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ftp clients

The file transfer protocol is a very common standard. This is a look at the common GUI and CLI ftp clients for Linux.


  1. Good GUI ftp clients
  2. Console ftp clients
  3. The best ftp client


1. Good GUI ftp clients

Just face it: There is no such thing!

1.1. kasablanca

kasablanca is a very user friendly ftp client for KDE.

kasablanca 0.3.1 is 638 kB and requires QT and KDE.

  • Supports fxp (direct ftp to ftp transfer)
  • Supports encryption using ssl/tls.
  • Stores bookmarks

1.2. ftpcube

ftpcube is probably the best choice for a GUI ftp client.

Among other things it features:

  • Threaded browsing and multi-threaded downloading
  • Site Management (bookmarks)
  • Remote Directory Caching

The source for ftpcube is only 87 kB. It is made with wxPython, meaning that you need to install this 12,152 kB library to use ftpcube...

1.3. gftp

gftp is your choice for a other free GUI ftp client. It uses gtk2 (1.x uses gtk) and has all the features you expect from a modern ftp client. The interface is old school and simple, but not very userfriendly.

gftp supports bookmarking of sites, logging, ssl and bandwith limiting. The bookmark editor is, like most of the other features, quite hard to use. By hard I mean that doing common tasks requires too much effort.

1.4. iglooftp

iglooftp is the best GUI ftp client. There is also a Windows version.

iglooftp is non-free and closed source.

1.5. konqueror

Konqueror is the KDE file manager. It has support for ftp and much more. You can login to ftp sites with a username and password like this:

ftp://username:password@your.ftp.org

2. Console ftp clients

The console based ftp clients are generally speaking a much better alternative than the GUI ftp clients. Today commersial developers aim at making you click nice buttons with a mouse instead of telling your computer what you want it to do with cryptic commands. This may seem nice, but is not the most productive way of getting tasks done.

2.1. GNU Midnight Commander

MC (manual page) is the best filemanager ever made and will probably rule the earth for years and years to come. When it comes to manageing files, MC does the job better than most alternatives.

It supports both ftp and scp (manual page), among other things. To visit a ftp site you can use the menu or simply change into the folder:

  cd ftp://user:pass@your.site.com/

This is actually a standard that also works in kde's konqueror.

2.2. ftp

ftp is the old common standard file transfer tool from netkit. This is a basic thing installed on all Linux systems. There is no good reason to use this as your regular ftp client.

2.3. yafc

yafc (Yet Another FTP Client) is a very good and feature-rich textbased ftp client.

Highlights:

  • cached directory listings
  • extensive tab completion
  • aliases
  • colored ls (ie, ls --color, uses $LS_COLORS like GNU ls)
  • automatic reconnect on timed out connections
  • recursive get/put/fxp/ls/rm
  • nohup mode transfers
  • multiple connections open simultaneously
  • tagging (queueing)
  • very configurable
  • autologin and bookmarks
  • automagically enters nohup-mode when SIGHUP received (in get and put)
  • redirection to local command or file
  • proxy support
  • Kerberos support (version 4 and 5, heimdal, kth-krb or MIT)
  • SSH2 support (sftp)

2.4. ncftp

ncftp is highly configurable and in short excellent.

In addition to the ncftp program you get ncftpput, ncftpget and ncftpbatch. These can with ease be used in scripts (and cron jobs).

ncftp has more than all the features you will ever need in a ftp client.

3. The best ftp client

The best overall ftp client is probably ncftp or yafc depending on your taste, MC if you want something with menus.

You do not need a seperate ftp client if you just want a quick peek, modern filemanagers commonly support

  cd ftp://user:pass@your.site.com/

and most browsers let you login and download files with the url

  ftp://your.site.com/

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