FTP clients may not be the most exciting category of macOS apps, but they make up a critical part of many people’s workflows. From web designers to content producers, many rely on them to transfer information to and from remote servers with ease.
The Mac has a long history of good FTP clients, but the one most people probably recognize is Transmit, by Panic.
Transmit’s user interface is super simple. Your local files are on the left; remote servers are on the right:
Double-clicking one will connect to it, revealing its files:
That’s it. Files can be transferred by dragging them back and forth.
There is more, of course, you should know about this app, but the basics are simple: if you need to transfer files to a remote server, Transmit is the best way to do it.
However, the app is normally $45 and is not in the Mac App Store. There’s a free trial, which is great, but why should you drop that kind of money when there are cheaper and even free options out there?
Transmit can connect to FTP and SFTP servers, but also a bunch of web storage systems:
- Amazon Drive
- Amazon S3
- Backblaze B2
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft One Drive
- Rackspace Cloud Files
This connectivity flexibility opens up some interesting possibilities. Transmit allows you to access a huge number of files on something like Dropbox or Google Drive without having to use those service’s sync utilities or have the files cluttering up your SSD.
Transmit for Mac has a sibling — Transmit for iOS. The mobile version does many of the same things the desktop version does, and Panic Sync keeps things … well … in sync between them, which means you don’t have to add all your servers to your Mac and your iPad and your iPhone, if mobile access is important to you.
Transmit has a handful of features that make it more powerful than other FTP clients.
The first is Droplets. Any server can be saved as an .app bundle in Finder. You can then drag folders or files to the icon and they will be uploaded directly to the server.
Additionally, servers can be mounted in Finder as disks, just like an external USB drive or local file server. In my experience, this can be a little hit or miss in terms of performance, so I don’t rely on it on a regular basis, but it’s a nice option if you find it works well for you.
Transmit 5 also supports DockSend, which turns the app’s Dock icon into a shortcut to a remote server. It’s very clever.
Transmit also supports folder syncing. This allows you to keep a complete local copy of a server’s files, or keep a local folder in sync with a remote one:
Every corner of Transmit 5 is polished. The Inspector pane, for example, makes it easy to see details of any file — local or remote:
Another nice touch is the progress bar. When a file is being moved, a small indicator appears in the application tab bar:
Put simply, Panic makes some of the nicest Mac apps out there. Transmit is no exception, and is well worth its price tag if you work with file servers on any regular basis.
Check out other apps we love right here.