Make Your Own DropBox Server

Posted on June 6, 2013
Filed Under Backups | 1 Comment

Omni released their eagerly awaited OmniPresence today. It lets you effectively have a DropBox like service using either your own server via WebDav or their server. A DropBox like app is available for the Mac which installs a menuling much like DropBox or Google Drive do. All the Omni apps now have versions that will read documents out of your OmniPresence folder. Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly they do not yet have a DropBox like app for iOS. I’m hoping that is something just awaiting approval on the app store.

I installed the service after creating a WebDav folder on my server. The only hiccup I ran into was that when Omnipresence rans some tests it failed to connect to my WebDav folder properly despite the Finder mounting it without trouble. It turned out it was due to mod_mime_magic in Apache. Just comment out that line in your https.conf and reload apache and it should work fine.

What I like about Omnipresence is that so long as I have a server with a fixed IP address I can utilize all it’s storage for remote backups or the like. You could always do that via WebDav and the Finder but was frankly a bit of a hassle and lacked the background syncing of DropBox. Of course if you are using it for backup I’d check it regularly. I’d probably do the occasional checksum between your server and sync folder. The easiest way to do that is via rsync.

rsync --archive --dry-run --checksum --verbose -e ssh /source/directory/ user@server:/destination/directory

You could also install cfv via MacPorts and run it on your computer and your server for the directory.

cfv -C -t md5 -rr -f "mychecksum.cfv"

If you have never installed WebDav on your server before it’s worth doing. Just be careful what you put in the directory.

The biggest reason to do this is that if you already have a server it’s just plain cheaper to load up WebDav when you have a few terabytes of space rather than paying for a large account on DropBox. Of course now I have three directories – DropBox, Google Drive, and OmniPresence. I’m clearly not using them all. I only keep Google Docs in Google Drive. DropBox I used for shared data by iOS apps like 1Password along with various PDFs I like to read on iOS. A bit overkill I guess.