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Angel Paunchev

Passive backup in the cloud

For a long time I have been looking for a workflow that would enable me to:

  1. Have a fresh backup of my project files at all times
  2. Be able to interact with this backup on any machine I use
  3. Not include unnecessary and potentially large directories such as node_modules, build, .next, etc.

1 and 2 are simple; Dropbox (or any other cloud storage service) allows that easily. 3 is where things get tricky.

(No, git is not what I need. Version control ≠ passive backup.)

Dropbox

Dropbox has a selective sync feature which technically does the job of excluding unwanted directories, but I’d need to manually toggle it for each one.

There are workarounds such as using a file synchronization tool (FreeFileSync) that constantly monitors for changes and copies files from the local system to a cloud storage. I found it clunky and error-prone when making changes to the same file quickly. (If you are interested in trying this method anyway, check out the article where I got the idea.)

pCloud

Finally, I discovered pCloud. It is a Dropbox competitor and a yet-another-subscription-service, but: it is quick, reliable, and most importantly – has a feature to sync a local folder with the cloud while ignoring specific file/directory patterns.

pCloud’s interface to ignore patterns
pCloud’s interface to ignore patterns

Workflow

My workflow now is:

  1. Work in a local directory on my main machine
  2. Have pCloud sync that local directory with the cloud
  3. On another machine, have access to the same directory via pCloud

Conclusion

This workflow relies on an external service that might go away at some point. There may be other issues with it that I have not discovered yet. And it likely is not a secure way to hold sensitive data. But I’m not using it for sensitive data, and more than anything I just need convenience and reliability. So far it seems to get the job done.