Presynaptic homeostatic plasticity (PHP) is an evolutionarily conserved form of adaptive neuromodulation and is observed at both central and peripheral synapses. In this work, we make several fundamental advances by interrogating the synapse specificity of PHP. We define how PHP remains robust to acute versus long-term neurotransmitter receptor perturbation. We describe a general PHP property that includes global induction and synapse-specific expression mechanisms. Finally, we detail a novel synapse-specific PHP expression mechanism that enables the conversion from short- to long-term PHP expression. If our data can be extended to other systems, including the mammalian central nervous system, they suggest that PHP can be broadly induced and expressed to sustain the function of complex neural circuitry.