Allow users to host their own sync server
Reported by kerrick....@gmail.com, Mar 10 2013
UserAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/24.0.1312.56 Safari/537.17 Steps to reproduce the problem: 1. Open chrome://settings/syncSetup 2. Be baffled at the lack of a custom server option What is the expected behavior? At chrome://settings/syncSetup there should be an option to use Google's sync server, or to use a custom sync server address. This could be pointed to the user's own sync server (running the open sourced Chromium sync software) so they can own their data and control their privacy. What went wrong? There is no option to sync to any server besides Google's server. Did this work before? No Chrome version: 24.0.1312.56 Channel: n/a OS Version: elementary OS 0.2 Mozilla Firefox allows syncing to a custom server: http://docs.services.mozilla.com/howtos/run-sync.html
Mar 10 2013,
Mar 11 2013,
You can use the command line flag --sync-url="<your server here>" if you want to sync against your own server. The chromium repository has a python server written as an example of the protocol (chromiumsync.py). That said, there are no plans to expose this via the sync setup page.
Mar 11 2013,
It would be cool to make this plans.
Mar 11 2013,
How about Chrome for Android, Chrome for iOS, and ChromeOS? Is there a way to set all of those up to sync with a custom server as well?
Jun 10 2013,
It is strange that a software that is said to be "open-source" does not allow this kind of customization and fully relies on Google's proprietary hosted servers. And like highlighted, the command line option isn't a valid response for mobile devices. Currently that's the main reason why I don't plan to move to Chrome. Given that other browsers provide this feature, adding the point to the roadmap, even if in a future milestone, would be a more satisfactory reply.
Jun 14 2013,
I understand why Google would not want a feature like this to exist in the official Google Chrome browser. However, I see no reason why it shouldn't exist in Chromium. It makes a lot of sense for many users, providing an additional layer of security to users data. Also, as Kerrick said - Is there a way to set the sync-url in the module app?
Jun 24 2013,
Hey, this could be a good job for my raspberry (to sync all browser settings). But I don't known how to set up the server correctly. =( Could anyone help me?
Sep 22 2013,
Chrome is the fastest browser on Android, and probably the best in other ways. In fact, for me, it is the only browser that performs well enough to play most HTML5 videos. It provides the most pleasing browsing experience, from what I have seen, to the point that there is almost no alternative. I would easily choose it over Firefox, but it is impractical to go without my stuff synchronized. I set up my own Firefox Sync server because I do not need a third party to host my personal information. Chromium is fully capable of supporting this, but it is marked WontFix? Explain. Is Chromium free software or not?
Sep 23 2013,
See http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/run-chromium-with-flags for how to set flags on Android. You can also set a sync passphrase in Advanced Sync Settings. This will encrypt your data client-side using the passphrase you provided, and host it on Google servers in that encrypted state. You will need to enter your passphrase on every device you use, where the client will use it to decrypt the blobs from the server.
Sep 25 2013,
rpop, thanks for your reply. This is helpful information. I believe, though, that entering command-line flags in such a fashion on Android - or even having to enter them at all, on any OS - in order to get access to this feature is unreasonable, and as such the option may as well not exist. It needs an interface. zea, please undo the marking of WontFix, or offer an explanation. Chromium should not rely on any single specific organization in order for a feature to function, especially if the feature involves user data, whether or not client-side encryption is involved. Allowing alternatives inspires more confidence in Google's ability to control its hunger for user data (in any form), even though the majority of people will not even use or consider the alternatives. It could also take a small load off of Google's servers. It really is a win-win. On another note, there is no documentation whatsoever on how to use chromiumsync.py. If there is, it's well-hidden. That may be considered another issue, though. If people were actually able to specify anything other than Google's sync server (in a manner fit for the 21st century), I suspect information would start showing up.
Jan 15 2016,
I'm pretty baffled that nearly 3 years later, *still* the only way to sync (both Chromium and Chrome) is by using Google's servers. As someone who actually cares about his privacy, while I hate to leave Chrome for Firefox, I don't see that there's much choice... I don't suppose this was ever pursued as another/separate issue somewhere...?
Jan 16 2016,
Chromium may be open-source, but that doesn't mean it is totally community-driven. This is Google's baby. There are forks and alternatives. Contrary to my comments more than two years ago, Chrome is no longer the best or even the fastest browser on Android. Instead, it has positioned itself as one of the most basic, continuing to lack any kind of extension support or many advanced features, and replacing the built-in Browser. Allowing this customization seems to be beyond its scope, so I don't use it at all and am no longer concerned about this issue. I would suggest using a different browser on all platforms if you care about sync to Android at all, since it seems that Chrome on Android is meant for simple use cases only. This is unfortunate if you use a Chromebook, though.
Jan 16 2016,
I'm actually most interested in just syncing between Windows clients, but wasn't even able to get that working. I setup & ran the syncserver (from https://github.com/valurhrafn/chrome-sync-server/blob/master/README.md), and launched Chrome with --sync-url. Although chrome://sync-internals *did* show the correct URL, status remained "uninitialized" and I couldn't get it to actually sync anything. The server logs never showed any kind of incoming connection attempt, etc. I realize of course that there are other browser options out there, but many of the extensions I use are only available for Chrome and Firefox. And I do generally find Chrome to be quite a bit stabler & quicker...but...this "sync to our servers or not at all" thing is just...kind of ridiculous :(
Feb 6 2016,
There's a SuperUser answer  that suggests running a python script from Google's repos as the server and pointing Chrome(ium) at it, but without any instructions as to set-up, I haven't been able to get it running yet. : http://superuser.com/questions/614744/how-to-set-up-a-own-chrome-sync-server : https://code.google.com/p/chromium/codesearch#chromium/src/sync/tools/testserver/chromiumsync.py
Feb 6 2016,
If you do, PLEASE do share. I spent half a day messing with it, and gave up... :(
Oct 29 2016,
Could you consider adding such an option in an advanced configuration page such as chrome://sync-internals/ or an equivalent to Firefox's about:config page? This would make this parameter non-volatile and actually set-able on mobile platforms, while not displayed to (and thus not confusing) "regular" users.
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