Using nextcloud to act as a live backup

I’m working with nextcloud to set up automatic syncing to a remote server for the computers in my house.

I have been working through the issue of selectively syncing certain folders, and the idea that the server version of the synced files is the master, thus unselecting a folder for syncing mens it gets deleted locally. unless the folder is specifically ignored.

Of course, most end-users think of this in the reverse - that their system is the master, and that the server backs it up - the server mirrors the “master” client.

So am I wrong in trying to use NextCloud for this? It seems like a major limitation that there’s no way to switch it from server-centric to a client-centric synchronization. After all, I can no longer delete files from my system without going through the web interface… And while I’m at it, I presume I can’t move them, either…?

Here’s a little reading on the sync client-server relationship:

Keep in mind Nextcloud isn’t a backup solution

You can delete from the client but the the folder for selectively syncing itself (only its subfolders).

In general you have one server and connect several clients to it. So choosing the server as master is very easy, wherever the client will be harder to tackle (how do you manage several clients, how can you switch the master-status, …).

How the client works best (and most logic) is if you just use a sync folder on your client side. All files/folders within this sync-folder are synced to the server (you can move and delete file within it, so there you can handle it like it were a master). On another client, you can just sync a sub-selection of these files. Unfortunately, it’s perhaps messing up your current file organization system.

Would be nice to have such a cherry-pick sync, where you define your main data-folder and choose manually what to sync. What happens if you add files via web-interface or on a different client? There are probably some corner cases which need to be solved.

I think the idea of having the client as the “master” is more of a backup mindset. Nextcloud is a file sync solution, not so much a backup solution and in my opinion this thread highlights how those two things are different.
Look at something like Crashplan, where the client pushes everything to the server, and unchecking a folder from “sync” does not remove the local folder. Also the client does not download from the server, it’s a one way local to remote sync. That is a backup system.
Now look at Dropbox, which is not a backup but a sync solution, where files are synced in two directions, having a server (master) and 0 or more clients.
Like I do :wink:, you can kind of use Nextcloud for file backup, but if backup is the primary goal it’s really not the best tool.

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