Anki 2.1.57+ includes a built-in sync server. Advanced users who cannot or do not wish to use AnkiWeb can use this sync server instead of AnkiWeb.
Things to be aware of:
- This is an advanced feature, targeted at users who are comfortable with networking and the command line. If you use this, the expectation is you can resolve any setup/network/firewall issues you run into yourself, and use of this is entirely at your own risk.
- Newer clients may depend on changes to the sync protocol, so syncing may stop working if you update your Anki clients without also updating the server.
- Third-party sync servers also exist. No testing is done against them, and they tend to take time to catch up when the sync protocol changes, so they are not recommended.
- The messages inside Anki will use the term 'AnkiWeb' even if a custom server has been configured, (eg "Cannot connect to AnkiWeb" when your server is down).
On Windows in a cmd.exe session:
set SYNC_USER1=user:pass "\program files\anki\anki-console.exe" --syncserver
Or MacOS, in Terminal.app:
SYNC_USER1=user:pass /Applications/Anki.app/Contents/MacOS/anki --syncserver
SYNC_USER1=user:pass anki --syncserver
You can run the server without installing the GUI portion of Anki provided you have a copy of Python3.9+ installed.
python3 -m venv ~/syncserver ~/syncserver/bin/pip install anki SYNC_USER1=user:pass ~/syncserver/bin/python -m anki.syncserver
SYNC_USER1 declares the first user and password, and must be set. You can optionally declare SYNC_USER2, SYNC_USER3 and so on, if you wish to set up multiple accounts.
The server needs to store a copy of your collection and media in a folder.
By default it is ~/.syncserver; you can change this by defining
SYNC_BASE environmental variable. This must not be the same
location as your normal Anki data folder, as the server and client
must store separate copies.
The server listens on an unencrypted HTTP connection, so it's not a good idea to expose it directly to the internet. You'll want to either restrict usage to your local network, or place some form of encryption in front of the server, such as a VPN (Tailscale is apparently easy), or a HTTPS reverse proxy.
You can define
SYNC_PORT to change the host and port
that the server binds to.
You'll need to determine your computer's network IP address, and then
point each of your Anki clients to the address, eg something like
http://192.168.1.200:8080/. The URL can be configured in the preferences.
Older desktop clients required you to define SYNC_ENDPOINT and SYNC_ENDPOINT_MEDIA.
If using an older client, you'd put it as e.g.
http://192.168.1.200:8080/msync/ respectively. AnkiDroid also currently
requires separate configuration for the two endpoints.
The standard AnkiWeb limit on uploads is applied by default. You can optionally set MAX_SYNC_PAYLOAD_MEGS to something greater than 100 if you wish to increase the limit. Bear in mind that if you're using a reverse proxy, you may need to adjust the limit there as well.
Because this server is bundled with Anki, simplicity is a design goal - it is targeted at individual/family use, and PRs that add things like a REST API or external databases are unlikely to be accepted at this time. If in doubt, please reach out before starting work on a PR.
If you're looking for an existing API solution, the AnkiConnect add-on may meet your needs.