FTP stands for file transfer protocol. Simply stated FTP programs allow you to transfer files from one computer to another. Technology experts will tell you that it is built on a client-server architecture, but if you are not a technology geek, you might not know what that means.
A client-server architecture means that there is a server, usually, but not necessarily, on the internet. The server provides a service for a number of different clients. Clients can be different people, different computers, or the same person with different accounts.
Do you need one? Maybe. An FTP program can be extremely helpful if you are building and maintaining a website. Why? Because it enables you to create and edit your website on your computer without taking your site down, and then once you’ve made your additions and corrections, upload the completed files to your website. In addition, you may wish to download all the files from your website to your home computer. An FTP program can be useful for that.
You can purchase FTP software from a number of suppliers and there may be a good reasons to do so. However, before you lay out good money, consider trying one of the open source FTP software packages. Here are a few of the most popular.
- WinSCP –an open source FTP program for the Windows operating system that has 40 million successful users.
- FileZilla—another open source program that supports all operating systems platforms.
- Cyberduck—an open source program that works on the Mac.