App gets files into the right hands

Ipswitch's easy-to-use FTP upgrade includes high-end encryption

Ipswitch WS_FTP Professional

|GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice|

Performance: A

Ease of use: A-

Features: A+

Value: B

Price: $54.95 for a single license (discounts for multiple-user and site licenses.)

Reviewer's comments: WS_FTP Pro 2007 provides a high-security way to easily transfer files, and has lots of powerful new features.

Contact: Ipswitch Inc., Lexington, Mass. (781) 676'5794, www.ipswitch.com

Remote file transfer is the lifeblood of all webmasters'and most network administrators. But as with all other communications technologies, security is (or should be) the No. 1 concern when transferring files.

Of course, the most secure method would be to physically deliver a file yourself, either on a notebook PC or burned onto a compact disk. But this is not always feasible, so transferring remotely to and from a File Transfer Protocol server is often necessary.

The WS_FTP Professional 2007 from Ipswitch Inc. takes security very seriously. For transfers through a Secure Sockets Layer connection, it uses the top-notch 256-bit Advance Encryption Standard to encrypt files. In addition, WS_FTP is the first to use integrated OpenPGP mode to encrypt individual files. And built-in file verification mechanisms ensure that what ends up at a destination is what was sent.

Those who are familiar with earlier versions of WS_FTP will be able to jump right in, connect to their favorite FTP server and start transferring. You just open the correct subdirectories at both ends, select a file or files and drag them over or click the transfer button. The interface is familiar enough, but there are also many new features.

The software now has tabs for both local and server windows, so you can open several of each. This allows you to have several predefined locations and transfer between any local and server pair. You can even save a certain configuration of open connections with WS_FTP's Workspaces function.

We found backup and synchronization to be much easier than in earlier versions. With the backup wizard, you can send a compressed copy of either a local or remote set of files to any destination you'd like, such as a CD or USB drive. The synchronization tool lets you set how a certain pair of folders is updated'i.e. whether a change in one location or the other (or both) will cause an update. You can even link two locations together so you only have to navigate through the folders of one location to get to the corresponding folder another location.

It should be noted, and it's pointed out vigorously on Ipswitch's Web site, that WS_FTP Professional is only client software, and to use it you will need an FTP server to connect with. Most personal Web spaces, and many corporate and government environments, have access to one, so it shouldn't be a major concern. But if you find yourself without one, you can always set up any computer with an Internet connection to run FTP server software (Ipswitch sells the software separately).

For all it does, though, we found the single-user license price of $54.95 to be rather high, especially since it's essentially half of what you need to transfer files remotely. Multiple licenses and site licenses can be had at a discount, so if your need is great enough, the price may drop to a more reasonable level.

Ipswitch has long been a trusted name in remote file transfer programs, and WS_FTP Professional 2007 maintains this tradition. Its high level of security, new easy-to-use interface and time-saving features make it arguably one of the best FTP programs out there.

It's a great tool for updating servers, maintaining Web sites or backing up remote data.

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