Congratulations on your ownership of a Mac! Because of that you have been blessed with a mammoth range of FTP (as well as SFTP, WebDav and Amazon S3) clients that you can use to browse and manage your files on a remote server.
One of the main players in the FTP game is Cyberduck – a free, open-source application that is quite possibly the best solution (for its price) currently available on Mac. It can connect to FTP, SFTP, WebDav, Cloud Files, Google Docs and Amazon S3. Cyberduck is written by David V. Kocher however as mentioned before, it’s an open-source software, so the application is constantly improved by many people around the world.
Read on to find out whether it fits the bill for you.
Connecting to Servers
Opening up a connection in Cyberduck is quite easy and as you’d expect, the process is very similar to that of all its competing applications. To begin, click the ‘Open Connection’ button on the toolbar of Cyberduck.
Simply select the type of connection from the drop down list, and enter your login details. As you can see, you can click on the ‘More options’ text to drop down additional settings. These allow you to change settings such as the path and connect mode. For reference, I have added /public_html/ to mine as this is where all my web files are located.
Adding a Bookmark
If you are anything like myself, typing in server details over and over again can get annoying. Luckily Cyberduck has a ‘Bookmark’ solution much like other paid FTP clients.
To add a bookmark, click on the plus (+) symbol on the bottom-left of the Cyberduck window. Simply enter the details that you would if you were connecting to a server normally. Adding a bookmark also gives you the flexibility of additional options such as adding a default downloads folder.
Adding a Bookmark
I personally do not have a long list of servers however I can understand how the bookmarks list can easily grow to such a large amount that scrolling through them is impractical (for example, web design firms). Cyberduck has an integrated search bar that is very quick and will help you locate a certain server in your list.
Once connected, you will want to go about your business adding, deleting and editing your files. This is easily achieved in Cyberduck through a simple drag and drop solution, directly from your Finder window.
Once you have dragged a file into your Cyberduck window, a new ‘Transfers’ window will appear detailing the transfer you have initiated, and information such as time remaining and speed. You may also cancel or pause your transfer from here.
Cyberduck offers plenty of preferences that you can tweak, making it fit right into your workflow. You can change settings for the browser, transfers, editor, server types, bandwidth and connection.
The large list of preferences can be a bit daunting at first however, I found you just need to take the time to go through them and understand what each one means. A feature I love about Cyberduck is the ability to chose a default markup editor for my files.
I also really enjoyed the fact that it can save my workspace and automatically connect again upon start-up. This can save a great deal of time if you regularly connect to the same server.
Cyberduck also has some other notable features. Growl notifications are integrated into the application so you can stay alert to when files have finished uploading and the like.
Quick Look integration is also included. While browsing your files on the server, you can hit your space bar and quick look will launch for that file.
Transmit, by Panic, is one of the most popular Mac FTP apps. It has just seen a refresh to its fourth version and boasts quite a few notable features including 25x speed and Finder disks integration. We reviewed it recently.
FileZilla is a free alternative to Cyberduck. It’s popularity lies mainly among Windows users, but there is also a Mac version if you’re accustomed to using it on another platform.
Cyberduck is an excellent free file browser for the Mac. It stacks up well against its paid competitors and is filled with many great features. It’s a very easy program to use and feels polished.
The great advantage Cyberduck has over all many other competing apps on OS X is that it’s completely free. If you don’t use FTP all that regularly, or don’t require the latest and greatest features offered by Transmit, it’s a fantastic solution.