The Best FTP Client – WinSCP

When we moved over to the new servers, Shayne decided not to open up the port for FTP. Fair enough (a good security move). However, I was left with having to find another way to get in and easily edit files on the system. He recommended that I get an SCP client. I downloaded a few of ’em, not being all that impressed – then I stumbled across WinSCP. It handles SSH / SCP / SFTP sessions, and has direct hooks into PuTTY. I have a long history with FTP programs. Starting with the amazingly old and incredibly unintuitive WS_FTP, I moved to FTP Explorer. When the developer abandoned the project, I flipped to FTP Voyager – and found it to be completely overpriced for my needs. Then, it was off to SmartFTP, until the desktop flashing started to annoy me. I had veen on FileZilla up until recently (living with its shortcomings, too). WinSCP surprised me.

It doesn’t do everything I want it to do, but I discovered that you can locally edit remote files by double-clicking them! This feature alone has saved me so much time and energy. I had been relying on PSPad for the longest time to do all my server-based file editing through FTP (slow, clunky). While the WinSCP edit window leaves much to be desired, it’s quick and painless – and I can hook directly into PSPad for advanced functionality and seamless integration with the file transfer. Wow. Awesome. Cool. You need this. Forget the other FTP clients out there – if you don’t have this “edit locally, save remotely” feature in your FTP program, dump it. And FTP access through a plain ol’ file editor is just painful to navigate! WinSCP is wicked.

20 thoughts on “The Best FTP Client – WinSCP”

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  2. I’ve been using winSCP for months and agree it is the best around. Stupidly I didn’t know about the puTTY integration which I’ve now activated. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Chris, thanks for pointing out this brilliant tool. I installed it this morning and used it to transfer a site from one remote server to another and it worked brilliantly. I especially liked the fact that I could use my putty sessions and also the built in tar/gzip features. That meant that I didn’t need to go into putty command line to tar and untar – I could do it straight from the ftp client which speeds things up dramatically. Bye bye ws_ftp…

    (now if only it could transfer the mysql databse without me having to use phpMyAdmin – hey, maybe it can ;-))

  4. Why does the following code fail to work from a command-prompt in Windows,

    winscp3 scp://user:[email protected] /command “put c:myfile.dat”

    It connects to the host with no problem, but it doesn’t upload the file…any ideas why?

  5. Hey,
    I’ve been using WinSCP for a few months now, but, as I get addicted to it, I tryed to find ways of getting FTP to work with it aswell šŸ™‚ (that’s how I got here!).

    I’m glad to know they are adding FTP and will be available soon! yey =)

    I agree… WinSCP is a wevdev’s best friend!! =)

    cheers,
    ~Levi F.

  6. Thanks for this, Chris. Just installed WinSCP and loving it! I’m wondering about this Putty integration – has anyone managed to integrate through Putty without entering a password (it should do this when you check the “Remember session password and pass to Putty” option in Preferences->Integration, shouldn’t it?) Doesn’t work for me though šŸ™

  7. I had the same problem with winscp version 4.0 beta, passing password to putty.

    I installed winscp version 3.8.2 and then it worked fine.

    they must have broken it in version 4.

  8. Chris I went pretty much through the exact same clients as you before coming to winscp. However, there are shortcomings (memory intensive (slow transfers), bad gui for selecting the screen, lack of support for tunneling).

    So I have had to use Bitvise Tunnelier which is much better in those regards but missing putty integration and drag and drop from the desktop.

    Sigh… I just read abotu VEAM SCP which is supposed to be super fast so I am checking that out now.

  9. Do you know of any good ones for mac? I have made the switch and am in need of a good ftp client

  10. Considering WinSCP a good FTP client not only shows the technical incompetence of Chris Pirillo but the fact that he has no clue what is writing about.
    Also promoting WinSCP under other FTP client brands (FileZilla doorway page links to WinSCP) is certainly unethical as well.

  11. Nice article here. I have seen a lot of people using Filezilla and SmartFTP, I actually used to use it my self.

    I did a lot research and trial tests on many different ftp clients a few months back and I found out that BitKinex was by far the best FTP client out there.

  12. Actually both Filezilla and Winscp doesn’t support network share so no use for me.

    Any other free ftp client ?

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