Command-line FTP Clients

Last Updated on September 4, 2020

This article has been replaced.

The desktop environment with its bundle of programs sharing a common graphical user interface (GUI) remains a firm favorite with users. Not surprising really given that a good desktop environment makes computing fun and simple. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities that it might seem the command line will wither away. Yet, there is still an important role to play for the humble command-line interface (CLI).

Command-Line InterfaceThe CLI provides a way of interacting with a computer program where the user (or client) issues commands to the program in the form of successive lines of text (command lines). This way, the user gains full control over the operating system. There are many advantages in using a CLI application. They are generally frugal in using system resources, they are fast in operation, offer great scripting opportunities, and can be extremely powerful and flexible. Typing commands into a terminal or the console may appear mundane, but with the right tools, the command line can be incredibly powerful. A CLI app may also save your bacon one day; it has mine!

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) used to be a popular and time-honored method of transferring files to and from a remote network site. The need for FTP has declined significantly; many consider FTP to be an unfriendly protocol when it comes to accessing data. Further, it is an insecure protocol as it sends your credentials in plain text to the server. However, there are still occasions where transferring files via this protocol has been useful; the time to put FTP to bed has not yet come.

This article provides my pick of the best open source command line file transfer programs. The software featured here supports a number of different protocols, not just FTP. They offer shell-like command syntax, and are great for scripting purposes.

Command-line FTP Clients
NcFTPPopular console based user interface File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client program
LFTPMature open source file retrieving tool
cbftpAdvanced, multi-purpose client that focuses on efficient large-scale data spreading
termscpFeature rich terminal file transfer and explorer, with support for SCP/SFTP/FTP/S3
tnftpBased on the original BSD FTP client
YafcIntended to be a replacement for the standard ftp program
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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