FTP Clients - Part 6: Core FTP LE

For this installment in my series about FTP Clients, I'd like to take a look at the Core FTP client. For this blog post I used Core FTP Lite Edition (LE) version 1.3c (build 1447) and version 2.1 (build 1603), although all of my screen shots are from version 2.1. Core FTP is available from the following URL:


At the time of this blog post, Core FTP provides the LE for free and charges a small fee for a professional version.

Like most graphical FTP clients, the Core FTP LE user interface is pretty easy to use and rather straight-forward - you have separate windows for your local and remote files/folders, as well as a logging window that lists the FTP commands that are sent and the FTP server's responses:

Core FTP LE has a great Site Manager feature, which allows you to store commonly-used connections to FTP sites:

Clicking on the Advanced button gives you a great deal of additional configuration settings, and I'll say more about that later:

Command-Line Support

This is one of my favorite Core FTP LE features: command-line support. Yes - I'm a geek - and I like being able to script things and run batch jobs to automate whatever I can, so command-line support is always a plus for me. That said, the interface for the Core FTP LE command-line client is not an interactive experience like you get with the built-in Windows FTP.EXE or MOVEit Freely command-line clients. The Core FTP LE command-line client is provided as via the Corecmd.exe file that is installed in the main the Core FTP LE application directory, and is used for a single FTP operation like GET or PUT - although you can pass the name of a script file to execute several commands before/after logging in or before/after a file transfer.

So my final judgment is that the Core FTP LE client doesn't have great command-line support, but it's still really nice to have.

Using FTP over SSL (FTPS)

The Core FTP LE client supports both Implicit and Explicit FTPS, so the choice is up to you which method to use. When creating a connection to a server, Core FTP LE has three FTP options that you can use with FTP7:


It's important to choose this option correctly, otherwise you will run into problems when trying access a site using FTPS. If you'll recall from my "FTP Clients - Part 2: Explicit FTPS versus Implicit FTPS" and my other FTP client blog posts, Explicit FTPS allows the client to initiate SSL/TLS whenever it wants, but for most FTP clients that will be when logging in to your FTP site, and in that regard it may almost seem like Implicit FTPS, but behind the scenes the FTP client and server are communicating differently.

In the case of FTP7, the following rules apply:

  • If you enable FTPS in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to port 990, you are using Implicit FTPS - Core FTP LE refers to this as FTPS (SSL DIRECT). (Note: make sure that you configure your FTP client to connect on port 990.)
  • If you enable FTPS in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to any port other than port 990, you are using Explicit FTPS - Core FTP LE allows you to configure your connection to use AUTH SSL or AUTH TLS for the explicit connection.

The type of FTPS is specified on the Connection drop-down menu:

Once you have chosen an FTPS connection, the Core FTP LE client offers you additional options where you can customize which parts of the session will be encrypted:

You can combine the Core FTP SSL options with the advanced SSL policies for your FTP7 sites to customize your security level:

Using FTP Virtual Hosts

Because Core FTP LE's site manager allows you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials, Core FTP LE works great with FTP7's virtual host names. All that you need to do is use the "ftp.example.com|username" syntax when specifying your username, and when you connect to the FTP7 server it will route your requests to the correct FTP virtual host site.

Using True FTP Hosts

A really great feature of Core FTP LE is the ability to send pre-login commands, and since this feature allows you to enter custom commands you can specify the actual FTP HOST command as part of your login:

This is a tremendous feature if you're hosting multiple FTP sites on the same IP address, and gives Core FTP LE some of the best support for true FTP HOSTs.

Scorecard for Core FTP LE

That wraps it up for our quick round-trip for some of Core FTP LE's features, and here's the scorecard results:

Client NameDirectory
Core FTP LE 1.3 Rich Y Y Y Y 1
Core FTP LE 2.1 Rich Y Y Y Y 1
1 As noted earlier, true FTP HOSTs are available in Site Manager using pre-login commands.

Note: Keeping with my standard disclaimer, there are a great number of additional features that Core FTP LE provides - and I just focused on the topic areas that apply to FTP7.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

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