There was an interesting post on Techshoret recently about free FTP services that people use. Several excellent ones were mentioned, including:
- www.transferbigfiles.com (which lets you transfer files up to a GB in size)
- www.yousendit.com (a personal favorite)
Someone mentioned that you can also send files through your Skype – something we do often at WritePoint, though I did offer a word of caution. Because Skype is essentially a communication tool, many people leave the lines of communication open during their workday, and sometimes even 24 hours a day. While this is fine if you have guaranteed privacy and lock your computer down when you leave the office or home, there is a problem here. If you go home and open Skype and start conversing with someone, the conversation is mirrored on your office computer. If the monitor is open and others have free access to your desk, they can very easily be a silent participant to your conversation.
If someone were to try to transfer a file to you while you weren’t at your desk – perhaps you went to lunch, for example, anyone could simply click the accept button and download the file. This may or may not be relevant to your situation, but it is something to consider. Be careful about checking that “remember my password” option on gmail and Skype accounts. They allow anyone who passes your computer to easily open these interfaces and review your messages.
Getting back to the idea of FTP, another thing I wanted to mention was that since most companies have websites, it’s likely your company also has its own internal FTP capabilities, so I thought I’d also mention some excellent free FTP applications that enable you to upload and download files to FTP sites (on your site or any other). What I like about all of these FTP applications is that they can remember the details such as address, user name, and password per site. But again, you should consider, here too, the security risk involved when you automatically save access to these locations.
Some of the free FTP applications that I’ve used include:
- www.CuteFTP.com (actually, this is a great one, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t free anymore)
- www.coreftp.com (the one I’ve been using lately)
- fireftp.mozdev.org (this one is from Mozilla)
All in all, the wonderful thing about using FTP sites is the ease with which you can transfer huge files without jamming up your mailbox; allowing many people to download the same file at any time; and, of course, as a storage and backup point. We often transfer files to an FTP site so that our clients can download the latest versions of their documentation; our writers often share files between themselves via our FTP.
So, although there is nothing innovative about the idea of using FTP applications…I thought it would be useful to list some of the free applications and locations that are available. I’m always looking for great free applications, so feel free to mention any others you may have found.