Sync folder(s) with Syncthing

Syncthing foldersync freesync sync

What is Syncthing (freesync)

Syncthing is a remarkable free open-source software designed to synchronize folders and files. It can be aptly described as a tool for “freesync” or “foldersync” due to its cost-free nature. However, it’s important to note that Syncthing should not be mistaken for a backup software or imaging tool used to create an exact replica of your computer.

It’s an alternative to cloud service like OneNote, Google Drive or Dropbox. A tool to use for your private cloud

Syncthing runs on various platforms like Linux, Windows, NAS, and MAC and is very easy to install. There are utilities for Windows and MAC available which run in the Windows system tray or the MAC menu bar. Configuration is done in the browser WebGUI.

Syncthing Dashboard

How to install Syncthing

I will explain the installation for the Windows platform using screenshots from Windows 10, but the interface looks the same on any platform.

To install Syncthing on a Synology NAS you need to add the community http://packages.synocommunity.com as a package source.


Download the 64bit from here. It’s just a zip file. Then extract it to a folder. I use C:\Syncthing, but of course, you could name the folder with a name you prefer.  Double-click the syncthing.exe and the command windows will open shortly in your default browser with URL address 127.0.0.1:8384. Syncthing runs with port 8384.

I first go to the “Actions” menu, choose Settings, and verify under the GENERAL tab, the “Device Name”. This would be your computer’s name.


Specify username and password for the WebGUI. Go to the GUI tab, “GUI Authentication User” and “GUI Authentication Password”. I usually only change these two settings.

Sycnthing freesync tool foldersync
Syncthing – main screen

For Windows 10, there is also a tool called “Syncthing Windows Setup” available. It’s a Windows installer that can be set to run automatically when Windows starts. The interface looks exactly like the WebGUI above, wrapped in a Windows window. 

Syncthing Windows Setup is recommended only for Windows desktops, not for Windows Server because when logged out, it won’t run in the background (more on later). For MAC, another app as a dmg installer, is available. They are very cool and, more important, do their job well.

How to connect to remote device

It’s very easy; just click “add Remote Device”. in the section “Remote Devices”.

Sycnthing freesync tool foldersync
Add a new device

After a few moments you will get a prompt on the remote computer.

If the remote computer is located on the same network and Syncthing is running, you will see the device ID inline in the text (not shown in the above screenshot). Otherwise, enter the device ID in the field. How do I find the device ID? Go to the “Actions” menu in the WebGUI and click “Show ID.”

Sycnthing freesync tool foldersync
New deivce

Click “Add Device” and the computer will be shown in the Remote Devices section. Now both computers are connected and we are ready to setup folder(s) to sync.

How to add a foldersync

A Default Folder is predefined in Folders section (see first screenshot) . I usually delete it and create a new folder.

Click “+add Folder” (see my first screenshot)

Tab, General

The “Folder Path” field is very important. It must match with the path name in your file system. In this screenshot it is for the Windows file system. In Linux it would be a path like “/home/filesync”. For the fields “Folder Label” and “Folder ID” you can choose a name. I use the same description for both fields.

Syncthing general
Add Folder – General tab

 

Tab, Sharing

Syncthing sharing

Here you see all connected devices that have been added to the Remote Devices section. For example: you could sync the folder with more than one device.

This is actually what makes Syncthing so cool. A possible scenario could be a Windows Server in the cloud, an iMac at home and a laptop for traveling. Folders(s) can be synced with all devices. A document created on the laptop while not connected with the internet, will be synced automatically the next time the laptop connects to the internet.

Tab, File Versioning

Syncthing fileversions

Select the mode of File Versioning. Generally I use File Versioning. Set a number for  “Keep Versions”. It’s possible to use Versioning on one device only. In our scenario we would use it only for the Windows Server in the cloud.

Tab, Ignore Patterns

Syncthing ignorepatterns
Syncthing ignore patterns

Enter patterns to exclude sub-folder(s) or file(s). You can also exclude file extensions. Please see the docs with examples It’s a very powerful feature.

Last Tab, Advanced

Sycnthing freesync fodersync
Tab Advanced

There are a few powerful settings that could be made here. In Folder Type, specify sync directions, whether both ways, or only send or only receive

Click “save,” and it’s done, It’s possible to add even more folders when you wish.

Conclusion

It is important to note that Syncthing requires continuous memory operation to maintain syncing functionality. Synctrayzor (as mentioned earlier) can be configured to automatically launch upon Windows startup, with the same capability available for the MAC version to streamline this process.

Syncthing excels in its performance as a highly effective tool for folder synchronization.

I would love to get some feedback from you. Was this article helpful? Please share your opinion with me in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated.

Before you go …

After exploring the nuances of Syncthing, FolderSync, and FreeSync in the current article, you might find it insightful to check out the review of Synology BeeDrive. This review offers a unique perspective on how BeeDrive stands out in file synchronization and cloud services. It’s an excellent follow-up for those interested in comparing different solutions and understanding how BeeDrive can fit into your digital ecosystem, particularly if you’re considering alternatives to mainstream sync solutions

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