The word best has different meanings. One man’s best, is another man’s worst. Since way back in the last century I’ve used a dozen Mac FTP apps to upload and download files. Some are fast. Some have more features than Obamacare. Some are dirt cheap or free. Others are capable but overly complex.
No matter how many others I try, I keep coming back to Transmit. Not only is it an old favorite, it’s comfortably competent, with just the right blend of features, performance, and price for me to place it at the top of my Mac tools list.
Alright, enough gushing. Why is Transmit worthy?
First, it’s Mac-like. That means it’s intuitive and doesn’t require a night class at a community college to figure out. The Toolbar is customizable so you can arrange functional icons the way you would in any decent Mac app.
Second, it’s dual pane on steroids. The typical usage is to open the right window and connect to a remote host. The left window displays what’s on your Mac, so uploading or downloading is simply drag and drop from one side to the other.
As a special treat, Transmit also lets you upload and download files from one remote location to another remote location. Log into a website using sFTP, then use the other window pane to log into a different site, say, an Amazon S3 bucket, and moves files back and forth between the two.
There was a time in the recent past where YummyFTP was used because it was so fast. These days Transmit uploads and downloads with similar speed.
Transmit also features a twin progress bar, tear off tabs, and image thumbnail view. It also manages SSH connections, certificate viewing, and connectivity to Amazon S3 (though with limited controls).
Remote connection bookmarks are as good as they get on an FTP app. Transmit also has a disk feature which lets a remote location mount on your Mac’s Finder as if the remote host was attached to your Mac (it is). There’s also an option to create no-brainer droplets. Set up a connection to a remote location and folder. Create the Droplet, and then simply drag and drop files to the Droplet icon, and they’re uploaded automatically; no fuss, no clicks, no mess.
FTP apps are a bit like word processors. Everyone has a favorite. Transmit has been around awhile, so to say it’s a mature app is an understatement. Yet, the interface is appealing (not easy to do with a technical tool), fresh, modern, and, of course, Mac-like.
I’d like to see more options for Amazon S3 and CloudFront. The progress bar is strange and in need of something resembling reality. Some of the controls are in an odd place (why is the disconnect button not on the Toolbar). And, it could use a little more granular controls when setting file permissions on transfers (headers, for example).
Otherwise, it’s the go to tool for transfers.