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If you own a website, have a home network, or otherwise need to transport files between two PCs, you’ve likely come across File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and FTP programs. I’ve used 20 or so FTP programs over the last 12 years and there are literally hundreds, if not thousands available. In this article, I list my top five. If you know of a program you really like, which is not here, let us know in the comments.

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FireFTP is unique to this list as it is not a standalone program—this is a Firefox extension. The reason I really like this program is because you don’t need to install separate software and you have access to it when you browse the web. The feature set is limited (often a bonus manifest in lack of bloat) but it does the job of transferring files between computers. I’ve used this software on computers where I don’t want to install a full-fledged program. If you’re new to FTP but know how to use Firefox extensions, you should probably start with this one.

Download FireFTP (Firefox Extension)


I use PuTTY on my work PC and it’s a solid piece of software. I don’t have much to say about it other than, if you’re a geek, you’ll likely want to use this program over the rest listed here. PuTTY comes with the most bells and whistles (don’t get me wrong, it’s not flashy looking and it’s not bloatware) and will keep nerds entertained day and night!

Download PuTTY

Bitvise Tunnelier

Tunnelier is my current Windows FTP client of choice. With it, I can connect to any of my web servers, other PCs in my home, and connect via SSH to my iPhone. These are standard features of most FTP programs, but I really like how this client is packaged and how it uses little system resources. (P.S. I just realized Windows Guides’s IP is in this screenshot (type in your browser’s address bar… where does it take you?)

I also like how, if configured correctly, you can connect to a client PC, via remote desktop, with this program. Having access to the command line is a big plus (and, once again, a standard feature) but I’ve been using this software for over a year now and am really happy with it.

Download BitVise Tunnelier


WinSCP was my FTP client of choice when I started Windows Guides (alongside FileZilla, which didn’t make it to the list.)

This program has everything you need for file transfer, secured file transfer, and more. This, like PuTTY, is a favorite among the geeks for its all-round feature set and free price tag.

Download WinSCP

Windows Command Prompt

If you really want to get down and dirty, the Windows command prompt has all you need. Just open the command prompt and run the ftp command to go into FTP mode. From there you open the desired connection and authenticate. Typing help will give you a list of available commands.

Which FTP software do you use and why?

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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6 thoughts on “Best Free FTP Programs”

  1. RSVR85 says:

    lol, i never knew the command prompt was able to do this! Brilliant!
    I use WinSCP nowadays but Firezilla used to be my fav. Why? WinSCP is much thinner and faster!

  2. fizzbin88 says:

    I still like FileZilla Portable.

  3. RSVR85 says:

    Interesting you didn’t include Firezilla Rich. Got an explanation for that or did you assume Firezilla was a given?! :)

    (P.S How many times has www.mintywhite.com attempted to be accessed via. FTP since this post? lol)

    1. Rich says:

      I just didn’t feel it matched up to the five here but I think I’m alone in that judgment. I used it for years but prefer these applications for their simplicity (command prompt) and good CLI support (Tunnelier, PuTTY)

  4. Keshav Khera says:

    Good to see you’re still going strong, Rich.

    1. Rich says:

      Thanks Keshav! Good to see you around.

Comments are closed.

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