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Keywords: FTP client, file transfers, open source software

Title: FileZilla FTP Client


Licence: Open source - GPL

Platform: Windows (32-bit)

Verdict: Highly recommended.


There are plenty of FTP clients around - a quick Google will throw up hundreds available just a click away. Some are pay-ware, some are shareware and, increasingly, some are open source. Of these FileZilla is definitely one to investigate if your are running on a Windows platform. Released under the GNU Public Licence (GPL), the FileZilla project, hosted on Sourceforge, includes two applications. The first, and the focus of this review is the FileZilla FTP Client, the second is the FTP Server which is not covered here at all.

Installation is very straightforward - download the setup.exe or the .zip, double-click on the executable and off you go. The standard install includes the program and documentation in English, but this can be changed and a custom install has options for other languages and the C++ source code of the program. Other choices during the install include selecting whether to use the Windows registry or an XML file (the better option in our opinion), and whether to remember passwords or not (a sensible security option for a shared machine, for example).

In use the program presents a very clean interface. The traditional tree view of the local machine and the remote host allow dragging and dropping of files and directories. The normal sorting options are available and right-clicking on files provides options to delete, rename, upload etc. In addition to the file views there is a simple terminal window that allows entry of FTP commands and echoes the FTP traffic when you drag and drop files or perform other operations with the mouse or using menu options. Finally, there is also a transfer progress pane at the bottom of the screen that indicates how well your FTP transfers are doing (or not). In all it's a very clean, very intuitive and very useable interface.

The management of host details is via the Site Manager. This is effectively a window into a simple database of sites that includes connection details (address, user name, password etc), as well as sets of preferences (including default directories, transfer mode and so on). This is familiar stuff if you've ever used another FTP client, but again this is a clean and useable interface. All of the entries in the Site Manager are available via a drop-down list on the tool-bar, making connection very easy.

A nice option is that FileZilla allows multiple connections to be used. This means that multiple files can be transferred in parallel, and this is easily configured via the settings menu.

In addition to FTP, FileZilla also supports SFTP and GSS. All of the standard transfer features such as ASCII/Binary, compression, firewall settings and so on are all supported.

The program also has lots of nice but simple features. There's a quick connect option that allows connection to sites without having to create a new entry in the Site Manager (very useful if you want to download a device driver from a vendor site that you'll never visit again). It can also be set to remember settings when exiting, so if you visit the same site again and again everything is set up ready when you load the program again.

With such a good interface documentation isn't really an issue, but it does exist and it's very good. Better still is that there is a full help file which should answer most questions.

As you will have gathered by now, FileZilla gets the full TechBookReport seal of approval. It's our FTP client of choice on Windows, try it, it might become yours.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2005. Published May 27 2005