I'm a programmer who enjoys learning/talking about cities 🌆, energy ⚡️, cooking 🍃, biking 🚲, traveling 🚞, and creating a more sustainable economy 🏴‍☠️. This website is an always-in-progress repository for documenting my latest ideas and projects.

File Syncing

A capable self-hosted and FOSS replacement for Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

After bouncing around various paid hosting services1, I finally settled on using Syncthing as my software of choice for keeping directories in sync across my devices. A few reasons for the selection:

This all sounds great, however the one major downside to Syncthing is its lack of mobile application. This kept me from using it for quite a while until I finally found a workaround (at least for iOS). Enter Secure Shellfish3. While it looks like a run-of-the-mill SSH client for iOS, it has a nifty feature of allowing you to mount a remote device onto iOS’s Files app. If you have an always-on server running Syncthing you can use this as your mount device to get mobile access to your files. iOS’ Files app has all of the normal filesystem features you’d expect: uploading, downloading, scanning documents in, etc. The experiences ends up being pretty seamless.

I don’t have a similar recommendation for Android users just yet, but I’m sure something similar exists. If you’re reading this and end up giving it a shot, send me an email and let me know what has worked for you so I can post it up here.

While the redundancy of having my filesystem in sync on multiple devices is pretty safe for ensuring no data gets lost, I also fall back to BorgBackup to ensure I have an entirely separate off-site backup. You can read more about this setup here (ctrl+f for the borg section).

  1. The one I stuck with the longest and recommend if you’re unwilling to go down the Syncthing path is Tresorit. Note that I selected this service quite a while ago and there may be companies offering a more secure solution these days. My biggest gripe with them was that their client software was all closed source. 

  2. I have not tested this personally and cannot fully vouch for it being 100% safe/leak free. 

  3. The app is paid but I have no affiliation with the developer.