Due to the sheer flexibility and convenience of transferring files between computers over a TCP/IP-based network such as the Internet, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) has long been a viable proposition. Considering the ease of use, I don’t see any reason why it won’t be a preferred choice for transferring files from servers to your computer or vice-versa in the foreseeable future. So if you are yet to take advantage of this popular file transfer protocol or plan to switch to a more proficient one, these are the 10 best FTP clients for Mac and Windows you should check out in 2021.
Best FTP Clients for Mac and Windows in 2021
Before we take a look at the best FTP clients for macOS and Windows 10, let us talk about the key advantages of using a dedicated tool to transfer files. Then, we will run through the list of FTP clients you should be using. You can expand the table below to jump to a relevant section of your choice.
What are the Major Advantages of Using FTP Clients?
While there are numerous benefits of using FTP clients, I would like to point out the four most pivotal ones for smoother transfer of files and enhanced productivity.
- The flexibility to connect to multiple servers at once: Most modern FTP clients for macOS/Windows allow you to connect to multiple servers simultaneously. Hence, you can manage your files faster and with maximum proficiency.
- The support for multiple cloud services: The support for multiple cloud services, including Dropbox and Google Drive, ensures you don’t have to hop from one end to the other to keep track of your files.
- Transfer files (Back and Forth) and edit them remotely: When you want to be always in control of your files, the option to transfer files and edit them remotely comes in super handy.
- Seamless synchronization: With reliable synchronization, the FTP clients ensure that all of your files remain in sync. It not only simplifies the whole experience but also plays a vital role in enhancing your productivity.
Which FTP Client Should You Choose for Mac or Windows?
Even though your choice of an FTP client entirely depends on your preference and budget, I recommend you take a close look at all the offerings below before selecting one. The reason why I say it because there are some great players in the fray.
While some FTP clients are feature-packed with high-end tools, including support for all popular file transfer protocols and cloud services such as SFTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and Dropbox, others focus on offering hassle-free file management.
Predictably, most feature-rich FTP Mac clients are pricey. But some pretty good free Mac FTP clients can comfortably fit your basic needs. To make your task of finding the right FTP client for macOS and Windows easy, I have mentioned both pros and cons of each software below. With that out of the way, let’s get started with the roundup!
If you are on the lookout for a highly-rated yet free FTP client for your Mac, Cyberduck has got everything you need. The cross-platform FTP client integrates seamlessly with macOS. Probably the best part about it is the ability to deliver proficient remote file editing to let you manage your files at your own pace.
The compatibility with several popular file transfer protocols/services such as FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, Backblaze B2, Microsoft Azure, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox make it very user-friendly. Another feature worth taking note of is the support of several external code editors, which is a big plus from the flexibility perspective.
Thanks to the support for essential features like the ability to locate files in the Finder and store login credentials in the keychain, the handling of files feels easy-going. What’s more, you can also organize your bookmarks with the drag and drop functionality and synchronize local items with remote directories for better management. On top of all, you don’t have to pay anything to get the most out of Cyberduck, making it one of the best free FTP clients for Mac in 2021.
- Efficient remote file editing
- Designed to work with several external code editors
- Supports a wide range of protocols such as FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV
- Supports API connections with cloud services including Google Drive and Dropbox
- Boasts advanced SSH functionality and bookmarking capability
- Client-side encryption
- Feels a bit sluggish
- The user interface doesn’t look impressive
Platform: Mac, Windows
2. Transmit 5
Developed by Panic Inc, Transmit is a popular FTP client, especially among the web developer community. What makes it stand out is the blazing fast speed and the seamless folder syncing between local and remote servers. Designed for Mac only, Transmit also allows you to transmit shortcuts to Finder as favorites for quick connections. The support for SSH, FTPS, SFTP, Amazon S3, and WebDAV protocols further enhances its reputation as a feature-rich offering.
Transmit 5 puts more emphasis on the clean user interface without cutting down the wide range of features. Hence, it doesn’t look daunting, or for that matter, compels you to go through a tedious learning curve. Personally, I like to use tags for organizing files. And I must say that Transmit hasn’t disappointed me in this regard.
The FTP client also works with Terminal to let you unlock a ton of hidden potentials. So, if you are a power user, you would love to tap into this feature. That aside, it provides 2-factor login to let you safeguard your sensitive information against hacking. Add to that the support for several languages such as English, Chinese, French, and German, and it becomes hard to look beyond Transmit.
- Supports SSH, FTP, FTPS, SFTP, Amazon S3, and WebDAV protocols
- Folder syncing between local and remote servers
- Ability to add transmit shortcuts to Finder as favorites for hassle-free connections
- Support for several cloud services including Amazon Drive, Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, and Google Drive
- Super handy file skipping options
- Built-in code editor
- Bandwidth limiting
- Dashboard widget
- Supports multiple languages
- Tends to install adware by default
- A touch expensive
Price: Free with limitations, paid version starts at $45
CuteFTP is a feature-packed FTP client for Windows. So, if you are hunting for top-of-the-line features that can let you edit and manage files with better control along with reliable support, you shouldn’t miss out on it.
Though CuteFTP does require a steep learning curve, you would enjoy using it once you have gone past the initial stage. Features like FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV support, OpenPGP encryption, and file compression make it a complete FTP client. What I have loved the most about it is the color-coded HTML editor and scheduling, as well as automation features, including backups and syncing.
You can easily connect to new FTP sites and update, as well as maintain files with ease. Whether it’s creating HTML documents or editing them on a computer or remote server, the native HTML editor makes the task look straightforward.
Moreover, CuteFTP also makes it incredibly straightforward to access and share files from a computer to a mobile device or vice-versa. For the folks who have to deal with large files, it could be a big deal. Notably, the One-time password authentication protocol along with a smart password manager enables you to work securely with multiple remote sites. Though the $60 starting price does seem a bit over the top, the wide range of powerful features, including the option to manage your passwords, make it worth serious consideration for power users.
- Color-coded HTML editor
- Supports OpenPGP encryption and file compression
- FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV support
- One-time password authentication
- Scheduling and automation features such as backups and syncing
- Segmented downloading
- Built-in wizard to help beginners
- Warrants steep learning curve
- Lacks a file comparison feature
- Doesn’t offer connection support for cloud laaS provider
Price: Starting at $59.99
4. Commander One
Commander One is a versatile FTP client for Mac. It has the support for multiple protocols, including FTPS, SFTP, and WebDAV, as well as cloud services to let you transfer and manage files with the desired flexibility.
The FTP client boasts a fluid user interface that ensures smooth navigation. So, you can perform usual tasks like copying, editing, moving, or deleting files conveniently. Moreover, the file manager also provides a better way to keep all the files organized for quick access. And if you want to amp up your customization game, there is also a Terminal emulator to get the job done for you.
Personally, I have found the task manager a great addition. What makes it so helpful is the ability to let you sort out your tasks so that you can complete them before the deadline. Not to mention, the archiver has also impressed me no end and helped keep the clutter at bay.
While Commander One is available for free, unlocking all the features will require you to opt for the premium version that starts at $30.
- Ability to quickly enable and disable hidden files
- Support for tabs
- Intuitive user-interface
- Huge hotkey support
- Terminal emulator
- A quick view of text files and images
- Lacks an efficient multi-rename feature
- Doesn’t offer a way to compare directories feature
Price: Free, pro version starts at $29.99
For managing your files and keeping them in sync with your workflow, you can’t go wrong with CloudMounter. The robust manager of cloud data provides deep integration with Finder to help you take control of your files. Furthermore, it also offers a straightforward way to mount cloud storage and remote servers as network drives. So, if you are willing to opt for a smarter way to save space on your SSD, the functionality to map all popular cloud services, including Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, and Dropbox, can serve your needs better.
ClountMounter provides support for multiple connections, thereby letting you manage your files at your preferred flow. The software also offers you the flexibility to transfer your files among different cloud accounts without copying them to your computer. If you often have to shift your files from one cloud service to the other, you would indeed appreciate this nifty feature.
My favorite CloudMounter feature is Shared With Me, which makes it more convenient to handle files or folders shared with me. From a collaboration perspective, it’s a notable pick for me.
- Shift files among cloud accounts
- Multiple connections
- Compatible with multiple cloud services including Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, and Dropbox
- Clutter-free interface
- Doesn’t offer a freemium version
- File organizing could be better
For the folks looking for an efficient open-source FTP client, Filezilla can be an ideal answer for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it has a clean interface and is pretty easy to use. That means you won’t have to spend a lot of time mastering the tools, making FileZilla more suitable for beginners.
While Filezilla may not be feature-rich, it has all the bases covered. Features like the support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS, and SSH FTP, neat bookmarking, and compatibility with IPv6 make it user-friendly. Notably, it also provides a fast remote file search so that you can track down an important file.
Even in terms of security, Filezilla is up to the mark as it promises to transfer files with the needed security protocols. Overall, it’s a top-notch pick if you are looking for an easy-to-use and free FTP client for Mac or Windows.
- Remote file searching
- Support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS, and SSH FTP
- Support for IPv6
- Remote file editing
- Neat bookmarking
- Secure file transfer
- Installs adware upon installation
- Drag and drop interface needs refinements
Platform: Mac, Windows, and Linux
Claiming to be the fastest FTP client, CrossFTP is easily one of the best in the business. It focuses on offering a simplified file management experience. Whether it is copying, editing, or managing, it allows you to handle your files on your own terms.
CrossFTP also offers download speed control so that you can prevent the downloading of large files from being stuck. Another feature that has caught my eyes is the ability to manage multiple connections with utmost ease. If you have to deal with multiple connections and wish to handle them all efficiently, CrossFTP is what you should choose.
What’s more, CrossFTP is available for free with all the basic features, including password encryption, archives, and local file search. And if you want to unlock all the features, you will need to go for the premium version (CrossFTP Pro ($24.99, CrossFTP Enterprise for $39.99).
- Fast local file search
- Batch transfer
- Supports Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure
- Sound and event notifier
- Multi-thread turbo engine
- Multi-part upload
- At times, downloads are not paused
- Interface looks old-fashioned
Platform: Mac, Windows, and Linux
Price: Free, $24.99 for Pro, $39.99 for Enterprise
ForkLift is another Mac-only FTP client. It’s fully optimized to get the most out of robust hardware and the powerful software that Mac boasts. Besides, it has an uncluttered modern-looking interface that feels smooth and offers a ton of customization. So, depending on your needs, you can customize the essential tools and features in line with your workflow.
ForkLift is well-known for quick file encryption and provides reliable synchronization. Even in terms of file management, it is up to the task. One of my favorite features of this FTP client is the option to batch rename files and view them on the server without having to download them. Besides, it also offers zip archiving so that you can keep the unwanted stuff out of sight.
Personally, I always prefer to have multiple connections at the disposal for the needed flexibility. So, the ability to work and save multiple connections simultaneously has impressed me. Notably, it also supports the dark mode to ensure your extensive work at night doesn’t hurt your eyes.
- Option to connect to SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, Google Drive, Rackspace CloudFiles, SMB, AFP, and NFS
- Batch rename of files
- View files on the server without downloading
- Ability to playback audio and video files
- Compare local and remote source
- File synchronization
- Option to work and save multiple connections at once
- Supports dark mode
- Sometimes. the sync feature fails to keep the last used settings
Price: Free with limitations, starts from $29.95 (single-user license)
9. Viper FTP
There are multiple reasons why Viper FTP deserves a close look if you are looking for the best FTP clients on Mac. First and foremost, the FTP client has struck a fine balance between ease of use and powerful features. So, you won’t have to compromise with the high-end features in favor of simplicity. Notably, it also features an intuitive user interface designed to boost your productivity by letting you perform tasks with the required proficiency.
Viper FTP enables you to transfer files not only over FTP but also FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and YouTube. This versatility allows you to manage files depending on what works best for you. As for file management, it lets you upload files and folders to multiple servers at once. Moreover, it offers the convenience of transfering files in the background without halting a server and connecting local files with remote folders.
Features like the option to create an HTTP URL of a selected file, edit files on a remote server, and manage local archives enable you to take control of your files without being embroiled in complexity. On top of all, Viper FTP tracks your activity and keeps a record of everything so that you can go back in time and check the history. Pretty well-thought-out, isn’t it?
- Flexibility to transfer files by FTP, FTPS, SFTP, Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, WebDav, and YouTube
- Upload files and folders to multiple servers with ease
- Create HTTP URL of a selected file
- Browse your history
- Edit files on a remote server
- Manage local archives
- Secure AES-256 encryption
- Highly intuitive user-interface
- At times, it tends to crash when trying to establish a new connection
Price: Free with limitations, premium version starts at $18.95 (single-user license)
Last but not least, FireFTP is a little different from other FTP clients. For starters, it is not a desktop program and instead runs in the Firefox browser as an add-on. That means you won’t have to download it separately on your computer.
FireFTP has a pretty clean UI, which makes navigation smooth sailing. Besides, it also feels snappier, allowing you to carry out your task without any noticeable sluggishness.
In terms of features, FireFTP checks off all the bases. The support for different protocols like SFTP, the handy drag and drop gesture, and the useful file compression, make it a decent FTP client. That’s not all, though. It also provides proxy support, reliable synchronization with IPv6, and secure file sharing.
Being available in 20 different languages, FireFTP ensures you can choose to work in your desired language. In a nutshell, if you are after a lightweight and free FTP client for your macOS, Windows, or Linux machine, you should give it a try.
- Pretty easy-to-use
- Allows you to upload and download files with ease
- Neat interface
- Proxy support
- Supports synchronization with IPV6 and file hashing
- Drag and drop support
- File compression feature
- Available in 20 different languages
- Lacks folder syncing
- Works only with Firefox
Platform: Mac, Windows, and Linux
Top FTP Clients Designed for macOS Lined Up for You
That’s all there is to it! I guess your long hunt for a powerful or easy-to-use FTP client for Mac or Windows has finally come to an end. But before you may get deep into transferring or managing your files, be sure to let me know your favorite FTP client. Also, make sure to tell me the reasons why you chose the one you did in the comments below. If there is any notable FTP client I have missed and needs a mention in this roundup, do let me know, and I will check it out.