With so many FTP clients now available, which is the best option for WordPress users, and beginners alike? What is an FTP client and why do you need it? We’ve created a guide just for you so that you can choose the most secure, reliable, and best FTP tool for your WordPress website files (and understand what it all means)!
What is an FTP client?
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is primarily used to transfer files (images, text, etc.) from one location to another. This is usually between a client (you) and a server (your web host). So, if you wanted to upload a bunch of images from your home computer to your WordPress website, you can easily do so with an FTP client.
FTP clients can do a lot more than just uploading files; they provide a secure connection so that you can edit, copy, delete, rename, and even create files and folders on your WordPress website.
Why do I need an FTP client?
You’re probably wondering why you even need an FTP client when you can easily login and access your WordPress website via your admin area; am I right? Well, what happens if you’re not able to access your admin area? What if there’s an error with your WordPress website that you can’t fix via WordPress itself?
Although it’s not essential to have an FTP client when using WordPress, it’s a really handy backup tool to have. There are plenty of free FTP clients available, as well as paid ones, so let’s take a look at how to use an FTP client, and take a look at the best ones available.
Using an FTP client
Now that we’ve established what an FTP client is, and why we might need one for our WordPress website, how do we actually use it? First of all, you’ll need a username and password to connect to your WordPress site via FTP.
You can obtain your FTP username and password from your web host’s welcome email; you would have received this after signing up and making payment for your web hosting. If you can’t find the email, you can also retrieve your FTP details via your web host’s control panel (or cPanel). Failing that, contact your web host’s support team and they can point you in the right direction.
When you load your FTP client, you’ll be asked to enter a host name (this is usually your website address, e.g. top10-websitehosting.co.uk), your username, and password. Once you’ve entered the required details, simply press connect to test and establish a connection.
You’ve probably noticed there’s also a field to enter a port number; if you enter the number 21 then you can access your WordPress website’s files. If you enter the number 22 you can also access your files, but under SFTP which is a secure and encrypted connection. We would always recommend that you use port 22 when connecting to any FTP.
Best FTP Clients for WordPress
Whether you’re using a Windows PC or a Mac, we’ve found the best FTP clients regardless of your platform or operating system. We’ve put together a list of our favourite FTP clients and what features and benefits they have to offer for your WordPress website.
A firm favourite amongst many, FileZilla presents an easy to use and intuitive user interface. Whether you’re an experienced developer or WordPress user beginner, you’ll find FileZilla a pleasure to work with.
FileZilla is extremely lightweight, meaning you won’t require much disk space in order to download the FTP client. Once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll be surprised at how much documentation is available to get you started.
Be sure to download FileZilla from their official website, then enjoy the ease of dragging and dropping files from your local machine to your WordPress website in seconds. Upload 1 or 1000 images and files; there’s no limit with FileZilla.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Cyberduck is becoming an increasingly popular FTP client, with its intuitive design and beautiful UI. Once you’ve connected to Cyberduck, you’ll notice how easy it is to edit existing files from your WordPress website, integrating with ease with external applications.
Cyberduck’s Quick Look feature enables you to quickly and easily preview your files so you don’t have to dive deep down into every folder looking for what you need. Once you’ve transferred your files, Cyberduck will remind you with a system tray notification.
Platforms: Windows, Mac
If you’re looking for the best FTP client for Mac users, then you’ll likely find it with Transmit. Because of its UI, Apple users will feel at home in an instant, so getting to grips with the interface won’t be a problem.
Transmit 5 has surpassed it’s previous technology, with even more speed, T5 is up to 16x faster. If you’re looking at transferring a lot of data and files from your Mac to your WordPress site, Transmit is the best client you’ll find.
Supporting large transfers and maintaining stability is easy with Transmit, and the best thing is, you can try it for free. We would highly recommend experiencing this FTP client, even if you don’t end up buying it (although you probably will).
Price: Free trial / Buy for $45
4. Free FTP
For Windows users, Free FTP is pretty popular because it’s very user friendly, especially for beginners. Although it’s UI is far more simplistic than other competitors, like FileZilla, it doesn’t mean that Free FTP isn’t as powerful.
With FTP, FTPS, and SFTP support, you’ll have no worries when uploading, editing, or deleting files from your WordPress website. You’ll also have access to a handy history feature so you’ll never forget where you stored a file or transferred one to/from.
CoffeeCup also offer Direct FTP which is a paid version of Free FTP with a few more advanced features, including a code editor, image viewer, and more.
Price: Free / Paid version $39
When you’re first faced with WinSCP’s user interface, it can seem a little overwhelming due to the number of features available (that’s why it’s so popular). However, it’s actually very easy to get the hang of, especially if you’re only using the FTP client for basic transfers to your WordPress website.
Similar to FileZilla, you’re presented with your client (computer) files to your left, and your WordPress website files to your right. It’s easy to drag and drop files, or upload, download, and edit them with the click of a button.
If you’re feeling brave, or you’re an advanced user, there’s plenty of features to keep you engaged, including SFTP, SSH and FTP support, as well as assigning default editors or use task automation.
FlashFXP is a versatile FTP client with familiar windows explorer type features, along with it’s user interface. We’ve placed FlashFXP 6th on the list because it’s possibly tipping the scales on being more loved by developers than beginners or those looking for a simple FTP client.
However, that’s not to say that FlashFXP is lacking features, in fact, there’s an ocean of tools available for webmasters, such as, file management, file permissions, and remote file editing. You’ll also be pleased to know FlashFXP covers FTP, FTPS, and SFTP, as well as being available in over 20 languages.
If you’re not 100% sure whether FlashFXP is right for you, they offer a free 30 day trial, so you can give it a go before buying. Simply drag and drop your files from your computer to the FTP client and see your WordPress website update in seconds.
Price: Free trial / Buy for $29.95
This FTP client is slightly unusual because it’s technically not an FTP client, it’s an add-on for Mozilla Firefox. FireFTP presents all the great features of any similar FTP client, without the need to leave your browser window. All you need to do is open up a new tab and you’ve got your FTP client without having to navigate to your desktop.
FireFTP supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS, as well as a simple drag and drop file transfer feature. It also boasts file compression, proxy support, file hashing, and much more. Because it’s a browser add-on, you can enjoy FireFTP on your Windows PC, Mac, or Linux system.
It’s free, easy to use, and flawlessly designed; we would definitely recommend FireFTP as a solution to those who aren’t interested in a full-blown FTP client, and would rather manage their WordPress website files in a browser window.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux