If you have your own website, blog or are uploading information online somewhere, there is a decent chance you are using a FTP uploader of some sort. When I originally had a need for this kind of application, I did a little digging around. The name that kept popping up was Cyberduck. I looked at some of the other options. What won me over was it is extremely easy to use. Cyberduck is more than just an FTP uploader, it is more like a web browser for hosted files. Oh, not to mention its free.
Easy Set up
The ease of setup really surprised me. All you need to do is click the [+] in the bottom left corner of the bookmark window and a window opens (see below). In that window you only need two pieces of information, your server address and username. (You will be asked for your password when you connect for the first time.) If you have more than one destination you are uploading files to, you will want to change the nickname of the new bookmark, but it isn’t necessary; the default nickname is the server address. Additional information is needed if your going to use SFTP (recommended over FTP). The port number is the most important. If it does not connect using port 22 (the default SFTP setting), you may need to ask your web host. Some web hosts use different protocols, here is a list of options you can choose from:
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- FTP/TLS (FTP secured over SSL/TLS)
- SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer)
- WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning)
- Amazon S3
- Rackspace Cloud Files
Browser-like Ease of Use
Part of what I like about Cyberduck is the similarities to a web browser. What makes it more more like a browser than a Finder window is the bookmarking feature. If you have multiple sites or even multiple folders on the same site which you need to send files to, no problem. Each destination can have a bookmark just like you would have in Safari or Firefox. Simply click on the bookmark and the connection to that destination is opened.
Drag and Drop
To keep on pace with the simplicity Apple users are accustomed to, Cyberduck allows drag and drop functionality. Many other applications offer this in the most basic sense; these guys took it a step further by adding some Mac-like features. One of these features is spring loaded folders. I know when I am moving things from folder to folder, I really love this feature. Another super cool feature is being able to upload files without opening a connection to a server. Drag the files onto a bookmark for the destination of server you’d like the file to be uploaded to.
In the picture below, you can see there is not an option to disconnect. A connection will open for the length of the upload then disconnect again.
Files on the server can be synchronized with the those on your computer. You will be prompted to select the location on your computer to synchronize the files with. Cyberduck will only sync files that have changed. Whether or not they have changed is determined by the size of the files and the last time the files were modified. You will be asked to authorize actions, including what to do if there is are missing files.
The widget is a great option for quickly uploading files to one folder. This is a great option for uploading pictures or files to a specific location on more than on occasion. When you configure the widget, you can select a path to a specific folder. This setting only affects the widget, not the main application.
Archive and Unarchive (SFTP only)
A handy feature is being able to archive and unarchive files and folders remotely on the server side after its uploaded. Being able to transfer smaller files, means faster upload times. Your remote systems must have the archiving tools tar or zip installed on their end for this to work, if they don’t it won’t be possible.
Cyberduck integrates really really well with many native and 3rd party apps. Spotlight, Mobile Me, Bonjour, external text editors, Applscripts, Growl and Keychain are a few. If you have a Mac and need a super simple way to upload and access your files in any of the protocols listed, Cyberduck delivers. Its like the FTP uploader Apple forgot.
How does Cyberduck compare to other uploaders you have used?