CuteFTP

by Joe Gillespie — Sep 1, 2003

Most good Web page editors have facilities to upload files to the server built-in but good, dedicated FTP programs give more power and versatility.

Although I normally use Interarchy on a Mac for FTP work, I've also been using GlobalSCAPE's popular CuteFTP on my PC for several years now. It is easy to use, does everything I need and is very reasonably priced.

CuteFTP has a window with two main panes showing the local directory (on the PC) and the remote directory (on the server) and files can be copied in either direction by simply dragging and dropping from one pane to the other. A third pane at the top provides a scrolling status display showing what is happening and, helpfully, there is a site manager feature that remembers all the Web sites' login and password details. So, accessing Web sites to upload or update files is quick and painless.

Apart from that, the ability to rename and delete remote files and create new directories makes CuteFTP a worthwhile addition to any Web designer's toolkit.

When I saw that GlobalSCAPE had introduced a Mac version of CuteFTP, I downloaded the 30 days trial version to see how it stacks-up with the established Mac FTP clients.

The Mac OSX version is very similar to the Windows version with the same panes for local, remote and status display. Now, although this is a fairly common way of working on a PC, it's not on a Mac. With the Mac 'desktop' metaphor, it is more usual to drag directly from a directory on the local hard disk or desktop onto a single window representing the server. This is a slight 'cultural' difference between how the two platforms are used but one that could potentially put Mac users off.

I found that the OSX version just couldn't access some of my sites, sometimes giving an error message and sometimes not. It crashed out completely at one point, something that very rarely happens with OSX. The Windows version had no problems with these sites at all.

To be fair, the CuteFTP Mac is a beta test version, although I missed that fact when I downloaded it. The beta version has a price tag of $19.99, which confused me, but assuming that the bugs are dealt with before going final, CuteFTP for Mac still has some serious competition.

Transmit (£24.95) is a much more mature and elegant solution that will probably appeal more to die-hard Mac users. Interarchy, at $45, is a little more expensive than the standard Windows version of CuteFTP but aimed more at 'power users'. I should point out that there is also a more fully featured CuteFTP Pro for Windows at $69.99 for people who need the more advanced security features.

I very much doubt that the Mac version of CuteFTP is going to prove as popular as the original Windows version but try it out for yourself. In addition to the free 30 days trial, there's a further 30 days money back guarantee.

CuteFTP
Features red bar85%
Ease of Use yellow bar85%
Value for Money green bar90%
'Must Have' Factor blue bar95%
Manufacturer GlobalSCAPE
Price Windows: from $39.99. Mac beta: $19.99
Summary Great FTP client for Windows users but faces stiff competition in the Mac market.
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