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I need an FTP client for Windows

Requirements:

  • Graphical and user-friendly
  • Feels like a Windows Explorer window, supports drag and drop
  • No nags/ads/spyware
  • Open source
  • Supports FTPS, SFTP, and all modern authentication mechanisms
  • Well-maintained. While FTP is not bleeding-edge, I want to avoid programs that has not received a single commit in more than 6 months. The most recent commits the better.
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  • 1
    The closed question is unclear, and has many highly-voted answers answers that are about a problem that only existed 5 years ago. I feel that a new question is more useful and fairer to answerers, but I am open to other opinions.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Jan 7, 2020 at 11:02
  • Linked question: Free FTP client for Windows
    – Basj
    Jan 8, 2020 at 10:05
  • 4
    for anyone who doesn't need sftp/ftps: windows explorer itself has an ftp client. just type ftp://server.com into the location bar. (as an answer to this question, though, i recommend the already-suggested winscp.) Jan 8, 2020 at 14:05
  • 1
    @WoodrowBarlow: +1. Even though it's not open-source, it works well and is easy to use. It's usually what I tell noobies to use when I send a link. It's possible to add login info so that they don't even need to type any password : ftp://username:p4ssw0rd@example.com It needs to be clear that it's Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer, though. Jan 8, 2020 at 18:43

2 Answers 2

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WinSCP matches all your requirements.

  • Graphical: Yes – There are two alternative interfaces:

    1. Commander interface:

      Commander interface

    2. Explorer interface:

      Explorer ingterface

  • Feels like a Windows explorer window: Yes – One of the interfaces is explicitly designed after Windows File Explorer.
  • Supports drag and drop: Yes – Both between file panels and between other applications.
    Uploading via drag&drop
    Downloading via drag&drop
  • No nags/ads/spyware: Yes.
  • Open source: Yes – GPL license
  • Supports FTPS, SFTP: Yes
  • All modern authentication mechanisms: Yes – SSH (for SFTP and SCP) is based on the up-to-date version of PuTTY. TLS/SSL (for FTPS, WebDAVS and Amazon S3) is based on up-to-date version of OpenSSL.
  • Well-maintained: Yes – Over 1000 commits and 18 releases in the last year.

(I'm the author of WinSCP)

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  • 1
    Supports FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, WebDAV and Amazon S3 file transfer protocols.
    – Petr
    Jan 7, 2020 at 10:05
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    @zero298 Why? WinSCP works fine in windows 10 does it not?
    – James T
    Jan 8, 2020 at 13:30
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    thank you for creating winscp! it is still one of those must-have programs on a fresh installation of windows. Jan 8, 2020 at 14:08
  • 3
    Bonus. there is also nuget libraries if you want to "code up" the functionality this provides. (even though i'm a long time user of FileZilla, I like this one too). nuget.org/packages/WinSCP Jan 8, 2020 at 15:49
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    @Trotski94 Yes, it works with Windows 10 (there is even a Windows Store-friendly install option). My guess is zero298 must be refusing to use/acknowledge Windows 10 for ideological reasons.
    – TylerH
    Jan 8, 2020 at 18:27
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I have used the 3 following FTP clients during the past years so here is my feedback:

  • WinSCP: the one that I currently use. There is a portable version, just one .exe file (and the .ini file for configuration). Don't forget to turn on the "Explorer" interface: View > Preferences > Environment > Interface > Explorer, which is (IMHO) handier.

    Benchmark: it is super fast! 4.5 sec to be connected to the server (time measured from double-click on the WinSCP icon until the server's file list is displayed).

  • Cyberduck: I've used it during years, it is great (double-click on a file => edit locally, CTRL+S in the local text editor => automatically reuploads without any popup, like WinSCP). The only drawback is that it is ... a bit slow. (Is it because it uses .NET framework and not pure WinAPI?).

    Benchmark: on my i5 laptop, it takes 5 sec. for the UI to show (after double-clicking on the Cyberduck icon), and a total of 19 sec to be connected to the server (time measured from double-click on the Cyberduck icon until the server's file list is displayed).

  • FileZilla: a well-known FTP client, which once was probably the most popular one. I don't use it anymore because of this, which totally ruins its user experience, from a developer prospective.

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