SFTP Net Drive: easily access remote web space from Explorer as a virtual drive

November 27, 2012 – 07:08 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

Using your own web space to store and manage files may sound like a good idea at first, but there can be complications, in particular when choosing software. You can’t just use any backup program, for instance, as you’ll need FTP access, which cuts down your choice considerably.

If you have some web space with SFTP access, though, there is a simpler way. Install SFTP Net Drive and it will map your remote server to a virtual drive in Explorer, allowing you to access it just like any other network or local drive, from Windows or any application you like.

After a straightforward installation, the program prompts for the key details: your SFTP server name, user name and password. Click Connect, wait a second or two, and an Explorer window should appear showing any existing FTP folders. You can then navigate these just like any other drive (except a little more slowly), drag and drop files there, create them directly – and no FTP client required.

Enter a few basic account details and your web space will be accessible within seconds

Life isn’t always quite so straightforward, of course, but if you need finer control over what’s happening then the program does provide a Server Settings dialog which may help. Here you can define the folder which appears when SFTP Net Drive first appears, for instance, as well as the folder you’d like to be your root. And you can have the program send keep-alives, configure what happens if the connection gets dropped anyway, set up a proxy server, enable file caching and more.

For the most part, though, we found the program just worked, running in the background without any hassles at all. It doesn’t consume much in the way of resources (7.5MB on our test PC). And although there’s a commercial Professional build available, EldoS have been surprisingly generous with the license for the free version, allowing business use as long as there are no more than 10 installations in the same company.

SFTP Net Drive still isn’t perfect, of course. It would really benefit from FTP, as well as SFTP support, for instance (although that’s apparently on the list of “things to do”). Even now, though, the program is an excellent free tool which will instantly help you make better use of your SFTP-enabled web space.

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