How to Safely Download and Cleanly Install FileZilla FTP Software (with no additional junk)

FileZilla is an immensely popular and safe FTP client. It allows you to (1) view the file structure of a web server (meaning, you will be able to see all of the files and folders on your web server, just as though you were looking at your own hard drive). You can also, of course, (2) drag and drop files both ways (from your machine to your web server or vice-versa). It’s immensely handy for everyday tasks such as moving large numbers of files (e.g., images, PDFs, etc.) onto your server for use on your web site.

The software is open-source, but I recommend caution when installing it because, at leat in the past, the installers have been known to also allow options for installing other software, which can be annoying. So, here’s how to get a clean install (at least as of April 19, 2019, when this is being written):

Step One: Go to the Official Site

For our purposes here, I’m using the Google Chrome browser, and I recommend doing so as well if you’re following this, as some items here may be Chrome-only behavior. FileZilla is currently hosted at: https://filezilla-project.org/

Step Two: Download the Software

Click the “Download FileZilla Client” button…

…and then on the next page (again, assuming you’re on Windows), click the download link…

But, be alert about the “bundled offers,” which I’ll cover in a moment.

You may face another option, which is to select the Pro or the Free version. The Pro version allows you to interact directly with popular services such as Amazon S3 and Dropbox. Handystuff, for sure. (If you choose that, you will be taken to an order page, where you would have to purchase this version, which is currently $19.99.) But, for the purposes of this instructional note, let’s just do the FREE version for now. So, click that download link.

Clicking the link will save the application .exe file to your machine. When it’s finished downloading, you should see a notification at the bottom of your browser window.

Step 3: Launch the Installer

Okay, let’s get the software safely (and cleanly installed)! To begin, click on the box (anywhere in the middle of the graphic shown above) to launch the installer. You will likely see a screen asking if you want to give permission to this program to make changes to your maching. Click yes to allow that. (Sorry, I couldn’t screen-grab that screen.)

Next, the License Agreement and Privacy Policy comes up. It basically says that it’s freeware, no warranty, and as far a privacy goes, there aren’t any real concerns there, although the program does need to connect to the FileZilla site upon launch to ensure you’re on the latest version (which is actually handy). So, click that you agree…

Next, it’ll ask you who will be using this software. The default answer is “anyone” — and, if it’s your own computer you’re using, that’s a pretty safe choice. So, for me, I’m going to just go with that choice.

Next, it’ll ask you what parts of the program you want to install. I’m choosing all of them:

…and again, click next. After this, it asks where you want to install it. Again, it’s probably best to keep the default location for most users. That’s what I’m going to do:

So, click next again… Now it’ll ask you about a start menu folder. Again, let’s keep with the default.

Ok, here’s where you need to be CAREFUL!!! The next screen is the “Install Additional Software” screen. It looks like this:

We don’t want that — not at all, as it’s total junk. So, UNCHECK THAT BOX, and only then click the NEXT button, like so:

But wait, there’s more! You’ll now see another offer:

Again, we’re here for FTP software, not for installing a bunch of things you don’t want or need. So, unclick that box before clicking next, like so:

Hopefully, the items above will be the only additional software offered, although technically speaking, the developers could have made such offers dynamic — meaning that the offers I showed above for McAfee WebAdvisor and the Opera browser might not be the exact offers everyone sees upon install. So, the main point is to look at each screen during the install experience and uncheck any boxes on screens that offer “additional software.”

Hopefully, you’ll now be on the final screen, which indicates success, and lets you launch the software. So, go ahead and do that.

To quickly verify that no additional junk was installed, I took a quick look at my control panel under Programs. Indeed, it shows only FileZilla installed today.

So, I think that’s a success.

How to Use FileZilla

I won’t spend time on using FileZilla, as there are tons and tons of clear explanations online and on Youtube already. Here’s a nice (if somewhat blurry) intro, for anyone curous.


Jim Dee heads up Array Web Development, LLC, in Portland, Oregon. When he is not coding database applications, he writes articles for this web design blog, “Web Designer | Web Developer Magazine,” for his personal blog, “Hawthorne Crow,” and for various other publications on Medium.com. You can reach him at: Jim [at] ArrayWebDevelopment.com.