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Helpware: FTPs Make Uploads Easy

FTP programs (the initials stand for “file transfer protocol”) allow you to upload files from your computer to a remote server. The best of them are easy to set up and use. The worst of them are unintuitive, difficult to set up, and nearly impossible to use for someone with limited computer skills.

These utilities often are free when downloaded from their websites, are ones that I use to transfer this column to a server, where. Some FTP “clients,” as they’re called, for corporate users cost $3,000 or more.

I’ve been using FileZilla, because the price is right. It’s free, and relatively easy to set up and run. Relatively easy is relative: Some experience with FTP programs is necessary to get FileZilla up and running. Even though a fairly complete tutorial is included, you have to know the basics. It’s not intimidating. FileZilla is versatile too, especially for users who have large and multiple files to upload.

FileZilla is an open-source program, which means users contribute to it, fix bugs and improve it. I can’t praise enough the selfless programmers who contribute to open-source software, such as the excellent Firefox browser and the email program Thunderbird.

My only complaint with FileZilla is its icons are difficult to figure out when screen resolution is high (making the icons small) and some confusing icons are geared for power users.

Still, I was able to get it up and running, using only the basic “connect” and “disconnect” features. It can be downloaded from www.filezilla-project.org.