How to Mount an FTP as a Windows drive

As a web developer I work everyday with FTP to transfer and update files on several web servers. The process is simple but boring: I’ve to download a page on my hard drive, edit it and then upload it back on the remote machine to test my modifications. These activities must be done with an FTP client like FileZilla, SmartFTP, WS_FTP

Microsoft Windows can’t mount FTP servers on the local filesystem as network folders (you can do it only with computers that are connected in your local network), so it’s impossible to work with a local application (PhotoShop, Dreamweaver, Notepad++…) loading and saving documents directly on the remote server.

There is some software that is able to add this functionality to Microsoft Operating System, like the old Novell NetDrive, that is not freeware but is considered as abandonware by the same software house. Now Novell suggests to use a newer product like WebDrive, but it’s unfortunately a commercial software.

I Googled for a while and finally I found a solution.

FTP Drive in action

Killer{R}, a Russian guy has developed a very good alternative: FTP Drive is freeware and available for download, and it offers a quick way to emulate a network folder for your FTP connections. It installs a virtual drive in “My Computer”, with a letter of your choice, in which it puts a folder for every your FTP account.
Now you can load and save on FTP exactly as you usually work on your local files 😉

Configuration is not harder than a traditional FTP client: FTP Drive stays in the systray and it requires not much RAM just (3-4Mb).
Just click FTP Drive settings and then “Edit server list manually” (it can also automatically retrieve FTP accounts from Netview, a freeware TCP Manager by Killer{R}); type the address of your FTP server, you login and password and some additionaly option, like the preferred transfer mode and the threads limit. Then click the add button and you’re ready to go: a new folder will appair in “My computer”, under FTP Drive’s network folder, and you”ll be able to operate directly on remote files.

FTP Drive configuration

Applications are unlimited: you can load a PHP page into your editor, change something and save directly from it to have the online page immediately updated, or you can save a picture found on the Internet from Firefox directly to an FTP drive to have uploaded it on your web server and immediately available for your visitors.

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