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FTP Clients: Very Serious Business in 2018

July 21, 2018

I’ve been using Filezilla to transfer files basically as long as I’ve been online. Well, originally I used an extremely ancient version of WS_FTP, like version 4 or something. I don’t even remember why. But for whatever reason it wasn’t cutting it anymore, so I’m sure I goggled “free FTP program” and filezilla was the first thing that came up. And the rest is history.

But recently, the main developer of Filezilla started bundling some malware with the main program installer. The non-malware version was still available, because the project is still technically open source? I think? But it’s still extremely shady, and more importantly, when called out on it the developer doubled down and treated his users like shit.

I had reluctantly kept using the software in spite of all this - my version still worked fine, and I didn’t have any of the bundled adware. The developer was acting like an asshole but I was fine just disabling updates. The last straw for me was this: despite setting it to never check for updates, it would do so anyway and repeatedly download the updated version (with the bundled malware) to my downloads folder, without so much as a confirmation. I didn’t run it, of course, but every time I deleted the installer, it showed up again the next time I ran it. Very uncool.

So I’ve been on the hunt for a new FTP program, and I stumbled across WinSCP, which has been around forever but I had never looked into because I didn’t need to. And it seems pretty great.

It’s already more reliable than Filezilla: it doesn’t randomly break my connection, which is a frustrating thing that I just got used to. Even when I check the “keep alive” option in settings, it loses connection if I don’t transfer anything for a few minutes. (Send FTP keep-alive commands - “A proper server does not require this”, it says. Turns out my server is fine, it’s your shitty software.)

It also has a boatload of other features, including one I was thinking about in a previous update - it has the ability to continually monitor a folder, and synchronize it with the server folder if anything changes. So now the process for writing a blog entry is pretty seamless. I create the draft in my content folder and just run “hugo -D”. It builds the entire blog directory based on what’s in the content folder, updates the html and xml files, and thanks to WinSCP, everything that changed gets automatically uploaded. It’s pretty cool. If like me you’re looking to ditch Filezilla, I recommend it.

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