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47. Download away with FileZilla

By Mark Alberstat

If you work on websites or have any need to use FTP (file transfer protocol) software, you know there are many Windows-based FTP programs available for downloading. Like all software, some are better than others. One of the most popular used to be WS-FTP but since the latest version times out if it isn't paid for, a search for a new interface may be in order.

A relatively new player on this block is FileZilla. This open-source FTP client has everything you would want, including security features, and is being recommended by universities around the world to students and staff who upload files to their servers. The current release, 2.2.9, works on all versions of Windows since 95.

The software began as a university project for German computer science student Tim Kosse. Today, the software has thousands of downloads each week and is rated among the Top 15 projects from the hundreds on, home of FileZilla and other open-source programs.

What has made FileZilla one of the most popular FTP programs around is its speed, power, features and the low, low cost - nothing. That price isn't the demo or a timed-out version. Downloaded and installed, it's the latest, full version and there are no nag screens asking you to donate or upgrade for some set price.

Its Windows-based interface means anyone who has any passing familiarity with Windows Explorer will be able to use this program with next to no knowledge of FTP and its sometimes arcane commands. FileZilla's main window shows the user's computer and the remove server that the program has logged into. Transferring files, the main duty of these programs, is as easy as dragging a file from one side of the screen to the other.

A nice FileZilla feature is that files that you are uploading can go into a queue. If you have dozens of files to upload, highlight them all, drag them over and watch the queue work away at the list while you sip a coffee.

FileZilla's Keep Alive System will be a big help to anyone who is on an unstable connection. This feature sends a few commands to the server at random intervals. Without this feature, reconnecting and reloading files would be a constant inconvenience.

FileZilla has SFTP (Secure FTP) built right in. The options for this setting can be found under the Settings/Connections menu item and are as easy to change as the program is to use. Along the same lines, FileZilla also can work with SSL secured connections and has SOCKS4/5 and HTTP1.1 Proxy support. Although most users will not be aware of these security measures, it is reassuring to know that the developers are security conscious.

The FileZilla developers are clearly looking for a wide range of users as you can change the menu system to a variety of languages, including Hungarian, Japanese, Czech and Bulgarian. With these types of features and language support, there is no good reason not to move your ftp duties over to FileZilla and begin using this robust and open source piece of software. To download FileZilla or find out more, point your browser to:

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about computing, email If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


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Originally published 21 November 2004


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