Using Syncthing for Photographer Backup

I am trying out Syncthing to see if it will work as a solution for my problem. I am a photographer and work on large files on a Macbook. I do not have enough space on my Macbook to keep all my files local. I would like to have another computer to backup all my files to. I will keep all the recent files that I am working with on my macbook, but I would like to be able to delete the older files off the macbook but keep them on my other computer as an archive. I’ve been messing with the settings on Syncthing and I’m trying to find out how to set this up.

I need to be able to backup all my files on my Macbook and also be able to delete the older files to save space on my Macbook. I just want to delete these files off the macbook though. They still need to be backed up somewhere else. I need to be able to easily access these archived files if I need to.

First off: Syncthing syncs your files. It’s no backup. If a file gets damaged or corrupted, the file on the other machine(s) will too.

Now to your problem:

You can either set the ignore delete advanced setting (in “Actions” -> “Advanced”, not the advanced settings section inside the folder dialog) on your other device, so if you delete on you MacBook, the file will stay on the other device.


Enable versioning on the other device. The simplest being trashcan, which will move a file to the folder .stversion when it is deleted on your MacBook. Changes to files will not be versioned in this case. For that, use one of the other versioning options.

Yeah, maybe it’s not the best solution for what I am looking to do. The computer I am backing up to would be an unRaid server with parity, so it has protection against data loss. But like you said there might not be protection against data corruption since everything is synced. What if I put the Macbook in Send Only Mode so that the server only receives files? I saw the ignore delete option and the only problem I had with that was if I moved a file on the macbook into a folder the server would maintain the original file as well as the file in the folder. I guess because when you do a move it looks like it was deleted from the original location.

I might be over complicating things. I was just trying to find a way to automate this process. It may be simpler for me to just create a network share and then move over my files to that share when I want to archive them. I could just use time machine to backup local files.

Moving files will always be an add and remove, but as all blocks inside the new file are the same as in the deleted one, syncthing on the receiving side knows that it can move the file as well. I never used IgnoreDeletes myself, so I didn’t know how it handles moves/renames.

Did you try trashcan versioning?

If you set the MacBox to send-only, and enable versioning (not trashcan) on you unRaid device, you can have a revisioning system, which could be enough “backup”, as you can have multiple versions of the files (if you have enough space there). I don’t know how moves are handled by versioning either ;).

As a photographer (amateur) with a similar workflow, and being familiar with Syncthing, I think you would probably be over complicating your life to make this fit. A regular file share of some sort will be simpler.

Syncthing can be a fine way to make sure you have a second copy of things somewhere else, combined with other measures to make sure deletes don’t propagate catastrophically. That is, server to some other server. But it’s all a bit painful when you don’t really want the two sides to be identical to begin with.

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I also do amateur photography and have the pretty much the same requirements for my laptop and homeserver. What I do is to have two directories, a work and an archive one. The work dir is synced with Syncthing between the laptop and the homeserver and the archive folder only exists on the homeserver. Everything is backed up from the homeserver, so nothing is ever lost. When I don’t need something on my laptop anymore, I move it from the work directory to the archive directory.

If you are running the unRAID OS you would be better of having a Samba share and put them directly from your macbook to the network share as @calmh already suggested. Syncthing doesn’t know push files and local remove feature.

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