Looking for good FTP software that synchronizes between local machine and remote web server

I am currently using Dreamweaver to sync my files between my local machine and my remote server; I've been using it for years and it has done a great job. But because of the cost attached to it, I am looking for some less expensive alternatives.

To prevent ambiguity about my request, Dreamweaver checks my local system for files I've modified, then compares it to my remote web hosting server. If there are newer files on my local server, it marks them as files to be 'put' on the server. If there are newer files on the remote server, it marks them as 'get'. By clicking a button, Dreamweaver starts 'put'ting and 'get'ting all the files necessary, and in the end, my local machine's files will be identical to the files on the server.

Can anyone provide recommendations for such software please? Free software would be ideal. :)
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
I've been using SyncBack from 2BrightSparks for many years:

I started with their SE version and then moved to their Pro version. They also have a Free version. Here's a comparison table for all three versions:

The Free version is very good (and has FTP support), but for your purposes, you'll need the Smart Synchronization feature (two-way file sync), which is available only in the SE and Pro versions (as you can see in the feature comparison matrix). Also, the SE and Pro versions have better security on FTP transfers than the Free version. Although not free, the SE and Pro versions are reasonably priced, imo. This is extraordinarily good software — I would not be without it! Regards, Joe

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WinSCP is definitely free, and can synchronise either in interactive GUI mode, or in scripted batch mode: https://winscp.net/eng/docs/task_synchronize_full
elepilAuthor Commented:
To both Joe and Kimputer, sorry for the delay in response.

Kimputer, WinSCP is *almost* perfect. It was very intuitive and so easy to use. But it had one big lacking feature -- the ability to exempt a file from being synchronized. In Dreamweaver, they call it "cloaking" a file or folder. A cloaked file or folder will not be included in the synchronization process. This is really important to me because my IDE, NetBeans, creates subdirectories all over the place, and I don't want them uploaded to the server. But it was a really good recommendation, Kimputer, I think it will be great for backing up files if my goal was to backup all files/folders indiscriminately.

To Joe, do you know if SyncBackPro allows "cloaking" of files and folders? You said you've used it for years, and as I was perusing through their web site, I could not find anything in their features list that even mentions this capability. I thought I'd ask you first. Thanks.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Yes, SyncBack allows what you want, although they don't call it "cloaking". In fact, it allows it in two different ways. First, you can select/deselect specific folders and/or files to sync:

SyncBack select-deselect folders-files
When you expand the folders by clicking the plus sign, you can get down to individual files for selecting/deselecting.

Second, you can include/exclude by "filtering":

SyncBack filters
I use both of these techniques all the time (in fact, both screenshots are from my actual SyncBack backup profiles). Regards, Joe
elepilAuthor Commented:
Joe, thank you for responding.

I did read about the filtering. But regarding the selection/deselection of files, will the software remember it on the next synchronization process? Or will I have to keep repeating this toggling process every single time I synchronize? Thanks.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> will the software remember it on the next synchronization process?

Yes, it remembers it. You create what SyncBack calls a "Profile". It is, essentially, a backup job that contains the source and destination locations, the folders/files selected, the filters, and the schedule (when to run it, integrated with the Windows Task Scheduler — and, of course, you may run a Profile manually). It remembers the Profiles forever. You may, of course, modify or delete a Profile. Here's what the toolbar looks like:

SyncBack Profile toolbar
You may have an unlimited number of Profiles (I just checked two of my machines — one has 13 Profiles, the other has 16). Regards, Joe
elepilAuthor Commented:
Joe, I'm really loving SyncBack! It's very intuitive, and I have to say a very well thought out software!

But if I may ask you another question? I am using SyncBack now, is there a way to specify multiple destinations for a backup? For example, I have a directory called D:\PDFFiles, and I want to back it up to K:\PDFFiles and L:\PDFFiles. I know I can create two separate profiles, but is there a way to just create one profile so that my C\PDFFiles directory gets backed up to both the K: and L: drives when one single profile is run?

Thanks for your great recommendation, it really is an amazing software! I love how it gives me the options to Backup, Synchronize, and Mirror! Can't ask for anything better. :)
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
I'm glad you're liking it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I would not be without it. I use all three methods in various Profiles — Backup, Mirror, Smart Sync. Make sure you take a look at "Versioning" in the Copy/Delete section, which has saved me more times than I can count. Oh, I should have mentioned to click the "Click For Options" button and select Expert (instead of the default Easy) — that's where a lot of the good stuff is.

However, for all of its great features, it cannot backup to multiple destinations in a single Profile. That's one of the reasons I have more than a dozen Profiles on several machines (like you, I want my critical data backed up to more than one place). One trick that makes it easier is Profiles>Copy. That creates a copy of a Profile and prompts you for a different name. Then you simply edit the new Profile and change the destination. I usually offset them schedule-wise, e.g., two of my Profiles run all day backing up the same data — one runs every hour on the hour, the other runs every hour on the half-hour. Regards, Joe
elepilAuthor Commented:
Joe, I just found a way to backup to multiple destinations. It has a neat feature of creating a group profile! So I created two separate profiles, one to backup to K: and one to L:. Then I made a group profile and added both profiles into it. :) The first time you run it, it will display the verification pane, once for each sub profile. But when you see the "Continue Run" button, there is a down arrow icon which comes up with a  menu popup menu that gives you the option not to show the verification panes anymore so it will run consecutively and seamlessly :)

I backup my files using Ant, a Java script utility, and I will still use it because it's faster for me to type a brief command-line filename to backup entire directories to as many destinations as I want. But creating such a script takes time. I will much rather use SyncBack when I'm backing up selected directories and selected files within it, as it would be so much faster to setup.

It is an awesome software, Joe, thanks again for your great recommendation! I just hope it is compatible with Windows 10, because my computers will get the free upgrade from Microsoft at the end of this month.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Thanks for mentioning the group profile feature and explaining how it works. I've noticed the feature before but have never used it. Very cool!

I've been using SyncBack since W2k and then XP, Vista, W7, W8, and W8.1. I'm confident it will work on W10. Regards, Joe
elepilAuthor Commented:
Wow! SyncBack has been around that long? Hmm... you'd think it would've been fully debugged by now. I just found a bug on its display. When I run my group profile, the display does not show the files:

But the backup does work, and that's what matters.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> fully debugged

No such thing with any software! :)

I've seen that only on skipped files. But if you hover the mouse over the empty source field, it shows you the file name; and, of course, the file name is on the right (in the destination field), which is the same file name since it is a skipped file. But I think it should still show it in the source field. Funny thing is that it shows some but not others. Here's a KB article discussing it

However, I set all the options recommended in the KB article and still have the problem. Regards, Joe
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