Syncing Filezilla Sites across Computers with Dropbox

November 22nd, 2009 by Peter Anselmo Leave a reply »

I often find myself editing websites on several different computers.  One of the more tedious things is keeping all my FTP settings updated across them.  I’d start development on a new site at work, then try to continue from home, only to find I’d forgotten to write down the connection credentials.  Alternately, even if I did have them on hand, entering them for each FTP client is a waste of time.  Dropbox to the rescue!  Here’s how:

1. Find your site manager file
Filezilla keeps all of your sites and access credentials in an XML file called “sitemanager.xml” Here are the most likely locations:
Windows 7 & Vista – C:\Users\Yourname\AppData\Roaming\FileZilla\sitemanager.xml
Mac OS X – /users/Yourname/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml
Linux – /home/Yourname/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml

2. Back it up
Just in case something goes wrong in the next few steps.  Copy the file and name it something else, perhaps “sitemanager.xml.backup”

3. Move sitemanager.xml to Dropbox
I keep a folder in dropbox called “Settings” which I use for program files that I sync.  Place it where it makes sense to you, just remember that location for the next step.  Note, you want to move the file, not copy it.  It cannot still exist in the filezilla folder, or the next step may not work.

4. Make a soft link from Dropbox back to your Filezilla folder
Filezilla will still look in it’s default place for the sitemanger file.  You’re going to trick it and point it to the file you have snyc’d on Dropbox.  You’ll need to open up a Command Prompt (Windows) or a terminal (OS X/Linux) for this step.  This is what the commands looked like for me, you’ll need to adjust the file paths as necessary.  Note, on Windows, you enter the new link first, then the existing target, and on OS X & Linux, it is the opposite order.

Windows:
mklink “C:\Users\peter\AppData\Roaming\FileZilla\sitemanager.xml” “C:\Users\peter\My Dropbox\Settings\sitemanager.xml”

OS X:
ln -s /users/peter/Dropbox/Settings/sitemanager.xml /users/peter/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml

Linux:
ln -s /home/peter/Dropbox/Settings/sitemanager.xml /home/peter/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml

That’s it!  Fire up Filezilla, and you should see the same site settings now on all of your computers.  Note, if you use “Synchronized Browsing”, you’ll need to create separate bookmarks under each site for each computer, as the local path to your files will be different depending on your computer.

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22 comments

  1. Niels says:

    This is a great idea, but any clue how to get this working on Windows XP? (there’s no such command as mklink)

  2. Jared says:

    Absolutely brilliant! I was looking for a “sitemanager.xml” synchronization plug-in, and this fits the bill exactly. Thanks!

  3. Joost Kiens says:

    Great tip, very useful!

    There’s a typo in the Linux instruction though, you probably want to create a soft link to /home/peter/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml

  4. Good Eye! I’ve updated the post, thanks for catching that.

  5. Judy Herilla says:

    You can use junction on XP. (download is quite small) – allows for directory links, junction “C:\Documents and Settings\Judy Protected\My Documents\My Dropbox\config-files\FileZilla” “C:\Documents and Settings\Judy Protected\Application Data\FileZilla”

  6. Ton says:

    Very good, practical how-to that plainly just works. I also use Filezilla because it is cross-platform, so great, thanks.

    Ton

  7. Ben May says:

    Thank you very much. this is exactly what I wanted. Now syncing between my three computers.

    cheers

  8. It works with Notepad++ ftp plugin and freecommander as well.
    Just follow these steps with the config file you find into C:\Users\Yourname\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\plugins\config\NppFTP\NppFTP.xml for notepad++ and C:\Users\Yourname\AppData\Roaming\FreeCommander\FreeCommander.ftp for freecommander.

    Nice trick!

  9. Awesome, this worked really great. And now I can even get the settings file from *any* computer if I need it using the web interface. BTW, if you use Skitch… you can also integrate it with Dropbox.

  10. Absolutely great idea, thank you Peter.

    I’m now using this on my Win7 PC, Ubuntu laptop, and Ubuntu PC (with Win7 running through VMware Player also).

    Great way to keep all those details available across multiple machines.

    Darren.

  11. Eddy says:

    And what about the fzdefaults.xml.
    find it in the doc folder and read instructions.

  12. flippertie says:

    Another approach is to move the filemanager.xml file into your dropbox, then create a convig file “fzdefault.xml” in the FileZilla program folder.

    Works well in XP without the need for Junction
    See http://www.justinmontgomery.com/sync-and-secure-filezilla-with-dropbox

  13. Great post, I was thinking about this actually.
    The other “issue” I would like to address is on how to protect the XML file under some password / encryption using KeepPass, LasPass or whatever.
    FileZilla is great but it stores all passwords in clear text :(

    Thanks!

  14. Peter says:

    Thanx a million for your post. Seems to work fine ;-)

  15. Patrick Pawlowski says:

    Better yet, on Windows just copy your FileZilla folder to dropbox. (Or use FileZillaPortable) and then point you shortcut to the exe there. All your windows computers are set and you don’t even have to install FileZilla on new machines. Then create a link to the settings file on your Macs and you’re all set.

  16. Mike Taus says:

    Worked perfectly… thanks! :)

  17. Jan says:

    Great stuff mate! This helped me a lot! :)

  18. Brian says:

    Nice. Now syncing between and osx machine and a win7 machine. Clear, explicit instructions.
    Thank you.

  19. Just a word of caution that FileZilla stores passwords in plain text so if someone ever compromises your Dropbox account they will have access to your FTP passwords.

    One way to add a bit of security would be to set up a small Truecrypt partition in your dropbox and keep the FileZilla files in there. It’s a bit of a hassle but at least your data will be secured.

  20. Good Point about the passwords. Using a Trucrypt container inside Dropbox is an approach I’m currently using for other files, and I’m a big fan of.

  21. Aaron says:

    Having some trouble with this. While executing these commands from a windows and mac machines, either one of them gets upset and throws “file already exists” because it already exists in the dropbox account.

    Does a symbolic link not work to point to an existing file?

  22. Kaleb Grace says:

    Peter, thank you! I just used this method with Google Drive to sync the sites on my Win 7 desktop with my MacBook Pro. It works perfect and your description is much more clear, concise, and correct than other articles I found online (e.g. flippertie’s link). Thanks again!

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