File transfers happen nearly every day. They can include photos, documents, games, music, and so much more. So, what do you do when there’s a file that’s too big to transfer through the regular methods? Use FTP, of course.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Basically, it’s what computers use to talk to each other and share information. Now, it’s easy to do on any Internet browser, but sometimes, it’s better to use an FTP client, especially if you want to upload some files in a secure way.
These FTP clients are used to access specific FTP servers. These servers hold information that you can then transfer to your own computer. Of course, if you want to access those files, you need to have your own account with the FTP client.
The good thing about FTP clients is that there are a wide variety of them, a lot of which are beginner friendly. This makes it easier to get the gist of what an FTP client is all about before going to a more complex FTP client.
Now, some of these clients have a price tag while others don’t. This article has a mix of both along with pros and cons of each one. Note that these are ones that will work with Linux computers. We’ll be starting with the free ones first, so if you want to skip straight to the ones with a fee, feel free to skip to the next section.
In case you want to use the FTP Command in Linux rather than using an FTP client, go to the final section near the bottom of the page.
Free FTP Clients For Linux
FileZilla is a free FTP client that supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS. It is available in many languages and is fast. Below are the pros and cons of using FileZilla.
- Supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP
- Supports transfer of files over 4GB
- Easy interface
- Remote file editing
- Can use on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, BSD, and more.
- Saved passwords are easy to hack
- Not very aesthetically pleasing
- Not very beginner friendly
Overall, FileZilla has a lot of features and can be a very effective FTP client. While there may be a bit of a learning curve to a new user, it is definitely a contender.
gFTP is another free FTP client that is very easy to use. It has an older interface that is simple to use, making it a great beginner FTP client to use. Below are more pros and some cons of gFTP.
- Currently supports 50 language translations
- Supports FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, and FSP
- Supports FXP file transfers (remote transfers)
- Supports EPLF, UNIX, MacOS, Novell, MVS, VMS and NT (DOS)
- Latest stable release from 2008
- Can’t view binary files
- Lacks some of the more complicated features
gFTP is still widely used, even though it hasn’t had a stable release in years. It is the perfect beginner FTP client, though a more advanced user may want to look at a different client.
LFTP supports many different protocols and is reliable. If a download is broken for any reason, it should start up again at the point where it stopped. Exiting the program while a job is still ongoing will result in LFTP going into nohup mode in the background, meaning it will still complete the job. Below are more pros and cons.
- Supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS, and FTPS
- Supports Bit Torrent
- Able to have a queue of jobs
- Ability to mirror downloads
- Local shell commands may not always work
This seems to be a pretty solid FTP client with a few hiccups. It may be a little confusing to look at for a beginner, but it won’t be hard to pick up.
NcFTP is a simple to use FTP client that was created in 1991, making it one of the older FTP clients on this list. Below are pros and cons of the NcFTP client.
- Very automated
- Can do background operations
- Fairly simple to use
- Will resume stopped downloads automatically
- Regularly updated
- Not the fastest client out there
- Can be made simpler for newbies to FTP clients
This is a simple to use FTP client, but it could be better. It has many complex capabilities, but those are weakened by the slower speed.
KFTP grabber was created in 2003 and tries to create a complete KFTP client for Linux. Below are pros and cons for the KFTP grabber.
- Two panel view making it easy to navigate
- FXP transfer support
- Supports SSL/TLS connections
- Supports OTP passwords
- May be difficult for a beginner
- Have to open separate window to add bookmarks
KFTP grabber is quick, but may have some things that make people annoyed. Overall, this FTP client is a good stepping-stone for people who aren’t beginners and want something easy and quick.
Konqueror is a very complex application that comes with an FTP client. It was made specifically for KDE. The FTP client part of Konqueror has many capabilities. Below is a list of pros and cons for Konqueror.
- Integrated into desktop
- Many view options making easy navigation
- Context-sensitive right-click menus
- Can transfer files between a variety of sources
- Lose some advanced capabilities
- Error handling non-existent
Konqueror is as great application to use for KDE and a great FTP client. It is quick and simple to use without much room for mistakes. Plus, there’s the added bonus of other content within the application.
FOFF stands for Free Open FTP Face and is a simple FTP client. It comes with the basic FTP client features, but works well for what it has. Below is a list of the pros and cons of FOFF.
- Quick startup
- Two panels, local files on the left and remote files on the right
- Image and text viewer
- No browser-like bookmarks menu
- Lacks professional features
FOFF may not be the right FTP client for everyone, but will help get a beginner situated within the world of FTP clients. It has the basic features of all FTP clients, so when a beginner does move on to a client that has more features, they won’t have as much of a learning curve.
Fire FTP is different than the others on this list because it’s actually a Mozilla Firefox add-on. It is already integrated into the browser, meaning there’s no need to download anything. Also, since it is attached to a browser, passwords and bookmarks will be stored in your browse’s cache. Below are pros and cons of Fire FTP.
- Visually pleasing
- Supports FXP transferring
- Drag and drop feature
- Supports renaming and permissions
- Not the best performance
- Resizing window makes it less visually appealing
Fire FTP is incredibly useful if you want an in-browser FTP client. While it may not work as quickly as other downloadable clients, it’s great for a plugin.
Nautilus is similar to Konqueror in that it was specifically made for a desktop, this one being Gnome. It has many of the same capabilities of Konqueror, but it doesn’t quite live up to what Konqueror can do. Below is a list of all the pros and cons of Nautilus.
- Easy to access and use
- Easy copy and paste
- Tabbed browsing
- Can work on remote server
- Can’t edit permissions
- High usage interferes with connection
Nautilus has a lot of very good features, but some of its downfalls may make it not the FTP client for you. It is beginner friendly, but if speed is high on your priority list, trying a different client may be more beneficial.
FTP Clients with a Price Tag
These FTP clients may need to be bought to use, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be better.
CrossFTP has many professional features along with the basic features. It also has a specific transfer protocol that is hard to find, which may make it worth it to buy if you are in need of that protocol. Below is a list of pros and cons of CrossFTP.
- Supports Amazon S3 transfers
- Drag and drop
- Multiple connections create tabs
- Has a queue list
- Can be very slow
- May have refresh problems
CrossFTP may be a necessary buy if you are in desperate need of Amazon S3. That being said, many of the other options are found in free FTP clients, so if that isn’t a necessity, try looking at the free clients instead. Due to the slower speeds, it may not be worth spending $25 on.
Igloo FTP Pro
Igloo FTP Pro is another pay to use FTP client, but it has its benefits. There are many features in Igloo that are incredibly useful to any person who needs quick FTP transfers. Below is a list of pros and cons of Igloo FTP Pro.
- Supports FXP transfers
- Supports SSL, TLS, and SRP connections
- Connect to multiple FTP servers at once
- Can schedule FTP jobs
- Drag and drop support
- May have trouble working with files over 2gb
Igloo FTP Pro has many powerful features and may be the perfect FTP client for your needs. Some people have had issues with files over 2gb, but it may not happen for everyone. With the other features Igloo has, it can be a very good buy.
Linux FTP Command
If you’re already familiar with doing commands and need to do a transfer remotely or just prefer doing it through a command, this is a simple walkthrough of how to do so. Sometimes, doing it this way is simply more beneficial.
Below is a basic run-through of what to do with the FTP command. If at any time during the connection you need help, simply type ‘help’ and a list of commands will come up on the screen.
- Step 1: Open FTP Connection
Open the terminal window and type ‘ftp’. Then, type the domain name or the FTP server’s IP address.
- Step 2: Login to FTP Server
If you have a username and password for the server, then enter those. If you are entering an anonymous server, sometimes putting anonymous as the username and not putting anything as the password will work.
- Step 3: List and Change Directories
Surprisingly, the commands for listing and changing the directories are very similar to what you do on the computer locally. The command for list is ‘ls’, the command for change is ‘cd’, and the command for creating a directory is ‘mkdir’.
Listing the directories is simply putting ‘ls’ and the server will come back with the directories.
Changing the directories is putting ‘cd directory’ and the server will say that the directory has changed.
In order to download files, you need to create a directory for the files to go into; otherwise they will go in the directory that you started with.
Put ‘lcd /home/user/yourdirectoryname’, changing the last one with whatever the directory name is.
In order to download the file, simply put ‘get file’ and it will download into the directory you specified, changing the ‘file’ to the name of the file you want.
Uploading files is similar to downloading them, but you use the ‘put’ command instead. Using ‘put file’ will upload the specific file to the FTP server.
If there’s a file not in the local directory, type ‘put /path/file’, changing the appropriate words to go with your needs.
- Step 6: Close FTP Connection
Closing the connection will keep the computer safe from any threats that could come through the open connection.
Using ‘exit’, ‘bye’, or ‘quit’ will close the FTP connection.
FTP Clients Aren’t So Bad
FTP can seem daunting to someone who isn’t familiar with the subject, but once a little research is done, the benefits of using an FTP client become apparent. The ease of transferring large files quickly is beneficial and easy to do with many of the clients.
Even though there are many different ways available to transfer files, using FTP will always be at the center of the fold and people will always come back to use them.
Linux, being the system of choice for many, has many different FTP client options, including a built in command system for FTP. This list hopefully helped narrow down the search for the perfect FTP client for your needs, no matter what they are.