I was asked by an old UNIX hand who recently switched to Mac OS X for a good SFTP program he could use. Here’s my response:

Cyberduck is free, open source, & a great FTP/SFTP/Amazon S3/WebDAV/Google Docs/etc client.

If you’re willing to pay a few bucks, Transmit kicks butt—it also does FTP/SFTP/Amazon S3, but it has a much nicer UI, it’s faster, & you can mount remote volumes using FUSE (which they call Transmit Disk).

I use both, but in different situations. To be honest, most of the time I use Transmit, because I prefer the UI & the speed. But I use Cyberduck when I need to unzip files on a server. Sure, you can also unzip files with Transmit, but let’s compare the process with the two pieces of software:

  • Transmit: Select file. Go to File > Send SSH Command, which opens the Enter A Command To Send panel. Click on the Action menu (the sprocket) on the right side of the panel & select Unzip Selection. Total: 5 clicks.

  • Cyberduck: Right-click on the file & choose Expand Archive. Total: 2 clicks.

So every time I have to work with a lot of archived or compressed files on a server (if I’m not using the command line), even though Transmit is probably open, I have to quickly fire up Cyberduck. I really hope Transmit makes it easier to uncompress files in a future release1.

Oh, & there’s Filezilla, which is open source & free, but I really can’t recommend it, as I find the UI terrible.

  1. I submitted a feature request to come up with a better UI, & Panic responded that they were thinking about it. Good!