Best practice for database location

I have a handful of DevonThink 3 Pro databases covering personal and business information. Thus far, the total size is just over 1 GB. This is likely to expand to several GB over the coming months. Almost all the documents are either PDFs, text files, or HTML files. I don’t intend to keep media-heavy files in DT.

I principally use DT on iMac, have a MacBook to hand (on which DT is not currently installed), and an iPhone and iPad - on which I have just installed the latest version of DevonThink To Go (3.2.2).

I have Dropbox (1.3 TB available) and iCloud (1.7 TB available). Given that I use DT almost exclusively at my home office, with one reasonably fast WiFi network (70 Mbps download, 17 Mbps upload), what would be the easiest and best place to put all my DT databases so that:

a) they are backed up automatically (I don’t especially want to get into using ChronoSync or Sugar Sync on any kind of regular basis).
b) I have the maximum flexibility using DT potentially across the 2 Macs, and back and forth with DTTG.

Thank you in advance for your advice.

First, best to ensure you have a cursory glance at the DEVONthink handbook about where to put databases and explanation of synching.

Put all your databases on your local machine. I put in ~\DEVONthink folder.

if you want the same databases on macbook, then install DEVONthink (license allows it on 2 machines), and use sync to keep the databases in sync. See the DEVONthink Handbook for how to setup and use sync. There are a number of ways. I use Bonjour, Dropbox, Synology NAS WebDAV, and CloudKit. (I have so many just to prove to myself they all work to say so here!)

Do not consider sync as backup. It’s only for syncing.

For backup, implement a 321 Backup System. Google for what that means. I use Timemachine to backup to connected USB and a Synology NAS. I also backup remote to Backblaze. Chronosync and Sugar sync are really for syncing and not backup, but can be configured to backup if you want–but wisely you don’t want. Use TimeMachine. It’s automatic.

(If you rely on a sync method for backup, then if/when the synched backup becomes corrupt/deleted/whatever and (probably) you don’t notice, then on next sync after that event, poof, your so-called backup is gone.


Thank you, @rmschne, for your very helpful reply.

Inspired by it, I’ve set up iCloud (Cloudkit) and Sync Store on my iMac, and have added all my DT databases to each of them; I found the DT handbook a little confusing because it was not clear to me which option was best, or whether I should choose only one option. So, I chose both!

I have managed to get a DT document from the iMac to my iPad & iPhone DTTG. It looks like each document needs to be downloaded, if not downloading entire databases onto each device (something I don’t want to do).

On my laptop, I can see the option to download the databases onto its DevonThink. I’m not quite clear what happens in the scenarios that:
a) I create a document on the laptop version of DT - does that get synced automatically to the iMac?
b) new documents are added into the iMac DT - are these synced automatically into the laptop?

I also set up Time Machine again, onto an external drive. Time Machine has been dormant since my Time Capsule broke, therefore felt good to have that in place again! I will probably take out a Backblaze account again, also. And…maybe check out Synology NAS, which looks like the expensive but pro solution.

Re “sync store” have no experience with Local Sync Stores. I use Bonjour which is both fast and reliable. Requires the devices to be on the same local network (as I presume the Local Sync Store Does).

There is no “best”. Just different features and for some one works better than others. Dunno why. Ask the third party service providers. Using a third party service provider across an Internet connection means you can sync when, say, in a coffee shop. To me that’s not very important as I know I can do my stuff in the coffee shop, and then returning to my Global HQ, all will sync up. There is nobody using my machines at Global HQ when I’m away, so no point to have real time sync.

Please do not think of having your databases in these sync locations, as inferred by what you write. These are only special files on the sync locations that only DEVONthink than use to facilitate synching. Using words like “downloaded” suggests still you are thinking of it incorrectly.

Yes, you have to have databases totally installed on each device that you wish to use DEVONthink and you wish to sync.

Only sync if you need to sync.

Yes, once synching is setup correctly on any device, synching is pretty much automatic as long as the network and the other device you are synching with is available and working. You can also force a sync should you want. Idea: Try it–do what you ask and see what happens! You don’t have to ask us!

Good on you setting up Timemachine and maybe Backblaze. Only get a Synology NAS if you have a compelling need to have it. And frankly, I think that anyone using a NAS should have some basic Unix/Linux/MacOSX system admin skills/knowledge.


Also, with multiple sync services, I have a recollection that @bluefrog recommends not using two methods on a single database. So I avoid that–but sometimes when I didn’t avoid it I notice Bonjour works so fast the other method has no work to do.

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Thank you!
On the latter point, I’ve already removed the Cloudkit and left only the Bonjour local network enabled since my use case mirrors yours (home sync only).
Point taken also about my misunderstanding of what was occurring in the sync! I think I may be living proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! :slight_smile:
Thank you again for your very kind advice. It’s been long overdue for me to get my data sorted out, backed up and synced!

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Bonjour actually has two requirements
1 Both devices are on the same network
2 Both devices powered on, and running Devonthink
Which is why I use iCoud sync

My Mac Mini is always on,
but despite best intentions, I often leave home without syncing the iPad
ICloud sync allows me to sync remotely

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Again you are quite correct. Of course. For me when I sync while at Global HQ both machines are usually at my desk, turned on, and on network. or the local WebDAV does a sync even if all targets not on the network. when not syncing I simply do not worry about it and sync catches up eventually. that is just me.

yes, if real time syncing across the Internet is needed then one must use the third party sync service or a link back servers on the users local network. the latter requires networking expertise to ensure security.

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