SyncBack Touch as an alternative to FTP

Author: Michael J. Leaver, 2BrightSparks Pte. Ltd.

Since the beginning SyncBack has been able to backup to FTP servers. SyncBackPro supports FTP, FTPS and SFTP and also supports many of the advanced features in the FTP protocol. FTP is an old standard that was first established in 1971. Since then there have been many changes to the standard which has led to numerous problems. Because there are so many versions of the protocol, and so many extensions to it, not all FTP servers are the same. This fragmentation leads to compatibility problems which will be far too familiar to most FTP users.

SyncBack Touch has none of the compatibility problems of FTP. It was designed from the beginning to be extensible and 100% compatible with SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE. 2BrightSparks has many years of experience with FTP and its problems and faults. That experience was put to good use when creating SyncBack Touch.

Advantages of Touch over FTP

- It can copy open or locked files if running on Windows. For example, you can copy your Outlook PST file from the remote Windows computer running SyncBack Touch, even while Outlook is running on that computer. This is not possible using conventional FTP.

- With SyncBackPro/SE V9 and newer, network delta-copy can be used. This means SyncBack and Touch will only transmit file changes over the network, and not the entire file.

- As there are myriads of FTP servers available, incompatibilities or improper implementations can cause problems to SyncBack when trying to work with them. A typical problem is trying to get the correct directory listing and the corresponding timestamps. SyncBack Touch solves this problem by providing the exact information that SyncBack expects via an application specific interface.

- Many FTP servers are not Unicode enabled, meaning they have problems with non-English filenames. SyncBack Touch is Unicode enabled and has no problems with filenames in any language.

- There are no file size limits. SyncBack Touch can cope with files of any size. The only limitations are the underlying file system and operating system restrictions.

- There are no limits on filename lengths. Many FTP servers limit filename lengths to 260 characters. SyncBack Touch can cope with filenames of any length. The only limitations are the underlying file system and operating system limits.

- Time zones are not an issue. Many FTP servers report the wrong file dates and times because of time zone differences. With SyncBack Touch this is never an issue.

- Touch can get and set Windows file attributes and also get and set NTFS security.

- You can use variables in filenames with Touch, meaning that Touch itself expands the variable. For example, in your SyncBack profile you set the path to use with Touch to %SBT_DESKTOP% and Touch will know that refers to the desktop folder.

- It is very simple to configure without having complex networking requirements as it requires only a single listening port. FTP has passive and active modes which require complex configurations of firewalls. Having the wrong mode can also cause issues, e.g. you can connect to the FTP server but cannot download or upload files. SyncBack Touch uses a single TCP port for all communication and so has none of those complexities.

- You have nothing to configure or corrupt as it has no user interface and is transparent to the user. SyncBack Touch, on Windows, is completely invisible to the user as it runs as a service in the background. It has no user interface.

- SyncBack can find SyncBack Touch devices on your local network so you don’t even need to know the hostname or IP address of the device running SyncBack Touch.

- All communication between SyncBack and SyncBack Touch is encrypted. With FTP you have to specifically enable encryption.

- When Touch is installed on Windows, it can access all the files without access rights problems when run under Windows. No more access denied errors.

- SyncBack can access all the drives on a SyncBack Touch device by using just one profile as SyncBack Touch has a virtual file-system.

- SyncBack can start executing a profile the moment a device running SyncBack Touch connects to your local network.

- With SyncBackPro/SE V10 (or newer) you can configure SyncBack Touch to detect ransomware.


SyncBack Touch provides a simple and convenient way to access files on a remote device either over a local network or the Internet. Unlike FTP it has none of the complexities of configuration or associated issues of compatibility.

SyncBackPro/SE V10 (and newer) users can use SyncBack Touch for free, so there is no excuse not to give it a try and discover the advantages of using SyncBack Touch.

Noted Customers

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