I realize there is already this good question How to sync bookmarks between Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on multiple computers? about bookmark sync, but I am looking for a different solution.

It is somehow sad, that after like 10 years, since i first stumbled about bookmark-sync-problems, this still is somewhat a basic problem - at least if you don't want to rely on servers of third parties. An easy solution with an app or two and a basic ftp or sftp-server - it should not be more complicated than that.

And this is my main reason for this question and my idea for any developers out there who have some spare-time or are looking for a useful community-product-idea.

XMarks and Weave are the only ways which tended to be a solution for my problem:

To sync bookmarks - at least for FireFox - using my own server.

However, I would very much like to use the build-in FTP-Server of my Router (AVM 7390 FritzBox). This would be a really great application for it and neither xmarks nor weave are suited for this. I would need a WebDav server or an even more advanced setup of a weave-server.

What am I looking for exactly?

  • I use mainly FireFox, but also Opera or Chrome and would like to access a central bookmark-collection
  • It should be hostet by my own ftp-server, another server type might be a solution, but is not my favorite
  • it would be great, if something like sync-profiles would be possible
  • it has to be possible to automate it as far as possible, although it would be nice to always get a preview of the changes to be made - before they would be made, like with the syncToy of MS

Currently I think I have a better chance using Code-Merging tools and Bookmark-Auto-Backup-Plugins. It just seems to be the easier way, dealing with the syncing outside of the browser.

I want to use my own server due to privacy reasons and because i really do not see the point of using a third-party for this, which may or may not be available in some years.


I tested using xmarks, because of its own-server feature - only to realize after some time, that it does not work with an ftp-server and that others have encountered this problem too.

Transmute is promising. -However it seems that you would have to execute the sync-task yourself - at least i could not find any settings for "auto update when xxx". -Pay 20-30$ for one of the advanced versions. +You can setup FTP-Directories. +The free tool is a great portable converter for many formats.

  • 1
    +1 I really hope you don't get those standard answers – nixda Feb 16 '13 at 3:19
  • 1
    FYI: Transmute does sync, but its not developed or updated anymore. It has problems with Firefox' encrypted places.sqlite file and with newer Opera versions – nixda Aug 17 '13 at 10:06

The open-source Shaarli may be a candidate for your project. I have no personal experience with it, but the project description says:

Shaarli is a minimalist delicious clone you can install on your own website. It is designed to be personal (single-user), fast and handy.
Dead-simple installation: Drop the files, open the page. No database required.
Can import/export Netscape bookmarks (for import/export from/to Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Delicious…)

Another open-source solution is SiteBar, whose features list says :

SiteBar is a solution for people who use multiple browsers or computers and want to have their bookmarks available from anywhere without need to synchronize them or take them along. The bookmarks are stored on a server - this could be:

  • a SiteBar server run by its authors (you don't need to install SiteBar software - just sign up our service);
  • another public server running our SiteBar software;
  • your own server running our free SiteBar software. SiteBar is a ready to use Internet Explorer Favorites Manager, Firefox Bookmark Manager, Mozilla Bookmark Manager, Opera Bookmark Manager and more

Otherwise, you could try and use the old and discontinued BookmarkSync. The sources of this project (dating from 2003) can be found on this project page, both server and client.

Just to remark that Xmarks claims that they prefer to use WebDAV for own-server, even saying that "FTP will probably not be so well supported in future Foxmarks releases". So WebDAV may still work for own-server.

  • Thank you, I will check-out your solutions. And yes, Xmarks might work, I left this idea half-way but am now working on a proper solution again - there are still some hurtles to overcome. I even thought about abusing git in a way to do this, I'll post something, when there is something working ;) – Jook Aug 18 '13 at 18:33
  • I am still not satisfied and really sad about the lack of sync between Opera <> Chrome <> Firefox :( – nixda Aug 20 '13 at 16:49
  • Am I to understand that all these solutions do not fully solve your problem? Xmarks+WebDAV is probably the one to really check out, because Xmarks is after all the best of its kind and supports the 3 browsers. – harrymc Aug 20 '13 at 17:33
  • @harrymc How does Xmarks support Opera? Do you mean Opera 12 or 15 (where you can cross-install Chrome extensions)? – nixda Aug 21 '13 at 18:08
  • It seems Opera 17 will start having an Xmarks support. More info here mostly in comments. – harrymc Aug 27 '13 at 18:15

Got it working with xmarks - for now.

Here is the setup:

  • BACKUP your bookmarks on all Firefoxes you wan't wo use xmark-sync!
  • install xmarks (I used 4.2.1)
  • setup a plain FTP-Server (login & password can be used, but no TLS)
  • a DynDNS-Address helps a lot, if the FTP has no static-address
  • open xmarks-setting and go to advanced
  • select "use own server" and click edit
  • Use an url like this ftp://fritz.box/FF-Bookmarks/SyncMarks.json for Bookmarks
  • Use an url like this ftp://fritz.box/FF-Bookmarks/SyncPassw.json for Passwords
  • put in your username and password
  • when the user loggs onto the FTP, FF-Bookmarks must be in his root-Directory
  • repeat this setup on your other Firefox(es)
  • when ready, i've use "manually override" and "upload" of the advanced xmarks setting, then synchronized my other Firefox with this upload

Oddly, this did not work on the first try, there might be some issues, I currently cannot point out. It might be, because I have quite a lot of Bookmarks (File is about 800KB).

For those who want to recreate this setup using an AVM FritBox:

  • it has to have some NAS functionality (Heimnetz)
  • activate the NAS on Heimnetz -> Speicher (NAS)
  • if you want to login into NAS while not in your home-network, you need to activate this on Internet / Freigaben / FRITZ!Box-Dienste - do not use FTPS!
  • setup your users on System / FRITZ!Box-Kennwort / FRITZ!Box-Benutzer
  • you need to activate at least access to NAS-Content and add a root-Directory (there is a preset ftpuser)
  • you can add internet-access too, so this user can connect while not on the home network (there is a preset ftpuser-internet)
  • ftp://fritz.box works onyl while on the home network, you need to use your external ip or an updated DynDNS-Adress, when not at home
  • mine supports the setup of a Dynamic DNS Service (Internet), which I would recommend to use

This setup worked for me at least for one sync now, which was helpful already. Of course this does not cover chrome and opera. And I am quite unhappy, that I can't force FTPS-use or at least only allow non-FTPS only for a specific user.

I am still experimenting on using git for this in combination with the Box-NAS. Having bare git repositories on a USB-Drive is already quite nice in combination with a VPN connection, it is nearly like an own git-Server. Also,VPN is an alternative solution to using non-FTPS-connection over the internet for xmark-sync.

I will try to extend this solution, when I am done experimenting with it.

  • Hm, no Opera and Chrome sync. Thats still the deal breaker for me. – nixda Aug 19 '13 at 6:42
  • There is a plugin for Chrome, Safari, IE and somewhat of a mini plugin for Opera, but none of them (safari is an assuption) does support an own FTP :( It is not THE deal-breaker for me, but I understand and support your position - would like to have it better myself. – Jook Aug 19 '13 at 8:48
  • As I feared, there seems to be a problem with the productive behaviour - sync will currently work only for one of my browsers ... I'll have to evaluate this further – Jook Aug 22 '13 at 14:25

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