I need a small graphical utility, using which I can ssh to a server and see all the files and copy and paste (drag and drop) into my local machine.

I am running Snow Leopard.

  • 3
    Just a note since you mentioned you're new to Mac (I'm basically the opposite): Using copy/paste to work with files seems to be a very PC thing. Drag and drop, like you mentioned, is the "Mac way," and you can use modifier keys to force a drag and drop to a duplicate/copy (option), move (command) or make alias (command+option). The default behavior changes based on if you are moving between two different volumes, and is always shown as a badge next to your cursor during the drag.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 6:22
  • 2
    In the title you say FTP, in the question you say SSH. I think you're looking for is an SFTP utility (FTP over SSH). Like many have answered, Cyberduck is a great free and open source tool for this.
    – Oskar
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 12:57
  • Since you're on Snow Leopard, have a look at MacFusion - you can just mount an ssh/sftp connection like a network volume, simple. (note: it's may work with Lion too, see here)
    – ocodo
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 3:54
  • 1
    You can drag and drop in Windows. You can cut/copy/paste on a Mac. Both options work on both platforms. Which you choose to do is purely a personal preference.
    – slim
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 9:58
  • 2
    You van use Finder for read only sftp acces. Go->Connect to server: sftp:// Commented May 5, 2015 at 9:30

15 Answers 15


Cyberduck (Free)

A great free FTP client. This is my go-to application. Anytime I need FTP access, I use Cyberduck. It's not quite as lightweight as Fugu, but it adds a lot more functionality than Fugu. I also really like the Growl integration with Cyberduck.


Fugu (Free)

Awesome little FTP client. As I noted above, this is a lightweight FTP client. It is great for simple FTP transfers and browsing. I do like the dual panel navigation.


EDIT: I forgot to add these.

Filezilla (Free)

I haven't actually used Filezilla extensively, but from what I've seen of it, I really like it. I downloaded it and played with it for a bit and I really like the tabbed connections. I also like the ability to jump to a path easily.


RBrowser (Free, $29 Upgrade)

A free FTP/FTP-SSL client. I don't usually use RBrowser because a $29 upgrade is necessary to unlock other protocols (Local, FTP/SSL/TLS, SFTP-SSH). I do like the Site Manager. It's a handy little thing to have.

RBrowser Site Manager RBrowser Browser

I searched and came up with some other free FTP clients:

FireFTP (Free) - Firefox extension

The one downside I see is that this is for Firefox. The website doesn't make it clear how it works with Firefox, so I assume it is an extension.

Macfusion (Free)

This one relies on Google's MacFUSE. Since I don't know anything about MacFUSE, I don't know if this is good or bad.

Transmit ($34) By Panic

I have never used Transmit before, but I have used Coda and I definitely would recommend anything from Panic. The only reason I haven't used this because of the $34 price tag.

Transmit by Panic

ForkLift2 ($30)

Never used it, just found it when searching.

Fetch ($24 per user)

An amazing program with a long, long, long mac heritage. It's way up there with Transmit by Panic and Interarchy as a file transfer program loved by long time Mac power users.

Flow ($30)

Never used it, but looks good from the screenshots. I really like the fact that it looks like Finder. I may have to give this one a try.


OneButton FTP (Free)

Just searching around and found yet another one...It looks pretty nice, except it's no longer supported. However, you can still download it.

OneButton FTP

  • 1
    Flow is an utter failure. Hasn't been updated since August 2010, and has long had a history of being quite flakey. I used earlier builds and suffered more than enough crashers to stop using it. The one window pane is quite counterproductive too. At it's current price point, it can't even compete with Transmit and Forklift.
    – user10355
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 0:55
  • 11
    Transmit is well worth every bit of that thirty-four bucks. I'm also very selective about app purchases, and this is one that I can't do without. Definitely try it out — it's great.
    – l'L'l
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 4:38
  • 1
    +1 for Filezilla. I have used it on Win, OSX, and Linux for years.
    – Julian
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 12:49
  • 5
    The FileZilla installer from SourceForge now includes some spyware/adware. I encourage people to stay away from any solutions that use/rely on Sourceforge. A better link for FireFTP is probably addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fireftp which gives more context about how FireFox extentions work.
    – greggles
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 22:46
  • 2
    Fugu is power-PC only (it's kinda old at this point) and current versions of Mac OS X (eg: Sierra) do not support power-pc anymore, so it will not install. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:13


enter image description here

Panic's Transmit tops my list. An extremely well built and executed FTP Client that fully supports sFTP. Priced at $34.

Transmit is an excellent FTP (file transfer protocol), SFTP, S3 (Amazon.com file hosting) and iDisk/WebDAV client that allows you to upload, download, and delete files over the internet. With the most Mac-like interface available, Transmit makes FTP as simple, fun, and easy as it can possibly be.


enter image description here

Forklift 2 is another terrific client that is just as solid and just as well built. Priced at $29.95.

ForkLift will connect to any remote server FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV, the SMB, NIS and AFP shares on your local network, or your Bluetooth mobile phone- pretty much anything you can plug into or hook up to a Mac. ForkLift also carries a complete toolbox for managing your files, including Folder Synchronization, Batch Renaming, Archive handling, Application deleter, editing files over remote connections and many more. All these power features are packaged into a Finder-like, dual-pane interface that delivers superior workflow while remaining absolutely familiar to use, along with QuickLook, Spotlight search and all.


enter image description here

Lastly, Cyberduck rounds out the list. It is not as well polished, but it sturdy and does the job. It is free.

Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, Keychain and AppleScript are built-in.

There are others to be sure, but these are the one's I've used and personally recommend. Additionally, you may want to hit up places like MacUpdate, VersionTracker, or iUseThis for these types of questions. You will find much more diversity and get a better understanding of the programs available to you.

  • 6
    I used Cyberduck for many years (couldn't see paying for an FTP client), then tried to use it to transfer several hundred files at once. It completely choked. Transmit handled the job with ease.
    – Negrino
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 8:06
  • 2
    Transmit is definitely the Rolls-Royce of FTP Utils. I use it even when I'm not ftping for quick chmod's, browsing hidden directories, etc. It's almost perfect.
    – l'L'l
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 4:43
  • 3
    For-pay apps, Transmit is the de-facto-standard on OSX for FTP/SFTP. Do it. It's like a magical rainbow filled with unicorns, with a big pot of gold at the end. Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 14:05
  • 2
    Transmit, $34 you will not regret.
    – Gerry
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 19:30
  • Cyberduck is 145mb!!! For s simple ftp client. Are they nuts? What did they use to write it? Javascript?
    – jitbit
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 14:54



ExpanDrive acts just like a USB drive plugged into your computer. Open, edit, and save files to remote computers from within your favorite programs—even when they are on a server half a world away. ExpanDrive enhances every single application on your computer by transparently connecting it to remote data.

  • This is a nicely done app for sure and I will probably be buying it. However, it seems that it does not perform some operations efficiently. I am on a slow network connecting to a foreign SFTP host. If I copy the contents of one foreign folder to another, it should just issue a copy command on the server. However it seems that it copies all data to my local computer, and then back up. It should be a very quick operation (1 or 2 seconds) but it is taking minutes instead. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 20:31
  • ExpanDrive mounts local volumes, not remote volumes. If you access an ExpanDrive mounted FTP volume from Path Finder, expect the owner/group to be those of your local machine and not those of your remote server.
    – user36018
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 17:05
  • @GabeJohnson I wonder how many clients actually do that. The two remote machines may not even be able to reach each other in some cases.
    – charlesz
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 23:28


enter image description here

I have tried Cyberduck and Flow in the past but Filezilla offers a side-by-side interface which is quite useful. The only limitation with this tool is that it's not really MacOSX-aware, e.g. it shows all hidden files

  • 2
    The FileZilla installer from SourceForge now includes some spyware/adware. I encourage people to stay away from any solutions that use/rely on Sourceforge.
    – greggles
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 22:46

Most other answers gave an objective analysis, but I'll share my experience.

Top clients:

  • Flow: really nice interface.
  • Transmit: very fast, can mount as Finder volume.
  • Cyberduck: the best for the inexistent buck.

A more recent option is to use the newer implementation of Fuse for OSX in combination with SSHFS. This is a better solution because most of the applications mentioned are either outdated or payed (and expensive).

Fuse for OSX allows you to use new file systems in user space and SSHFS configures the system to allow you to connect to SSH drives automatically, as if they were drives supported by OSX.

  • I wouldn't count a command line solution as a graphical SFTP utility.
    – Jens Erat
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 9:32
  • "...as if they were drives supported by OSX." means you can see and use the remote machine in Finder. In MacPorts there is also a simple gui for mounting a remote machine, so you don't need the command line at all. This solution works perfectly with the ssh agent for password less logins too. Commented May 23, 2015 at 13:03

Add to others

Unfortunately RBrowser in not compatible with BigSur onwards


This provides more of an interface like Finder than the others (stricyly much more like the original NeXT version) Apart form standard ssh/ftp it will syncronise directories etc.

enter image description here


Try Visual Studio Code. It has support for browsing a remote computer via SFTP.


Yummy FTP (commercial) : http://www.yummysoftware.com/

Can't believe the one that blows most of the above out of the water hasn't yet been mentioned.

  • This website has been repurposed. I read that: "Yummy FTP is no longer being supported and sold by Yummy Software after its developer passed away."
    – Cris P
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 16:37

It's worth considering some of the Web-based alternatives, like Monsta FTP (Disclaimer: I'm involved with this).

They save you having to install software on every device; instead you do it all through your Web-browser, with the same features as any desktop client.


If you are working with large files, then maybe consider Truck.app.
It employs rsync for file transfers, which is generally faster than FTP.

enter image description here

Disclosure: I am the developer of Truck.


I tried Cyberduck and Transmit. None of them has functionality of preserving modification date. SCP on terminal does that.


If you have set up ssh public key authentication, you can use

SSHFS-Mountlet icon of SSHFS-Mountlet

which is a graphical front end to sshfs. It provides a menu bar icon under which you can mount or unmount your connection you have set up before. Sshfs has already been suggested by Fernando in a previous answer. Handling of the remote files happens using the macOS Finder.

I was unhappy with the GUI clients for sshfs, so I wrote my own (GPL'ed).


If you need graphical utility with support for SSH you may try CRAX. This software has a built-in SSH client and after connection to the SSH server it's possible to invoke file operations like copy, move, and delete.

CRAX Screenshot


CaptainFTP is the best choice

Easy to download from itunes:


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