Backup, archiving, and simple file transfer requirements are common reasons for using an FTP Server. This often-maligned technology continues to be frequently used in business – with the more secure SFTP capability a common implementation for companies with security concerns.
This list reviews some of the perennial favorites, looking at the balance of cost, security, and ease of use for each server.
Titan FTP Server
Titan FTP Server is an FTP Server for Windows that is easy to install, use, and customize. It has a reputation of being one of the most stable and secure servers available, with support for secure protocols like SFTP and FTP/S. Titan is frequently used for secure backups and is recommended by Cisco to backup their Unified Communications Suite. A quick scan of user reviews gives good marks to Titan’s technical support team.
Titan FTP is a great “workhorse” of a server overall, but the multi-platform web interface, which you can use in lieu of installing client software, is optional, so you’ll have an additional cost if you want the convenience of file transfer through your browser. You can download a free trial at https://titanftp.com/download/.
Cygwin is open-source software that allows you to emulate a UNIX environment on a Windows setup. It is also one of the SFTP Servers recommended by Cisco for CUCM backup.
Cygwin is great for those who prefer or need “that Linux feeling” even if they are running Windows. As it is open-source, users have complete freedom to customize whatever they choose to fit their needs. But it is far too complicated a program for just anyone to use, so it is only recommended for those who are quite technical.
WS_FTP Server for Windows is known for its rock-solid performance. Introduced way back in the 1990s, it has garnered a reputation for reliability. It also supports secure protocols like SFTP and FTP/S, as well as a broad range of authentication methods. However, the UI is very dated and cumbersome, so it can be quite challenging to set up.
The product is already pricey and will set you back about $5k to add LDAP, HTTPS, and other “Premium” features. You can download a free trial here.
Cost: Secure version $1864.50
FileZilla is a free, cross-platform FTP Server that is very easy to use. The interface is simple, but powerful. It supports Linux as well as Windows. FileZilla supports FTP/S for secure protocols, but does not support SFTP. A serious security concern is that FileZilla transmits passwords in plain text – something that should be a major worry for businesses even if the data being transferred is not sensitive.
For simple file transfer, FileZilla may be a good choice, but it poses risks that businesses may want to consider.