File transfer protocol (FTP) tools are among the oldest Internet software, yet they're still some of the most useful programs to have around, especially since today's FTP clients do so much. Case in point is BitKinex, a free FTP manager from Barad-Dur. It's a full-featured FTP client that not only transfers files but also synchronizes directories and performs server-to-server mirroring and backups; a Secure FTP (SFTP) client that accommodates all available secure protocols and also offers multiple connections and automatic download resumption in secure connections; and a Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) tool with all the conveniences of a modern FTP client.
During installation, we opted to integrate BitKinex with Windows Explorer, which required a reboot. The program's interface is quite basic but familiar and efficient, opening in minimized mode with a blank main view and a navigation tree view above the Status Bar, a log panel that displays file transfer data. We clicked the Quick Connect button, which opened a compact dialog that let us enter our server address, username, and password to quickly access frequently used sites, in this case, the hosting service for a personal Web site. Next we browsed to a DVD copied to our hard drive. We right-clicked it and selected Upload with BitKinex on the context menu, which opened a small dialog displaying Source and Destination fields, Request options, and properties selections. We set everything up and clicked OK, and BitKinex immediately began the transfer, displaying the progress, transfer rate, and other data in the Status Bar. Selectable tool tips, a good Help file, and considerable online assistance made the program easy to use. It offers some interesting options, too, such as transparency, a Command Prompt console, and the ability to run it as a Windows service via an entry on the File menu for running processes in the background. The Help menu contained Wizards for setting up a network and establishing connections, while the navigation tree view included folders listing numerous FTP sites, two thoughtful additions.
FTP clients have come a long way since their debut, as BitKinex so ably showed. Whether you need to upload a personal Web page to a hosting service, share folders full of vacation pictures, or collaborate on Web sites at a distance, BitKinex has you covered.