How to Sync Files With FileZilla

By Erica Leigh

FileZilla's FTP capabilities allow you to copy files back and forth between directories on different computers. With features that prevent you from accidentally overwriting newer files, you can safely sync directories and maintain the most updated versions on both computers.

Site Setup

Click "File" and then click "Site Manager" from the drop-down menu. From the window that appears, click "New Site" to create a new FTP site or open an existing FTP site by double-clicking it. If creating a new FTP site, enter the host, port, logon type, and username and password if required, then click "OK." If you have a matching set of directories on the local and remote computer, you can enable synchronized browsing to navigate the local and remote computers simultaneously. To enable synchronized browsing, click the "Advanced" tab on the Site Manager window, ensure that the local and remote directory addresses are the same, and click the "Use synchronized browsing" check box.

Changing Directories

In FileZilla, your computer folders are displayed on the left, below the label "Local site." The remote computer to which you are connecting has its folders displayed on the right side of the window, under "Remote site." Use FileZilla's navigation on each side of the window to open the directories on the local and remote computers containing the files you want to sync.

Transferring Files

Select the file or files to transfer and drag them to the other side of the file list. FileZilla will queue the files in the list at the bottom of the window and then begin the transfer. If one or more files from the source folder have identical names to files in the destination folder, FileZilla displays the Target File Already Exists window for the first identically named file, and gives you several options for handling the file transfer.

Common File Synchronization Options

Choose the "Overwrite" radio button to replace the file in the destination folder with the source file. Click "Overwrite if source newer" to replace the file in the destination folder only if it is older than the source file. Select "Overwrite if different size" to replace the file only if the source file is a different size. Choose "Skip" to cancel copying this file to the destination folder. To take the same action for all files you're copying, click the "Always use this action" and "Apply to this queue only" check boxes. Click "OK" to continue. If you didn't click "Always use this action," then the "Target file already exists" window will be displayed for each duplicate file name.

Other File Synchronization Options

The "Resume" option is rarely used; it copies the rest of a file to the destination folder when the full file was not uploaded before. "Rename" copies the source file to the destination folder and gives it a new name. It does not change the file name of the source file. "Overwrite if different size or source newer" overwrites the file if it meets either of those two conditions.