Replacing regular Microsoft FTP with MOVEit Freely and XFER
Windows brings with it an FTP client that we’re all familiar – just open a command prompt, type FTP and the client is opened. With it being available for use in batch and so simple to execute it has become the most commonly used FTP client when transferring files within a network.
However, the failing of the Microsoft FTP client is that it can only manage non-secure File Transfer; it cannot be used to connect to FTPS or SFTP servers. This means that it’s suitability for use across the internet is practically zero. At this point, many people turn to the more well-known free clients like WinSCP or PSFTP, however Ipswitch offer a free alternative – MOVEit Freely.
MOVEit Freely is an FTPS/FTP client which runs from the command line tool and replicates the functionality of Microsoft FTP. A script written for Microsoft FTP can be used for MOVEit Freely without needing any of the commands to be changed at all. The command line (FTPS.exe) is called from batch in the same way, although with some extra parameters added to account for the SSL configuration; all SSL options are available (implicit/explicit, CCC, etc.) as well as the ability to use client certificates and NAT.
MOVEit Freely has a script function which can be used to read its input from a text file and returns an exit code. Most importantly, MOVEit Freely allows resumption of interrupted transfers.
MOVEit Freely is Freeware; you are allowed to use or distribute it as required without need of a licence. Support for MOVEit Freely is restricted to MOVEit Transfer customers however.
MOVEit Freely works against any FTPS server, but if you need to exchange files with a MOVEit Transfer server then you should be considering MOVEit XFER instead. MOVEit XFER is an HTTPS batch client, which like MOVEit Freely, uses the standard Microsoft FTP command set. Scripts written for MOVEit Freely can be used for MOVEit XFER, with only the actual call program and parameters getting changed (The list of required parameters is considerably shorter than MOVEit Freely and far easier to remember). Most importantly, because it is an HTTPS client, it operates on just one port – 443. This is good news from a firewall perspective, where opening ports for FTP traffic is generally frowned upon, as 443 is generally open on most firewalls.
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