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Dropbox is pretty handy, but I want to accomplish a similar thing on a larger scale - syncing my local files across computers and on a server. I already have a big fat research server with a big drive available via SFTP (also it's useful to have my files available on the server). There must be a program to keep directories in sync with a server that just works.

  1. OS X support
  2. Minimal CPU/memory usage (My MacBook Pro is kindof sluggish as is)
  3. Don't need admin access on the server
  4. minimal setup time/cost
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Have you tried rsync? – Daniel Beck Sep 16 '11 at 6:20

You can use the Unix utility called rsync.

For synchronizing a folder to your remote host, use a simple command like:

rsync local-folder user@remote-machine:/remote/folder/

The local-folder will be created in /remote/folder.

rsync has several options you will probably want to use (see the manual for more details):

  • -a enables archive mode
  • -v enables more verbose output
  • -n enables a "dry run", i.e. a fake backup
  • --delete will delete everything on the remote host that doesn't exist locally anymore (use with caution)
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Welcome to Super User! Thanks for your helpful answer! It would be nice to have more context, maybe explaining how to use a tool and link to an official resource. I edited your post to include that and hope you don't mind. – slhck Sep 16 '11 at 9:39
@slhck Wow... next time, post as your own answer and get the rep you deserve ;) – Daniel Beck Sep 16 '11 at 9:41
@Daniel I don't particularly need it and I think it's always helpful to poke new users in the right direction with positive reinforcement :P – slhck Sep 16 '11 at 9:41

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