On a few occasions I have been asked “Why do I need an FTP client? Can’t I do everything with my FTP site?” By FTP site, they mean FTP browser access like the one that the SmartFile application provides. While browser access in nice, some situations are best handled by an FTP client. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to using an FTP client.

Advantages of FTP clients

  • Allows you to transfer multiple files as well as directories
  • The ability to resume a transfer if the connection is lost
  • The ability to add items to a “queue” to be uploaded/downloaded
  • Many FTP clients have the ability to schedule transfers
  • No size limitation on single transfers (browsers only allow up to 2 GB)
  • Many clients have scripting capabilities through command line
  • Most clients have a synchronizing utility
  • Faster transfers then HTTP
  • Supported on almost all hosts (per Randy Downs at Downs Consulting Services)

Those are just a few of the advantages of using an FTP client. While the clients help make transfers easier they are not without their drawbacks.

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Disadvantages FTP clients

  • Usernames, passwords and files are sent in clear text
  • Filtering active FTP connections is difficult on your local machine (passive is preferred)
  • Servers can be spoofed to send data to a random port on an unintended computer
  • Hard to script jobs
  • TLS 1.2 not always supported over https (use cURL instead) (per Steve Silberberg at Fitpacking)
  • Easy for inexperienced users to wipe out work (per Sam Williamson at Aims Media Glasgow)
  • Inconsistency/inability to track what has been uploaded on the remote system (per John Chapin at Capital Technology Services)

In those cases you can see where using the web interface would eliminate these issues. Both FTP clients and the FTP site have their advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately you are able to use them hand-in-hand depending on your specific needs.

Get More FTP Advantages With Less Disadvantages

Don’t you wish you had:

  • An audit trail to know when a file was opened, deleted or moved?
  • Secure usernames and passwords?
  • Activity alerts based on file activity?

If your FTP server doesn’t need to sit behind your firewall, try SmartFile for free. You can use your FTP client to access your data while getting a full audit history of your user and file interactions.

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This FTP solution gives you so many more tools on top of FTP, like custom branding, web access, network storage mapping, compliance record logs, custom user roles and much more.

For those looking to gain more from FTP through an on-premises appliance, and add hundreds of advantages while eliminating nearly all disadvantages, learn more about our all-in-one on-prem appliance.

All-In-One File Management With FTP Advantages

Do you need the advantages created by your FTP client along with other access methods like your browser, mounted drives, Outlook and even through an API? Then try SmartFile free for 14-days, no credit card or installation required!

Claim Your Trial

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About Brian Dowden

I am the Director of Client Services at SmartFile. My job is to make sure customers are happy with the SmartFile Web App and continue to use it. I am also responsible for being awesome 100% of the time. So far my record is flawless.

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