|App Name||Webdrive from South River Tech|
|App Version Reviewed||WebDrive 10.0|
|Test System Specs||Windows XP Pro x64|
|Supported OSes||WinAll (some features not avail. on Win9x)|
|Support Methods||Very good documentation (pdf guides, manual, tutorials)|
|Upgrade Policy||Not clear. One year of updates is included in purchase.|
|Trial Version Available?||Yes, fully functional but nag and expiration|
|Pricing Scheme||$59 with 1 year of free updates; multi-year update plan available|
|Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product||I have no relationship to company; I purchased a full price version of the program.|
WebDrive is system utility which allows you to connect to an ftp server and map it to look like a local drive on your PC. This let's you use any program on your PC that works with local files work with your ftp sites even if they are not internet-enabled.
Who is this app designed for:
This is a program that will only appeal to a small number of people with specific needs for interfacing to an ftp site, but it is an incredibly sophisticated and well-designed application, which can be a life saver if you have a use for it.
I came across it while looking for a way to use a file/folder comparison tool (Beyond Compare) with an ftp server. Although the comparison tool I use supports connecting to ftp sites directly, it does not support FTPES, a more advanced encrypted ftp protocol. WebDrive does support FTPES as well as SFTP and others. Not using encryption was not an option, so I was desperate for a way to interface my existing tools with the ftp server in a secure manner.
WebDrive allows me to use this file comparison tool to compare and transfer changed files with ftp server in a completely transparent way, and was the only tool I found that could do the job well.
WebDrive has a lot of options, a big user manual, tons of features, commandline support, and other stuff that experts may care about -- but most importantly is that it works straight out of the box with no tweaking required. You can map multiple ftp servers to different drives, use proxies.
I want to mention one of the most pleasantly surprising aspects of the program. After i purchased WebDrive a new version of Beyond Compare came out with built-in ftpes support. So I thought that I wouldn't have much use for WebDrive after that. Boy was I wrong.
First of all, ftpes support in Beyond Compare is currently buggy, whereas WebDrive seems flawless.
But more important was the unexpected utility of the cache system in WebDrive.
Basically, WebDrive maintains a local cache on your hard drive of files on the ftp server. It uses a variety of mechanisms and options to decide when a cached file needs to be re-downloaded. It's perfect if you are the only person uploading files to the ftp -- if not you have to be a little more careful.
The use of the cache means that most of the time you can work with files on the ftp server virtually, without actually incurring any transfer bandwidth and at blazing speed. Only when you modify a file will it automatically be uploaded or downloaded from the ftp. The effect of this on tools like file/folder comparison tools is huge, and it all happens automatically.
Supports connecting to FTP, SFTP, FTPES, WEBDAV, Amazon S3, FrontPage, GroupDrive.
Scheduled file synchronizing
As I noted in my post below, WebDrive also has an excellent scheduled download/upload/sync feature that will connect to an account and transfer new/changed files.
The needs improvement section
This is one of those tools that has a very narrow focus, and does it's job extremely well. Hard to think of missing features. I did have a serious conflict with Eset Smart Security firewall in the past and I'm not sure if that has been fixed yet.
Not suitable as a full ftp client because it lacks functions that you would need like permission changing, queuing, etc. This is a very specialized tool for people who know they need it, not a tool for the average pc user.
Previous versions (version had a truly horrific uninstallation procedure for window x64. New versions (version 10) are fine.
How does it compare to similar apps
Some similar programs:
- NetDrive - have not tried it -- just discovered it and it is half price -- worth checking out before you buy WebDrive.
- ftpdrive - free but not maintained (seems a little bit buggy).
- SftpDrive - the main commercial competitor to WebDrive, cheaper, available for mac. Looks good but not as powerful, and less protocols supported.
If you maintain files on an ftp server and would like to be able to interface your windows applications to the files on the server as if they were on a local drive -- especially if you would like to do file synchronization with the ftp server, then you owe it to yourself to check out WebDrive. It has made my life a lot easier.
Links to other reviews/tutorials of this application