FTP Voyager 9.0 review:

FTP Voyager 9.0

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Love-it-or-hate-it interface; contains advanced features, such as folder synchronization and a task scheduler.

The Bad Love-it-or-hate-it interface; SSL encryption and phone support cost extra; tough learning curve for beginners.

The Bottom Line If you're open-minded and want a great deal of power and flexibility in the interface, give this a try. Otherwise, WS FTP Pro is a safer bet.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall

Can a piece of software be daunting and confusing yet easy to use? Absolutely, if that software is FTP Voyager 9.0. This feature-rich FTP client doesn't offer much support to beginners, but power users who master its love-it-or-hate-it interface will find it an elegant tool. Once you understand the four-pane window and appreciate the logic, you'll be an FTP master. Unfortunately, this may be more than most beginners are after. For the same price, WS FTP Pro offers helpful wizards and tutorials for those who are just starting out. Can a piece of software be daunting and confusing yet easy to use? Absolutely, if that software is FTP Voyager 9.0. This feature-rich FTP client doesn't offer much support to beginners, but power users who master its love-it-or-hate-it interface will find it an elegant tool. Once you understand the four-pane window and appreciate the logic, you'll be an FTP master. Unfortunately, this may be more than most beginners are after. For the same price, WS FTP Pro offers helpful wizards and tutorials for those who are just starting out.

Launch the program, and the Site Profile Manager offers a familiar, folder-based interface for storing bookmarks to frequently used FTP sites. It also serves up dozens of anonymous FTP sites to choose from, a nice feature that most FTP clients offer.

There's a method to its interface madness
Like many applications, FTP Voyager uses a Windows Explorer-style design to manage files, with folders displayed in the left pane and individual files on the right. However, FTP Voyager displays two complete Explorer interfaces, one on top for the remote directories and one below for the local ones. So, to upload a certain file to a specific folder on the remote server, you must drag the file from the bottom-right pane to the top-left window. Though counterintuitive at first, this interface offers a great deal of power and flexibility once mastered. For instance, you can quickly and easily compare the directory and file structure of your remote server and local disks and easily copy a file to a specific folder without having to drill down through the directory structure.

In addition to this funky, cool interface, FTP Voyager's scheduling capabilities are impressive. From the toolbar, Scheduler creates a specific task to perform at a designated time. For instance, you can schedule Voyager to download a Web log file to your hard drive every day, then delete the file from the server. Or you can use FTP Voyager's synchronization feature to back up a directory to an FTP server every night. Voyager's menu-based interface makes it relatively simple to create these scheduled tasks, though novices may find it a bit difficult to use, since there's no wizard to help assign tasks.

In our speed tests, except for our tests of uploading and downloading many small files, FTP Voyager performed on a par with the competition. However, in our test results with the numerous small files, WS FTP Pro bested its competitors in half the time.

Beginners, beware
We don't recommend FTP Voyager for beginners, as it lacks wizards to guide you through the download process and its Windows help file is too terse. The company's Web site offers some FAQs and tutorials, but CuteFTP or WS FTP Pro would be better choices for anyone new to the FTP process. Voyager offers free tech support only via e-mail; phone support costs $1 per minute with a $10 minimum.

At $39.95, FTP Voyager costs as much as most other FTP software, though SSL support will run you another $10 extra; WS FTP Pro includes it. If you're experienced with FTP software, it's worth downloading Voyager's trial version. You may hate the interface, but then again, you might wonder how you ever got along without its flexibility and power.

Take me back to the roundup!

FTP Voyager's innovative interface may confuse you at first, but once mastered, it offers power and flexibility.

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