FTP and UTF-8 in filenames

FTP is still widely used for file-transfers over the internet. This ancient protocol has its roots in the 70s (!) and was finalized back in 1985. Since then it got patched with security (FTP over SSL) and support for unicode (actually UTF-8) characters in pathes and filenames. I've searched a bit to find products (FTP servers and clients) that support UTF-8.

The UTF-8 "OPTS" ftp command/extension was introduced in 2002. Despite of this there're only a very few FTP servers and clients supporting it. Shock I'm sure that there're more than I've found, but it's still not a generic thing as I'd expect. Using national characters in filenames is a common habit in office environments ... and since Windows is dominating the office market, I'm quite astonished that not WindowsXP's builtin FTP-client does not support UTF-8.

I've found only 2 FTP-servers supporting UTF-8:
  1. RaidenFTPD
  2. Gene6 FTP Server
Previously I had been using Serv-U and I still think that it's one of the best if you do not need UTF-8 support (because unfortunately it does not have any). I had some troubles with RaidenFTPD: sometimes the user interface froze and I had to wait a minute to be able to continue with my work. Once after an upload of some hundred MBs of images it froze totally ... I had to kill the daemon and start manually again.

With Gene6 I had no bad experiences yet, so I think I'll settle for it.

On the client end I found also only with support for UTF-8. Shock
  1. SmartFTP
  2. BitKinex
Actually I did not fall in love with any of them ... but since I need an UTF-8 capable FTP-client I chose the latter. SmartFTP's user interface is not very intuitive, eg. if I drag a directory from the local filesystem to the remote one, then the transfer starts immediately and the progress is only shown in the raw FTP-log, but there's no progress bar or the like.
BitKinex is almost good. Smile

Update: in the end I decided not to use non-ASCII characters in my filesystem and reverted back to Serv-U as a server and FileZilla as a client. Smile


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Other UTF-8 FTP clients and servers

This post is a few years old so I thought I would add a client and server to the list of FTP products that supports UTF-8.

Cerberus FTP Server fully supports UTF-8 at http://www.cerberusftp.com and

FileZilla FTP client at also support UTF-8.

I use both of them and they have no problems with international character sets and mixed language files.


Re: Other UTF-8 FTP clients and servers

Thank you for the update. Indeed, 4 years is a long time in IT. Smile I'm glad to see that there has been some progress regarding UTF-8 support in FTP clients.