Software Review: SftpDrive

One of the first obstacles to running a website is getting files from your computer to your web host. In the past, I used a program called FileZilla, a free and open source FTP client.

FileZilla

FTP Clients work like this: You connect to your web site, navigate to a folder on your computer in the left pane, navigate to the folder on the web host in the right pane, and then drag files pane to pane.

While this is simple enough, when you’re working on a file that needs to be changed a lot, this can be a pain. When you want to save your changes you have to save the version on your computer, switch to the FTP client, drag the file from one side to the other, and wait for it to upload. It’s a slow process.

Worse, FTP is an insecure process. The data that you are sending back and forth are not encrypted in any way, which could lead to your server username and password being stolen and granting an attacker full access to your website.


SftpDrive Logo

SftpDrive solves both of these problems. SftpDrive lets you connect to a web server and mount it as a hard drive. Then you just treat it like any other hard drive. Upload files with Windows Explorer; edit them by opening them as if they were on your own computer. There’s no more drag and drop.

SftpDrive Screenshot

It’s also secure, since it uses the encrypted SFTP protocol. You give it the location and port number of your web host’s SSH server (instead of the FTP server), and it sends and receives files over that secure channel.

Navigating between folders is a little on the slow side, and it does make saving your files take a little longer (since it has to save and upload the file to the server). But it takes all the work out of the uploading process, so you don’t have to think about it any more.

It comes with a six week free trial. If you like it as much as I do, you can buy it from sftpdrive.com for $39.

(I have no affiliation with SftpDrive and am not being paid for this review; I just love the product.)

4 thoughts on “Software Review: SftpDrive

  1. Pingback: JDHarper.com » Congratulations to the Sandbox Design Competition Winners

  2. Thanks for the review, Jeremy! I use FileZilla now too and I’m looking for something with more smarts.

    What I really want is a standalone version of what most IDEs have. I want to develop on my local computer, get all the files working the way I want, and then have it show me which ones are changed relative to the remote site. I want to hit one button and either move all those changed files up to the server (or do the reverse and overwrite my local ones if I’ve messed up and I want to go back).

    The secure transfer would be awesome (but not required).

    Anyone know of a product that does this? (I’m happy with using Xemacs for my editor and I don’t want to use Eclipse or any other IDE.)

    Maria

  3. I don’t know of a product like that, but that would be really cool.

    One idea would be to use Subversion. You could set up a subversion repository on your own web site’s host, then check out the repository on your PC. After you’ve made the changes you want, you could commit them to the repository, then check them out on the host machine of your client. The client’s host machine would update whatever files you had changed.

    This depends, of course, on your client’s web host letting you check out subversion repositories on their machines.

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