Traditionally, all interaction with an FTP server has been done through FTP clients such as CuteFTP, FileZilla and Transmit etc. These are all examples of client based FTP software. Basically, they let you upload and download files from your server, be it for a website or just off-site file storage. The only downside to them is that like anything else, they must be installed. Normally that isn’t a problem, but consider if you are far from home and need to access your site in an emergency, your hotel or cybercaf may not allow you to install software on their computers! This is where the first sparks of ideas for a web based solution came in, since every computer has an internet browser and can go online!
The rise of web based FTP applications has been fuelled mostly by the need for mobile apps. Consumer hunger for apps for handheld devices like the iPhone and Android continues to rise and many more developers, webmasters and bloggers etc are doing work while they are away from their main computer.
Initially the thought of connecting to your works FTP server gave some rise to concerns over security, so naturally higher tier members of staff like senior developers and management were apprehensive about using a web based FTP program to work with potentially confidential and valuable data. This was quickly picked up by the online web FTP developers who started to integrate secure connection options into their web clients. This helped sooth fears over security leaks and soon many companies began to operate from out of office locations with regards to electronic data. Naturally the benefits of this are numerous. It may be that management wants to give a presentation, and instead of taking it on a USB drive or other form of media, they can simply send it over to their company’s server, all ready to go. This method is much more reliable than having to have to remember to take your work on CD or external HD, and is often just as secure!
The fact remains however, that you are still sending your data through a third party. How do you know that the web based FTP client you are using isn’t sending a copy of all your data to an undisclosed location, or that the login information you typed to gain access to your FTP server was emailed to the admin of that site? The simple answer is that you don’t! That is why it’s crucial to read reviews about various web based FTP sites to find the most trusted ones so you don’t get any nasty surprises.