Roll Your own Dropbox

By hackengineer

Need more dropbox space but dont want to pay $20 per month? Dont like the idea of all your files out in the “cloud”? Dont want to pay for a fancy filesync program? Or better yet, need an excuse to brush up on your bash programming abilities? Well then roll your own dropbox!

Ill walk you through the steps on how to setup your sftp server and automate a bi-directional folder sync with some bash scripts. I had fun with the project but may need to add some features in the future. Here are the pros and cons


  • Sync as much data as you can fit in your computer!
  • Free!
  • Custom sync options powered by rsync


  • Must delete files in terminal (no GUI)
  • Still in beta
  • Need to add ability to move/rename (for now you must copy and delete)

I learned quit a bit the past week setting this up.  Here are all the steps needed to get this done:

  1. High level overview
  2. DDNS, Port Forwarding and SSH Auto Authentication
  3. Codeing a Dropbox with Bash
  4. Download, setup and automate with a cronjob

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  1. Tony says:

    I like the way you think! This is a nice project, especially back in 2012. I work at odrive, and I fought hard to implement the ability to link to SFTP (which we just released). SSH is so prolific that it is just begging to be capitalized on more. With odrive we’ve overlaid our sync engine on top of SFTP, which allows you to roll your own Dropbox almost instantly.

    Here is a short post I wrote on the subject. I figured you might find this solution interesting: