Courtesy: Andre Malesh. Posted: Monday, May 24, 1999
Despite the obvious competition from much larger, more renowned software companies, LeechFTP is still one of the best FTP clients available. It reaches past the more conventional clients like CuteFTP and WS_FTP with a full blown queue, the capability to resume downloading of files (even after disconnecting), and numerous other features which make LeechFTP a must for all power users.
The most basic usage of a FTP client is the uploading and downloading of files. LeechFTP makes this task easier than ever. It includes a bookmark tool which does more than just store FTP addresses and login information. You can adjust the number of connection retries for busy sites or the delay between each login attempt. You can also restrict connections to a certain server, making it easier to manage your downloads, uploads, and connections. In addition, each bookmark can be secured so that it can only be accessed via a password.
You can open multiple instances of LeechFTP, and if you alter the bookmarks in one instance, the other open LeechFTPs are also updated in real time. Unfortunately, the bookmarks lack two features. First is the ability to import bookmarks from other FTP clients such as CuteFTP, and second is the fact that the bookmark window doesn't save your resize settings. This means that everytime you start LeechFTP you'll find yourself resizing the bookmarks for best viewing on your screen.
The appearance is the next feature you will most likely notice, with four panes instead of the standard two or three. The most important pane contains four tabs: Queue, Threads, Downloads, and Failures. The Queue tab contains information on files which are scheduled for download. You can disable the queue or schedule it to start file transfers later. The Threads tab contains information on current connections. These connections include server connections and file transfers. For maximum file transfer efficiency, you can also set speed limits on certain connections. For example, you may want to slow down a download in order to accelerate another download or upload. The total thread (16 threads max) transfer rate is alsodisplayed.
Next is the Downloads tab which displays the files which have been properly downloaded. If you click an ACE, ZIP or RAR archive, the contents of the archive are displayed. Lastly is the Failures tab that shows transfers which were not completed properly. This includes downloads and uploads, and you may return these transfers to the queue with the click of a button.
The other two panes contain local and remote directory information. You can drag and drop files between the two panes or you can right-click files to begin transfers. You can also download entire folders simply by selecting them and delete directories even if they contain files (using recursive delete) There is also a Compare Directory function and a built in text viewer for easy file viewing. Yet another useful feature is a built-in FTP search utility which lets you search FTP sites for a particular file. This is very useful in finding hard to find files.
Despite its freeware status, LeechFTP has obviously been created by an advanced programmer. The interface emulates that of Internet Explorer, complete with color-changing buttons. Another added plus is that it has a built-in update feature that checks for program updates. Put all of these features into a free program and you've got yourself a winning combination. Now if only other companies would follow the example.
Pros: One of the first truly multi-threaded clients. URL snatching captures links from the clipboard. Great interface that emulates IE 4.0.
Cons: There are moments when LeechFTP becomes unstable. Resuming uploads is currently not supported.
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