Answers 13


Notepad++ can do this with the nppFTP plugin. Now this isn't cross-platform, but I think it does deserve mention here. (And if no better solutions presents itself, you could even run it under Wine/CrossOver).

When you connect via nppFTP you get a filebrowser in a panel on the right, where you can directly open files from the tree, and changes are directly saved to the server via FTP/FTPS/SFTP. A more detailed description is here.


Netbeans provides excellent FTP on save or run functionality. I have been Using it for PHP, HTML, and Javascript. It does not support ASP for code highlighting/completion etc. But any plaintext should upload fine.

On the download page select the HTML5/PHP package if you are not interested in Java etc.

When you create a PHP project, you can specify "PHP Application From Remote Server" and then create an FTP connection to that server. I am not sure how to do this with pure HTML5 projects.


Sublime Text can do this with third-party plugins, like these ones :

  • FTPSync - only FTP, actively maintained, MIT license.
  • Sublime SFTP - SFTP support, actively maintained, commercial license with free trial with no time limit but it'll ask you every-so-often to buy it. I've tested it myself and it works perfectly.

Sublime Text itself is released under a commercial license with a free trial, it asks you to buy it every so often but you can just close the pop-up and continue using it anyway.


Emacs (home page) meets all your requirements. It's good (this is subjective so I simply assert that it is good; I do use it daily). It's free (it's one of the historical highlights of the free software movement). It's cross-platform (available on just about any Unix variant — get it from your package manager, or more recent versions for OSX, as well as on Windows and a few more exotic systems). It's a code editor (and then some). It understands FTP natively.

Other benefits of Emacs include that it's well documented, powerful, and extensible with a ton of plugins.

To open a remote file, specify the hostname and protocol, e.g.

/ftp:[email protected]/path/to/file

If you open a directory, Emacs shows you its file browser, which is called Dired.

That being said, I do not recommend this workflow. Editing code live on the server? Oh dear. One mistake and your site is down. One mistake and your site is toast — overwrite the wrong file or the wrong version and you've lost.

You will save yourself a host of trouble if you use version control. Work and test your site locally. When you have a working version, commit it, then deploy it to the server. That way, you always have a trace of working versions and you can easily revert to an older version if you introduce a bug.

Of course, Emacs has good integration with version control software.


Cyberduck does this with the editor of your choice - you can add editors from "edit -> preferences", simply right-click on a file and select "edit with", and your editor of choice. This would allow you to use your favoured IDE or code editor, like sublime text on files on your website as if it was a locally hosted file (Behind the scenes, it downloads, allows you to edit, and uploads the file, but that's good enough).

Cyberduck Demonstration

  • 2
    That animation is a nice touch :) +1 for that
    – MadTux
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 14:35
  • I made it with a piece of software called licecap - its very handy for showing things like that. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 14:37
  • Is there something like it for Linux?
    – MadTux
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 14:40
  • Not as far as I know. Might be a good question for the site! Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 14:41
  • @Journeyman Geek: Please make sure to include links for optimum answer quality. (I've just added one for you) Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 19:06

FileZilla is a good FTP file browser and allows for basic editing as long as you have the correct software install. So for example, if you wanted to edit index.html on your website, you can do you edits in a program like Notepad++(for example), save it, and then upload it back to your website. Plus its cross-platform and open-source.

If you are looking for an online tool that gives you the same ability, you can use Net2FTP which has the ability to edit some text files (HTML, PHP etc etc), as well as upload files.

  • This seems like a good idea, but now I'd have to find a whole nother free cross-platform platform for code editing; I want a two-in-one, is there any good program for that? (You can add this as another answer ;))
    – Cilan
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 0:36
  • @TheWobbuffet Right I see what your saying. I shall take a look then.
    – aman207
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 0:37
  • 6
    The only issue with FileZilla is that it doesn't auto-upload your files that you have edited in the external editor. You'll have to switch to the FTP editor, say Yes and then your modified file is uploaded. Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:54
  • 1
    @AmitAgarwal Yes! This thing is really terribly annoying. It totally destroys FileZilla's user experience. Because of this little thing, I moved to another FTP client (WinSCP and Cyberduck). I posted several messages on Filezilla forum about this years ago, but it was always declined "We will always keep the confirmation dialog because it's not safe otherwise" :/
    – Basj
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 11:16

Ultraedit (and its IDE superset, UltraEdit Studio) is an excellent programming editor; which also has a great native functionality to open/save files to FTP sites.

Linux examples and walkthrough

Windows examples and walkthrough:

Ultraedit FTP Open window

Please note that when you open a file from FTP, Ctrl+S will save straight to FTP.

It even has FTP site manager so you don't have to log in every time!

FTP Account Manager Window


CRiSP is a multiplatform editor (Mac/Windows/Linux) which can edit files from remote locations (including ftp/sftp support). It caches the files locally so you can edit as normal, and on saving, have the option to auto upload.

CRiSP pretty much contains all the modern features expected of a programmers editor (syntax highlighting, template support, default support for most languages); it supports multi-window editing (three modes - internally split windows, an MDI-like interface, or multiple top-level frames).

It's fast and small; it contains a C-like macro language, with full access to the GUI features. It includes file differencing along with viewing CSV data files.

It is commercial software, but free evaluations are available and if people mention StackExchange, I am sure we can arrange for free copies for people to use.


You can use Eclipse:

  • free and open source
  • FTP support (also SFTP) (send to FTP on file save)
  • Windows, Mac OS and Linux
  • HTML/PHP/ASP (and a huge amount of other languages)

I haven't really used it much before, but I think Bluefish supports FTP.

Bluefish supports many different languages, including the web-related ones (JS, HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, etc.) It has all the features you'd expect in a good GUI editor (source highlighting, etc.) while still being lightweight. It also has the FTP functionality. In the above linked video tutorial, the narrator demonstrates the features you needed:

  1. Bluefish can connect to an FTP server, edit files, and upload the new version
  2. Bluefish can also upload files like images, text, and what-not if you drag the files into the file pane in Bluefish


It's a cross-platform app (OSX, Windows, Linux and Chrome OS). IMO the best feature it has is the ability to natively edit live on an SFTP server.

Zed is a fully offline-capable, open source, keyboard-focused, text and code editor for power users. You can use Zed to edit local files as well as remote files on any server. Zed has all features you'd expect from a capable code editor.

(source: zedapp.org)

  • Syntax highlighting for many programming languages (e.g. C, Clojure, CoffeeScript, C#, CSS, Dart, Erlang, Go, Haml, Haskell, HTML, ini files, Java, JavaScript, JSON, LogiQL, Lua, Markdown, Nix, PHP, Plist, Protobufs, Python, Ruby, Shell, XML)
  • Code completion: symbols, snippets and property/method completion.
  • Built-in linting for some languages with inline markers (JavaScript, CoffeeScript, JSON, Lua, CSS)
  • Multiple cursors
  • Split-view editing
  • Themes: light and dark themes out of the box and you can easily develop your own using CSS.

To edit live on an SFTP server:

  1. Login via SSH
  2. Run curl http://get.zedapp.org | bash to download the accompanying server-side program. (zedrem.exe)
  3. ./zedrem
  4. Paste URL provided into Zed and start editing live

Cross platform ftp file/code editor is Visual Studio code. I have come to this page in search of the same and found npp here and used it for a while. But, found vscode having similar extension, hence the real solution. Better capabilities, cross platform and has SFTP/FTP on save facility. https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=lukasz-wronski.ftp-sync


The Dolphin file manager provides transparent access to FTP servers. You simply write “fish://” (unsecured FTP) or “sftp://” (SSH/FTP) followed by the path to your server, and you can navigate the contents as you would navigate your local file system. It is also the same when it comes to editing files.

You could, for example, use Dolphin to access your server, and then edit the files in the FTP server with any editor that you like. Any time you save those files, the underlying KDE technology (KIO) takes care of overwritting those files in the FTP server.

No need for a special editor. Use whichever you like the most.

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