Cyberduck: An Open Source FTP Client for Mac

Congratulations on your ownership of a Mac! Because of that you have been blessed with a mammoth range of FTP (as well as SFTP, WebDav and Amazon S3) clients that you can use to browse and manage your files on a remote server.

One of the main players in the FTP game is Cyberduck – a free, open-source application that is quite possibly the best solution (for its price) currently available on Mac. It can connect to FTP, SFTP, WebDav, Cloud Files, Google Docs and Amazon S3. Cyberduck is written by David V. Kocher however as mentioned before, it’s an open-source software, so the application is constantly improved by many people around the world.

Read on to find out whether it fits the bill for you.

Connecting to Servers




Opening up a connection in Cyberduck is quite easy and as you’d expect, the process is very similar to that of all its competing applications. To begin, click the ‘Open Connection’ button on the toolbar of Cyberduck.

Simply select the type of connection from the drop down list, and enter your login details. As you can see, you can click on the ‘More options’ text to drop down additional settings. These allow you to change settings such as the path and connect mode. For reference, I have added /public_html/ to mine as this is where all my web files are located.



Adding a Bookmark

If you are anything like myself, typing in server details over and over again can get annoying. Luckily Cyberduck has a ‘Bookmark’ solution much like other paid FTP clients.



To add a bookmark, click on the plus (+) symbol on the bottom-left of the Cyberduck window. Simply enter the details that you would if you were connecting to a server normally. Adding a bookmark also gives you the flexibility of additional options such as adding a default downloads folder.

Adding a Bookmark

Adding a Bookmark

I personally do not have a long list of servers however I can understand how the bookmarks list can easily grow to such a large amount that scrolling through them is impractical (for example, web design firms). Cyberduck has an integrated search bar that is very quick and will help you locate a certain server in your list.



Adding/Changing Files

Once connected, you will want to go about your business adding, deleting and editing your files. This is easily achieved in Cyberduck through a simple drag and drop solution, directly from your Finder window.

File Listing

File Listing

Once you have dragged a file into your Cyberduck window, a new ‘Transfers’ window will appear detailing the transfer you have initiated, and information such as time remaining and speed. You may also cancel or pause your transfer from here.




Cyberduck offers plenty of preferences that you can tweak, making it fit right into your workflow. You can change settings for the browser, transfers, editor, server types, bandwidth and connection.

The large list of preferences can be a bit daunting at first however, I found you just need to take the time to go through them and understand what each one means. A feature I love about Cyberduck is the ability to chose a default markup editor for my files.

I also really enjoyed the fact that it can save my workspace and automatically connect again upon start-up. This can save a great deal of time if you regularly connect to the same server.



Other Features

Cyberduck also has some other notable features. Growl notifications are integrated into the application so you can stay alert to when files have finished uploading and the like.

Quick Look integration is also included. While browsing your files on the server, you can hit your space bar and quick look will launch for that file.



Transmit, by Panic, is one of the most popular Mac FTP apps. It has just seen a refresh to its fourth version and boasts quite a few notable features including 25x speed and Finder disks integration. We reviewed it recently.


Flow, by extendmac is yet another FTP client. It’s a solid application sporting a nice interface. You can see our review on it here.


Forklift, by BinaryNights, is a another FTP client that has a nice dual-pane interface. Again, we’ve posted up a full review of Forklift in the past.


FileZilla is a free alternative to Cyberduck. It’s popularity lies mainly among Windows users, but there is also a Mac version if you’re accustomed to using it on another platform.


Cyberduck is an excellent free file browser for the Mac. It stacks up well against its paid competitors and is filled with many great features. It’s a very easy program to use and feels polished.

The great advantage Cyberduck has over all many other competing apps on OS X is that it’s completely free. If you don’t use FTP all that regularly, or don’t require the latest and greatest features offered by Transmit, it’s a fantastic solution.


Cyberduck is an excellent free file browser for the Mac. It stacks up well against its paid competitors and is filled with many great features. It is easily the best free FTP client available on Mac.



Add Yours
  • I totally agree, CyberDuck is the best free client FTP on MacOS X !

    But, I think – it’s just my opinion, that FileZilla is faster… do you confirm that advice ?

  • I kind of gave up on CyberDuck. Has tons of promise but is way to unstable and flaky. For free software, im not complaining but I’d rather buy Transmit for 35 bucks and have the best FTP client on the planet.

    • do agree. Transmit worths every penny.

      • I completely agree with both of you

  • I think these would be a lot more useful if you do a comparison review, or head to head review.
    As in X lacks here, whereas Y is better.

  • Cyberduck is good piece of software considering the price, but I’d rather pay for something more stable, reliable and faster like Transmit or Flow.

  • It’s funny people talking about Transmit being more stable. I often run into problems with it caused by warnings flagged by Intego Virus Barrier X6 and stuff doesn’t get uploaded properly. I’ve tried setting rules in VB to prevent the warnings but haven’t been able to get around it. Whenever I have these problems with Transmit, I switch to Filezilla to make sure the files get uploaded properly with no warnings.

    • +1, it happen most of the time so I switch instantly to other ftp software. In my case only I’m not saying it happen to most people.

    • +2. I’ve also had some problems with Transmit where files are not uploaded properly. There is no warning or error report that let’s me know, it just fails to complete the job and I find out down the line when a client informs me that an image doesn’t load etc.

      Downloading CyberDuck now to give it a test drive.

  • I switched from Filezilla to Cyberduck about a year ago and have been very happy with it. It has been very stable.

  • I currently use Cyberduck. There are a few features I wish it had:

    1.) Bring back the bookmark pull-out tab. Probably the best feature ever removed.
    2.) Create bookmark ‘groups’ (like ‘Clients’ with a listing in that or ‘Bob’s Sites’)
    3.) Sort FTP Bookmarks

  • CyberDuck is awesome. It’s the first FTP program I ever used and I fell in love immediately.

  • I have to disagree here. Yes CyberDuck is great because it’s a fully working FTP program for free but the speed is a MASSIVE issue. It is so painfully slow as to not be usable. I’m uploading and downloading files all day long and having to wait for this software to catch up is a waste of time and money.

    I’ve switched back to FileZilla. Whilst not the best looking FTP program out there, it’s a hell of a lot faster than this and works beautifully.

  • Do agree, the little duck is nice. We use it for all who don’t use FTP every day. For my self I do prefer to pay for Fetch, the little dog (not barking on my mac)

  • Cyberduck is SUPER SLOW!!!! Very very very SLOW!!!! Scrolling and Transferring files. Compare to other FTP. I have even donated. And can’t find any answers on the issue anywhere.

  • I cldn’t get to grips with FileZilla at all, so went searching – came across this post. Downloaded CyberDuck. Very pleased so far, so just wanted to say a big thank you.

  • I actually prefer FTP Client from Its $3.99 on the App Store vs Cyberducks $27.

    You can find it here: