Ipswitch WS_FTP Professional 2006
WS_FTP is the venerable grandfather of commercial file transfer protocol (FTP) programs, and it is definitely getting better with age. This latest version, WS_FTP Professional 2006, will, however, cost you a pretty penny ($89.95 with a year's worth of support and upgrades, $54.95 without support). If you operate a commercial Web site and regularly need to transfer data between multiple locations, require secure transfer protocols, deal with very large file transfers, and want a highly customizable, power-user FTP tool, there's no better choice than WS_FTP Professional. That said, WS_FTP Professional is serious overkill if you need to upload files to a single personal Web site only occasionally. Many other programs available from Download.com can do this just as well for much less than the cost of even the home version of WS_FTP.
Setup is a breeze. WS_FTP installs without a restart and offers easy-to-use tools, allowing you to start transferring files in no time. The Connection Wizard prompts you for all the necessary information to add the servers you regularly use and conveniently adds all of your FTP sites to an easily accessible drop-down menu on the Connect button in the main toolbar. There is also a Site Import wizard in the Tools menu that will import your existing site settings from previous versions of WS_FTP as well as several other popular FTP programs.
Earlier versions of WS_FTP were known for having a plain and clunky interface, but that's all in the past as WS_FTP Professional 2006 is now sleek and easy to use. You can set up WS_FTP to display a single- or dual-pane view. The app is skinnable for those wanting extreme customization, with the option to add thumbnail views and a new multiple tabbed window option to make switching between various directories and machines as easy as possible.
WS_FTP Professional really shines when it comes to features, providing the most customizable options and advanced capabilities of any FTP program we've looked at. There are all the traditional features you'd expect in a file transfer program, such as Windows Explorer shell extension support, drag-and-drop functionality, and automatic resume of interrupted transfers, but that's just the beginning. WS-FTP Professional's advanced features include support for 256-bit AES OpenPGP encryption; SSH, SSL, HTTP, and HTTPS transfers; scheduling and e-mail notification options; automatic synchronizing and logging; extension conversion on transfer; and a new compression mode that transfers your files to a remote server as a ZIP archive. In other words, if security is important in your environment, or you need to manage a large number of different recurring file transfer tasks, WS_FTP has you covered.
The options for WS_FTP are also impressive, though expensive. If you don't purchase WS-FTP Professional 2006 with a service agreement in place, you can buy one later for $49.95. However, if you're feeling lucky and want to avoid a service agreement altogether, there is a wealth of free information available at the Ipswitch Web site, including FAQs, an excellent getting-started tutorial, extensive online manuals, a large searchable knowledge base, and access to user forums.