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I am looking for a free solution to automatically sync files and directories remotely between my local machines and an ftp server. I have found two free ones but need you to help me assess their trustworthiness and dependability.

To be honest these look like pretty amateur jobs compared to the more polished proprietary equivalents. Haven't the Mozilla folks, responsible for the popular FTP Filezilla, built in automatic synchronization management features? Or do they have a separate program for that?

How can website developers be bothered manually uploading files everytime they makes changes? Surely there is a very big demand for this kind of software, one would think?

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They use rsync or a DVCS over SSH. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 14 '11 at 4:44
When I am working with a webpage I normally upload it when I am finished vs edit many pages then uploading. Another thing (for me) is I use Dreamweaver which has a Sync feature built in. – L84 Aug 14 '11 at 5:31

There are utilities to mount ftp servers as drives under windows and I think you can do the same in linux once you've done that you can synchronise using synctoy on windows or rsync on linux.

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Does SyncToy allow you to sync with remote locations? It doesn't appear to have that option? – ptrcao Aug 28 '11 at 3:01
I've used it to sync with mapped network drives in the past so it should work, I haven't used the current version though. – Col Aug 28 '11 at 6:44
I will have to look into this. Since your suggestion I haven't tried yet, but a few weeks ago after briefly poking about, I didn't see how to do it and gave up. I'll try again soon. – ptrcao Aug 28 '11 at 8:39

Avoid FTP which is insecure and use rsync over ssh if you want to keep it at a purely file based level.

Other options include using git or another revision control system (svn, cvs, etc.) to handle the updates which allows you more control.

And as others have mentioned, depending on your development environment if might have some kind of sync built in.

Personally, if you're going to be serious about developing something, I think you need to consider using a revision control system anyway, and once you've got that setup, you can use it to deploy / update the site whenever you want.

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You may want to try FTP Voyager from SolarWinds. It includes some pretty robust sync tools, including a visual comparison and a scheduler. (FTP Voyager used to be paid, but went free when SolarWinds acquired it from RhinoSoft.)

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