FileZilla is an FTP Monster

FileZillaFilezilla FTP Client, courtesy of Tim Kosse and the Filezilla Project, is a free, downloadable program that facilitates file transfers via the internet. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS, and supports FTP, FTPS and SSH file transfer protocols. Filezilla supports a wide range of languages. This is an open source project.

FTP client software is used to transfer files over networks. It is used both to download files from online repositories and to do bulk transfers such as uploading entire websites to remote servers.

Filezilla is a full-featured program that can handle everything from single file downloads to bulk transfers. The interface is clear and easy to understand, since it uses the tree system familiar to anyone who has used a graphical user interface. Drag and drop support makes transferring files intuitive.

The message log lets the user know exactly what is happening. There is the option of logging to file, viewing the activity in a window, or closing the window and ignoring the log altogether. Another window shows the transfer queue. To make life easy, Filezilla supports resume and transfer of files larger than 4GB. If needed, transfer speed limits can be set.

A network configuration wizard makes quick work of the initial setup. For those who like to do it themselves, the Quickconnect Bar stores the last ten connections, and the Site Manager lets the user store information for any number of sites. It also allows the user to bookmark sites and local directories for synchronized browsing.

Directory comparison can be enabled to compare filename or modification time, or to hide identical files. The differences are indicated by color code. There is an additional filename filter system that cuts through file clutter, making it easy to find files not only by name but also by size or attribute.

One of the most convenient features from a webmaster point of view is the remote file editing. This makes Filezilla a great way to make quick-and-dirty changes to HTML or text files. The editing system lets the user choose what program to use to edit a file, so other file types can also be modified on the fly.

Newcomers to FTP may find the documentation a bit obscure. This is not so much a failing of Filezilla as it is the nature of FTP. The online wiki and forum both have good information to help get started, including a detailed explanation of how FTP actually works. Since so much help is offered by the forum community, the lack of an on-board help file is understandable.

The toolbar buttons are small and a bit obscure. To help with this, Filezilla includes a selection of themes, each with its own collection of button icons. Several themes offer a choice of button size, up to 48x48 pixels, making this software package bifocal-friendly.

Filezilla is efficient and easy to use. The only learning curve associated with the program is simply understanding how to work with FTP. The basic FTP user will find it an easy way to download servers. Serious users will find plenty of tools to make life easier, and perhaps even learn a few new tricks along the way.

All in all, this program is worth more than many commercial products. Everything about it professionally done, and the Filezilla team works hard to find and squash any bugs. In fact, upon starting the program for the first time, a dialog box appears, asking the user to report any bugs. It’s a fine example of how open source projects can compete closed source products.

Highly recommended, if you ever use FTP at all.

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