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Best FTP Client for Mac: Top List 2022

This article will help you choose the best FTP client for Mac. It lists our top software recommendations, including Commander One. There’s also some information about the FTP protocol. Use the comparison table at the end of the list to see how your preferred application compares to others.

Top choice
Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889+ users, Reviews(524)
Let's find the best FTP client for Mac in the article below.

If you want to access an FTP server from a macOS device, you’ll need an FTP client for Mac. Mac FTP software can retrieve and send files over Wi-Fi. Free FTP apps, as well as premium ones, can be found in the list below. We’ve listed the pros and cons of every solution, both to summarize each review, and to make comparisons easier.

List of the Best FTP Client Mac Software


Best Mac FTP client – Commander One

Commander One

4.7 Rank based on 889 + users Reviews(524)
Requirements: macOS 10.12
Version: v3.4.2(3592), Released 14 Jul, 2022 Release notes
Category: Utilities

Commander One is a multi-tab, dual-pane file manager with Mac FTP client features. In addition to file and server browsing, it has a built-in process manager, and can also mount cloud drives or MTP devices, show hidden files, enable root access, and extract archives. Hotkeys are fully customizable. The app includes an advanced search feature that can parse RegEx.

Commander One can connect to FTP, SFTP, FTPS and WebDAV servers. Once connected, the server can be browsed like any other directory. For convenience, you can open a remote directory and a local directory on two panes. It’s definitely the best FTP client for Mac.

Commander One works with protocols such as FTP/SFTP/FTPS and WebDAV, as well as cloud services.

icon pros Pros:

  • Multiple panes and tabs
  • MTP and cloud drive mounting
  • FTPS support
  • Customizable hotkeys.

icon cons Cons:

  • No batch renaming
  • No syncing.
Commander One

CloudMounter

CloudMounter is an effective tool for managing multiple cloud services, and a good option if you’re looking for the best FTP client for Mac. It offers a range of different file transfer protocols, as well as compatibility with all major cloud storage providers.

One of the main things that sets CloudMounter apart from similar services is the fact that it completely integrates into the Finder function. Once mounted, you can search through your cloud storage in exactly the same way as you would local drives.

In addition, CloudMounter provides added encryption, meaning you can keep all your online files and folders as secure as possible. It also works as an effective file management system, letting you edit your folders with straightforward commands.

This best FTP for Mac solution allows you to mount cloud storage services and remote servers as network drives.

icon pros Pros:

  • Encryption of information stored in the cloud
  • No synchronization of files between a cloud and a Mac
  • Multiple accounts for one cloud
  • Fast work with files
  • Easy connection and disconnection of clouds.

icon cons Cons:

  • No version for a mobile platform
  • The short duration of a free trial.

Cyberduck

Cyberduck is a libre (free and open-source) FTP and cloud disk browsing app. It uses a built-in file browser that’s not as good as Finder. This app has an operation queue, quick connection shortcuts, and history. In addition to FTP and SFTP, Cyberduck can access Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and other cloud services. It updates almost every month, with frequent bug fixes. The app can also be accessed from the command line and is thus usable in zsh scripts.

One of the best FTP client for Mac that has several ways to connect to the same server.

icon pros Pros:

  • Minimalistic interface
  • Several ways to connect to the same server
  • Support for various filename encodings
  • Automatic launch of the client when connected to the server
  • View the history of all servers that are connected.

icon cons Cons:

  • Work in single-panel mode, as well as poor adjustment for the user.

CrossFTP

CrossFTP, developed by CrossFTP Software, is designed to implement features such as Amazon S3, FTP Client, and FTPS. The free version of CrossFTP works with archives, encryption, and bookmarks can perform group operations, and has a good search for files. This is another best FTP client for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

CrossFTP is another FTP client for Mac, Windows and Linux.

icon pros Pros:

  • Supports many encodings
  • Multithreaded file transfer
  • Download speed control
  • Manage multiple connections.

icon cons Cons:

  • Downloads are not always paused
  • Program is installed through the Java installer.

FileZilla

The name FileZilla probably needs no introduction. Compatible with all major platforms - Windows, Mac, and Linux - this fully open-source software is one of the best FTP client Mac solutions of all. Launched in 2001, the FileZilla FTP client for Mac has held this position for most of 18 years and it is a pretty big achievement. Besides that, you can download it without spending a dime.

One of the best FTP client that compatibles with all major platforms.

icon pros Pros:

  • Support for FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Site manager with a transfer queue
  • File name filters, synchronized directory browsing, and remote file search/editing.

icon cons Cons:

  • Perhaps there may be a large number of various settings, functions, and options. Although, an experienced user considers this a positive factor.

ForkLift

ForkLift is another premium FTP client available only for Mac users. This one is highly regarded for its speed and these other features. This best Mac FTP client can be characterized by fairly quick file encryption, high-quality zip archiving, good synchronization with external services, and much more.

ForkLift is another premium FTP client available only for Mac users.

icon pros Pros:

  • Support for the most popular protocols, including cloud servers
  • Ability to view files on the server without downloading
  • File sync and search
  • Ability to work and save multiple connections at once
  • Batch rename of the files
  • Ability to connect your favorite editor to the FTP client.

icon cons Cons:

  • Sync feature will not keep the settings you have last used, so every time, you have to set them up again.

Transmit

Transmit is another best FTP for Mac client users give preference to. The latest version, Transmit 5 promises up to 25x speed and it can make the app the fastest FTP client of all. In addition to pure speed, the app can also be trusted for reliable file transfers, and it comes with many other interesting features for your consideration. Besides Transmit is a pricy app, with all these features it can be worth your while.

Transmit has full support for FTP, SFTP, and Amazon S3 Cloud Transfer and 11 more clouds.

icon pros Pros:

  • Stylish, intuitive user interface
  • Multiple-connected transmissions make it easy and simple to bulk transfer
  • Full support for FTP, SFTP, and Amazon S3 Cloud Transfer and 11 more clouds
  • Advanced server settings.

icon cons Cons:

  • The price.

Viper FTP

Viper FTP is a convenient and powerful file manager for macOS with a huge user interface that makes it effortless to use. Viper FTP helps with local and remote file management (FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and YouTube - download). This best FTP client for Mac has many unique features you can't find in other applications.

Viper FTP helps with local and remote file management and has a wide range of features.

icon pros Pros:

  • Local file encryption/decryption
  • Local and remote images, videos, music and documents preview
  • Each transfer of files that you start has its own trace log
  • Scan any working FTP servers on your LAN using Bonjour.

icon cons Cons:

  • Sometimes the transfer of files is a bit slow
  • The app can crash when trying to establish a new connection.

Classic FTP

Classic FTP is another best free FTP Mac client that is quite easy to use. The program is considered to be the best FTP client that has a wide range of functions, which consists of viewing, editing, uploading to the server, downloading and deleting various files from a remote website and from the network.

This application is a standard FTP client. It can become an indispensable tool for both experienced site admins and novice users. A simple program interface system greatly facilitates the loading processes of files from sites, as well as their editing. Downloading and uploading are very quick, with one click.

Classic FTP is another best free FTP Mac client that is quite easy to use.

icon pros Pros:

  • Simple software interface system
  • Ability to quickly upload, as well as download various files
  • Possible synchronization of local folders with remote folders
  • Supported work with certain "mirrors" for download
  • Maintaining a special convenient event log.

icon cons Cons:

  • Closed source code
  • No portable version.

Rclone

Rclone is an open source app designed to let users manage files across multiple different storage services. Though it might not be the best free FTP client for Mac, as open source, it benefits from being free to use and updated by programmers around the world, but misses out on having the dedicated support and updates offered by similar tools.

It functions as a command line program, requiring you to input commands in order to organise your files and folders. It is compatible with a wide range of different cloud services, letting you mount a service such as Amazon S3 and use the inbuilt commands for data transfer through the command line function (thereby replacing the previous Amazon Software Development Kit tools).

Most significantly, Rclone can mount any local, cloud or virtual file system on a range of different operating systems, letting you access these drives in the same way as you would any local drive on your device. It also offers compatibility with SFTP, HTTP, WebDAV, FTP and DLNA. It offers impressive versatility, though it does lack the usability needed for people unfamiliar with command line systems.

Rclone is another best free FTP Mac client.

icon pros Pros:

  • Lets you move files both locally and between cloud services
  • Mounts a range of different drive types as local drives
  • Easy file transfer and upload/download functions.

icon cons Cons:

  • Complicated setup
  • Mostly relies on knowledge of command line systems
  • Not especially user friendly.

Comparing Table of the Best FTP Client Mac Solutions

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Swipe tip
Top features
Commander One
CloudMounter
Cyberduck
CrossFTP
FileZilla
ForkLift
Transmit
Viper FTP
Classic FTP
Easy-to-use interface
Easy-to-use interface
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Support for SFTP
Support for SFTP
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Files encryption
Files encryption
 
 
 
Doesn't work correctly  
 
 
 
Only on the local disk, not on the server  
 
Drag and drop files
Drag and drop files
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ability to change/rename files directly on the server
Ability to change/rename files directly on the server
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Queuing file operations
Queuing file operations
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ability to synchronize folders
Ability to synchronize folders
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Archive files without manual downloading
Archive files without manual downloading
 
 
 
Doesn't work with SFTP  
 
 
 
 
 
Automatic reconnection to the server
Automatic reconnection to the server
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Support for third-party file editing software
Support for third-party file editing software
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hotkey support
Hotkey support
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Support for WebDAV
Support for WebDAV
 
 
 
 
PRO version  
 
 
 
 
Support for cloud connections
true Support for cloud connections
 
 
 
Several connections  
PRO version  
 
 
 
 
Price
Price
$29.99  
$44.99  
Free/$10  
Free/$24.99/$39.99  
Free/PRO $20  
$29.95  
$45  
$18.95/$26.95/$89  
$60  

What Does the FTP Abbreviation Stand For?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and while using FTP Mac clients can connect to the server and download files of various formats. To do this, the user needs to know the FTP server address, as well as the data for authorization (login and password). Although, the FTP server can provide anonymous access, i.e. provide access to everyone who connects to the server.

The protocol is built on a client-server architecture and uses different network connections to transfer commands and data between the client and the server. You can use the SSH protocol for secure transmission, hiding (encrypting) your username and password, as well as encrypting the contents.

A Brief History of FTP for Mac Users

The FTP protocol appeared in 1971, even before the appearance of such protocols as HTTP and even TCP/IP. Initially, it was used for messaging, with a specific header, between the server and the client. Since that time, it has changed almost beyond recognition - a lot of new commands have been introduced, and a separate connection has been allocated to transmit information.

The first client applications using FTP ports were interactive command-line devices that implement syntax and standard commands. Graphical user interfaces have since been developed for the many operating systems that are in use today. Nowadays, its use is actively distributed for the transfer of various software, as well as gaining access to remote resources.

How to Connect to a Remote Server Without Using FTP Client for Mac

As we already know, it is not necessary to install any special FTP for Mac utility on the Mac computer to be able to connect to the remote server. The Mac has a built-in client that is very easy to use. So how to connect to a remote server without using none of the described above best FTP for Mac clients? Simply follow these steps:

Connect to a remote server without using FTP client for Mac.
1
To open it, click the Go menu section in the Finder panel. At the bottom of the drop-down menu, you will see the line "Connect to the server".
2
After that, you can enter the connection address via ftp: // or the IP address at which you want to connect to the server. In order not to constantly enter this address, click the plus sign "+" to the right of the input line and the server name will be added to the favorites list.
3
Click the "Connect" button below, after which you will need to enter login information.
4
Enter in the Name field your login on the server and the password that the host administrator gave you.
5
If the FTP server supports anonymous users, then you can check the item "As a guest" - then you will not have to enter any data.
6
In order not to type the username and password each time, you can check the box "Remember this password in the keychain".
7
Click "Connect", and then you will be taken to the server file system.

If you want to connect to a secure FTPS server, all you need to do is add the domain prefix to ftps: // instead of ftp: //. This depends on whether the remote server supports SSL and whether FTPS connections are accepted, which is what most servers do.

Also, keep in mind that FTPS and SFTP are two different protocols; FTPS is FTP with a secure SSL level, while SFTP uses SSH. FTPS connections are supported directly in the built-in FTP macOS function, while SFTP via SSH is not available through the same "Connect to the server" menu. However, macOS also includes its own SFTP client Mac users can access from the Terminal by typing "sftp username @ host" at the command line.

After connecting to the FTP server, you can view the remote server, like any other local folder on your Mac, because the server is processed in the same way as a regular file system window in Finder. Copying files to a remote server or downloading them to a Mac is easy with simple and familiar drag and drop. Go to the file or folder that you want to copy, then simply drag it as if you were copying or moving any other file, and the items will be transferred from the FTP server to the Mac computer or vice versa.

By default, the window will be displayed as a minimized Finder window, but you can expand the window to your usual Finder style by pulling the View menu down and selecting Show Toolbar. The main advantage of expanding the window is that you get navigation buttons with forward and backward arrows, as well as sorting options for viewing the FTP server by icon, name, date, lists, and search functions.

Why Using Third-Party FTP Client Mac Solutions

FTP features on macOS have been known since the very first days of the Mac operating system. Although these features are incredibly useful, they are obviously not as advanced as in any third-party Mac FTP client. However, if you are in a difficult situation and you just need quickly to be able to connect to remote FTP to transfer some files back or forward, it is more than enough, and what is more, it does not require downloading anything extra.

Since the Finder FTP function does not support some functions that users may wish to have on their Mac, there are many third-party Mac FTP client applications that can perform this work instead, with full support for FTP, SFTP, FTPS, downloads, uploads, queues, the ability to change permissions, read/write support and so on and so forth.

If you need more advanced features above you can find a list of the best free FTP Mac applications as well as paid ones. But first, let’s try to figure out what an app should have to be called the best FTP for Mac software?

What Criteria to Consider When Choosing the Best FTP Client for Mac

All FTP clients are very similar in some ways but sometimes in one of them, you find a small function that is missing in another one that makes it much more useful and convenient for you and so you find your best FTP for Mac software. So let’s consider the following criteria when choosing:


Take a look at the criteria to consider when choosing the best FTP client for Mac.


  • Compatibility with the operating system you are using, especially the version of your OS, as some FTP clients work better with particular OSes and their versions.
  • Easy to use interface. Having a good interface is paramount. Everyone, including beginners, should be able to find their way around the software easily and not be confused with it.
  • Support for various transmission protocols. Since security is such an important topic and the standard FTP protocol is insecure, any client should allow you to use encrypted methods to connect to the server.
  • Support for encryption. Since FTP protocol does not have any means of data protection it is worth paying attention to the clients that have support for data encryption.
  • Support for large files transfer. The best FTP client for Mac is the one that does not have any limits in size for files uploading or downloading. Besides that, a great plus would be a fast speed for performing these actions.

Besides that, you should pay attention to general characteristics, namely:

  • Stability.
  • The convenience of use.
  • Design.
  • Simplicity and speed of installation.

As to functional characteristics, you should pay attention to:

  • Ability to change/rename files directly on the server.
  • Ability to quickly limit traffic.
  • Ability to pause file transfer and resume.
  • Ability to download many files (parallel download or queuing).
  • Ability to synchronize folders.

The rest features of the apps are rather individual and are needed by a relatively smaller number of users. We cannot say that nobody needs them, just not everyone needs them.

Is FTP Secure and Reliable?

The FTP protocol itself is reliable and guarantees the delivery of the necessary files to the user, however, if everything is in order with the connection. The problem in FTP security is the following. Initially, the protocol was unprotected, and it was assumed that the data channel was always reliable. That is why, every information that is transmitted in FTP is in an open form: files, passwords, usernames, and any data.

Nowadays, by default, it is assumed that each channel is unreliable and that the data must be additionally encrypted. Unfortunately, the FTP protocol itself does not support this. If someone intercepts your Wi-Fi traffic or connects to your local network, they will be able to intercept all this data and download it to themselves, in parallel with you. There's also a security issue: by default, the FTP protocol has no protection against password guessing and login attempts, so someone can simply try the available passwords to gain access to the folders.

That is why FTPS along with SFTP protocols were created to ensure protection. Within time appeared such services like Dropbox, and Google Drive that use protocols of their own to transfer data around the Internet. But arises an interesting question - Why do people still use FTP and do not rely on the protocols of such companies? We will try to answer:

  • There are several standard protocols that are used on the Internet, such as HTTP, FTP, DHCP, DNS, etc. While using one of the standard protocols you follow the goal of the free and open Internet.
  • You are more flexible when choosing the tool you want to work with. As FTP protocol is widely used and older than the rest of the protocols you can choose from the wide list of FTP, Mac FTPS client services, scripts, daemons, etc.
  • Lots of devices nowadays have the built-in FTP protocol. That is why it is more economically friendly to use the FTP protocol than to use the closed protocol of Dropbox. As the latest is not free and you will need to pay licensing fees for using it.
  • There is a file transfer protocol support on every computer. In other words, whatever client supports work with FTP, FTPS Mac users can use to communicate with FTP.

FTPS: What Does the Abbreviation Stand For?

FTPS aka FTP-SSL is an extension of the standard File Transfer Protocol. It is known to be more secure than the simple FTP protocol as FTPS adds the creation of encrypted sessions using the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol to the basic functionality of the FTP protocol.

It is also worth mentioning that, nowadays it is used more advanced protection, namely TLS (Transport Layer Security - transport layer protection). In other words, the protocol remains the same, however, an additional layer of protection is being implemented.

In brief, while using FTPS Mac users protect files when they are moving from one place to another as well as username and password.

FTPS adds the creation of encrypted sessions using the SSL.

How to Use the FTPS for Secured Connections

Usually, connection via FTPS is performed by using a special Mac FTPS client, the one we mentioned in our article. The connection string, when using FTPS looks like this ftps:// instead of ftp://.

Also keep in mind that, for any connection, you need to know: the connection name (login, nickname); connection password; FTP/FTPS hostname; port number. Anonymous FTPS connections are also possible, but they are of little practical importance.

Learn how to use the FTPS for secured connections.

FTP vs FTPS: Which Protocol is Better to Use?

Take a look at the comparison table below to have a better understanding.

FTP FTPS
Pros: Pros:
Has the longest history among the rest of the protocols Widely used and utilized
User-friendly Provides services to server-to-server file transfer based on SSL/TLS
Doesn’t have any file size limits Secured protocol
Simultaneous transfer of multiple files and directories Easy to implement
Supports multiple levels of access Supported by most devices, including mobile devices
Works faster than HTTP or email
Has support for file resume
Cons: Cons:
There is no encryption option while transferring files There is no support for SSL/TLS on old FTP servers
Passwords and usernames are sent in plain text that facilitates gaining access for an unauthorized user There is no standard way to get and change file or directory attributes
Requires lots of configurations to create activity notifications Universal catalog with a list of formats is missing
Limited mobile device access Requires an additional data channel, which makes it difficult to use along with firewalls

There are many different FTP mounters and browsers, and your preference may depend on the use case - for example, apps with a CLI interface are better for script integration. That being said, it’s most likely that the average user will benefit the most from a general-purpose app like Commander One. Try different solutions to find your own best Mac FTP client.

FTP for Mac: Frequently Asked Questions

FTP client is a program that allows you to connect to a remote server via FTP protocol and also perform the necessary actions on it with elements of the file system.

Typically, FTP servers are used to:

  • Data exchange between any group of people (confidential documents, photographs, etc.).
  • Convenience of working with corporate resources (uploading files to the hosting).
By default, a connection is established through FTP port 21 unless another port is set.

To work with the protocol standard UNIX-commands are used. A complete list of them can be found by typing in the special line "help" or "?". The most commonly used commands are:

  • Open - establishes a connection with an FTP site. It is used when accessing different servers during one session. Requires preliminary closing of the previous FTP site with the close command.
  • User - used to re-enter the user name and password for authentication. The function is necessary in cases where the remote machine allows users with certain parameters.
  • Bye or quit - used in parallel with close, closes all communications and terminates program execution.
  • Remote help - opens help information for commands supported by the remote FTP server.
If HTTP was originally provided by the creators for the transfer of hypertext and small text files, then FTP serves to transport almost any file.
Yes, plenty of them in fact! You should take a look at Commander One - it’s easy to use and feature-rich.
Without question, it’s Commander One. This file browser has two panes and multi-tab functionality, making it easy to copy files between an FTP server and your system.
It is, you can find the latest download on the official site. It’s compatible with High Sierra and later macOS versions.
Commander One is perfect for casual users. It’s definitely worth a try.
Cyberduck matches these criteria perfectly. It’s libre and has versions for both of these operating systems.

Commander One

This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with macOS 10.12 and later. Requires 61.08MB of free space, latest version 3.4.2(3592). Released 14 Jul, 2022.

4.7 rank based on 889+ users, Reviews (524)
Editor's Choice