On a few occasions I have been asked “Why do I need an FTP client?”. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to using an FTP client.

“Secure digital information is more important than ever.” It’s a statement nearly any company that uses the internet has heard time and time again. Today, we enjoy numerous options when it comes to file security. Some transfer options offer outstanding speed and technological advances, while others are tried and true. At SmartFile, we’re here to make choosing a transfer method much more manageable. Although FTPs have been the standard in the past, they aren’t the only way of getting your files where they need to go. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of FTP clients. 

What Is FTP?

FTP, or file transfer protocol, is a method of transferring files to different computers using the internet. When FTP was developed in the 1970s, it was a revolutionary technology, allowing quick and easy file transfers. But even though FTP hosting has advanced over the years, it hasn’t always been known as the most secure file transfer method. 

Get the Facts About FTP Clients 

At SmartFile, we’re always ready to listen to your questions. Our team members are often asked, “Why do I need an FTP client?” and “Why can’t I do everything with my FTP site?” While the SmartFile application offers top-notch browser access, some situations are best handled with an FTP client. Before you make any decisions about file transferring, here’s what you need to know about FTP clients: 

Advantages of FTP Clients

Over the years, we’ve worked with countless companies that have benefitted from an FTP client. In fact, we can even help users across your organization connect to the proper files. Here are just a few advantages of this time-tested transfer method: 

  • Allows the transfer of multiple files and directories
  • Ability to resume a transfer if the connection is lost
  • Ability put items into a queue to be uploaded or downloaded
  • Allows you to schedule transfers
  • No size limitation on single transfers (browsers only allow up to 2 GB)
  • Scripting capabilities through command line
  • Synchronizing utility
  • Faster transfers then HTTP
  • Supported on almost all hosts (per Randy Downs at Downs Consulting Services)

Disadvantages of FTP Clients

While FTP clients make file transfers as easy as a few clicks, they are not without their drawbacks. As you search for safe online file sharing methods, be sure to take these disadvantages into account: 

  • 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 port on the wrong computer
  • Difficult 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)

Enjoy the Advantages with Fewer Disadvantages

Clearly, FTP clients aren’t perfect. But you can use clients and the FTP site hand-in-hand depending on your specific needs. With the help of the SmartFile team, you can have it all! We’ll set you up with secure usernames and passwords, activity alerts, audit trails, and much more to enhance file security. Our FTP solutions give you many more tools on top of FTP, such as custom branding, web access, network storage mapping, compliance record logs, and custom user roles. If you’d like to use an on-premises appliance, you can gain even more from your FTP–learn more about our all-in-one on-prem appliance.

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

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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!

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