10 votes

File Syncing Software in 2020

38 comments

  1. [18]
    p4t44
    (edited )
    Link
    Doesn't mention Syncthing. Not self hosted but open source and peer to peer. I use it and of works great. There are also others that meet their requirements and they haven't mentioned, like Box,...

    Doesn't mention Syncthing. Not self hosted but open source and peer to peer. I use it and of works great.

    There are also others that meet their requirements and they haven't mentioned, like Box, Resilio and Mega.

    20 votes
    1. [3]
      Loddfafnir
      Link Parent
      I use syncthing on all my devices and it fits my needs perfectly after a little bit of setup.

      I use syncthing on all my devices and it fits my needs perfectly after a little bit of setup.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        twisterghost
        Link Parent
        I've tried syncthing before but the setup process was extremely painful for me and I never got it working the way I wanted it to. Maybe if I tried a little harder it'd be good but I ended up...

        I've tried syncthing before but the setup process was extremely painful for me and I never got it working the way I wanted it to. Maybe if I tried a little harder it'd be good but I ended up selfhosting nextcloud instead which has been very solid and I love having webdav so I can write integrations and whatnot.

        3 votes
        1. helloworld
          Link Parent
          Setup process can be alien for first time, but its only required once. And it is easy and minimal after that, as it goes. Speaking with couple of years of experience. Hell, I have couple of...

          Setup process can be alien for first time, but its only required once. And it is easy and minimal after that, as it goes. Speaking with couple of years of experience.

          Hell, I have couple of folders shared with friends where we regularly drop stuff for each other. Kinda like digital postbox, all private and p2p. Mostly because setting up and maintaining nextcloud isn't feasible for either of us ATM.

          3 votes
    2. [4]
      tindall
      Link Parent
      I'm very disappointed that Syncthing isn't mentioned. It's been absolutely rock-solid for me; I use it to sync my music between my main desktop (which has 3TB of RAID'ed storage) and my phone and...

      I'm very disappointed that Syncthing isn't mentioned. It's been absolutely rock-solid for me; I use it to sync my music between my main desktop (which has 3TB of RAID'ed storage) and my phone and laptop, as well as keeping my documents in sync between all my computers, and it's been doing its job quietly and well for the better part of 3 years. Setup was quite painless; I installed the software, scanned the QR code on my phone and laptop, added the two folders I wanted to share, and that was that.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        pew
        Link Parent
        I think syncthing does not tick all boxes, it depends on the use case. It's peer to peer without a central server unless you set one up which is running 24/7, but you need to maintain it. It's not...

        I think syncthing does not tick all boxes, it depends on the use case. It's peer to peer without a central server unless you set one up which is running 24/7, but you need to maintain it. It's not a service you can just sign-up for and use on all your devices. There's no syncthing client for mobile unless you build something yourself.

        I really do like syncthing but it's not the it just works experience without doing anything.

        3 votes
        1. AshySlashy
          Link Parent
          There is a syncthing mobile client on android. It does however have trouble syncing folders on external SD cards due to restrictions in newer version of android due to Google not adding...

          There is a syncthing mobile client on android. It does however have trouble syncing folders on external SD cards due to restrictions in newer version of android due to Google not adding DocumentProvider support in Go. I worked around it with the external sd access enabler magisk module though. Works perfectly for syncing my ~100gb music library.

          4 votes
        2. tindall
          Link Parent
          I mentioned that I use Syncthing on my phone - that's with the Android client, which I did not build. It works great.

          I mentioned that I use Syncthing on my phone - that's with the Android client, which I did not build. It works great.

          2 votes
    3. [10]
      knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      Syncthing is cool. I found it incredibly helpful for a game copying system I was trying to do across computers. I would place it firmly in "self-hosted." It's not a server/client, cloud/local...

      Syncthing is cool. I found it incredibly helpful for a game copying system I was trying to do across computers.

      I would place it firmly in "self-hosted." It's not a server/client, cloud/local system as much as converting every device into a droplet, but the initial fiddling may be too much for the "just works" crowd, especially if you consider the lack of an official frontend for it.

      3 votes
      1. [8]
        p4t44
        Link Parent
        The article says it's excluding self-hosted solutions because "I don’t want to do any maintenance work on servers". Syncthing requires no maintenance or fees. The first time setting it up was a...

        The article says it's excluding self-hosted solutions because "I don’t want to do any maintenance work on servers". Syncthing requires no maintenance or fees. The first time setting it up was a bit complex, but since then it has just worked between my phone and computer.

        Lacking an official front end? On Android it has one. On Mac it has an official app (which launches the web frontend) and unofficial apps do the same on other platforms.

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          helloworld
          Link Parent
          For desktop, what it lacks is a convenient "integration" with DEs. Official desktop client is the web interfaces.

          For desktop, what it lacks is a convenient "integration" with DEs. Official desktop client is the web interfaces.

          1. [6]
            tindall
            Link Parent
            And it doesn't lack this anywhere but windows - it's integrated with the Mac OS DE, with GNOME, and with XFCE.

            And it doesn't lack this anywhere but windows - it's integrated with the Mac OS DE, with GNOME, and with XFCE.

            1. [5]
              helloworld
              Link Parent
              Can you please point me to it? I am using KDE and using syncthing-tray. It is very good, with couple of niggles, but I like it. I am not aware of integration with MacOS and Gnome.

              Can you please point me to it? I am using KDE and using syncthing-tray. It is very good, with couple of niggles, but I like it. I am not aware of integration with MacOS and Gnome.

              1. [2]
                tindall
                Link Parent
                I'm not sure what you mean - I apt install --install-recommends'd the syncthing package on my Ubuntu 20.04 system and got a tray icon for it. Same on Mac OS, I installed SyncThing and now I have a...

                I'm not sure what you mean - I apt install --install-recommends'd the syncthing package on my Ubuntu 20.04 system and got a tray icon for it. Same on Mac OS, I installed SyncThing and now I have a tray icon status indicator.

                1 vote
                1. helloworld
                  Link Parent
                  Interesting. Launhpad shows only libc as dependency, is there any way to see what are the recommended packages? I do not have Ubuntu so cannot check. Otherwise I must have missed something in...

                  Interesting. Launhpad shows only libc as dependency, is there any way to see what are the recommended packages? I do not have Ubuntu so cannot check.

                  Otherwise I must have missed something in Syncthing updates.

              2. [2]
                p4t44
                Link Parent
                For mac, there is an official client https://github.com/syncthing/syncthing-macos

                For mac, there is an official client https://github.com/syncthing/syncthing-macos

                1. helloworld
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I'm using NixOS, and install directly via package manager so maybe its a distro thing

                  I'm using NixOS, and install directly via package manager so maybe its a distro thing

      2. helloworld
        Link Parent
        Official frontend is the web view. Which is a bit much for "just works" crowd, agreed. But by god is it nothing short of magic. For years I searched for something that will prefer local network...

        Official frontend is the web view. Which is a bit much for "just works" crowd, agreed. But by god is it nothing short of magic.

        For years I searched for something that will prefer local network for sync whenever available, but will work over internet regardless. With terrible ISPs and tiny mobile data, syncing multi-dozen GB of photos and music and other shit is just not an option. Backups in my country are pretty much disparate thumb drives and external HDDs due to cost/availability of network.

        Syncthing finally brought me in 21st century.

        2 votes
  2. nothis
    (edited )
    Link
    Can relate. I've went through a bit of a journey with file syncing. I thought I don't really need more than a few gigabytes, so it was tempting to stick with free services at first. For a while, I...

    Can relate. I've went through a bit of a journey with file syncing.

    I thought I don't really need more than a few gigabytes, so it was tempting to stick with free services at first.

    • For a while, I had Google Drive but, you know, it's Google. It also seemed to struggle with large amounts of files being added. They used to throw gigabytes at you for any occasion, I now have like 19GB in the free plan. I made the decision to ditch Google Drive a while ago, though. It now says I use 7GB for my email archive, which consists of a few thousand text files and a few hundred attachments, which are about 1MB on average (I did some search for file size there's only a handful of attachments over 2MB), no idea how on earth it eats up 7GB. Gmail is the last thread that binds me to the Google empire and it's starting to get annoying.

    • I still have the $1 for 50GB option of iCloud. Worth it to not have to mess with anything else on my iPhone.

    • For a while, I used a new service that offered generous 25GB to newcomers for life. I don't remember the name. It was something hard to search online like just "Sync"? They lasted about 3 years before shifting their business model or going bankrupt or something. Lesson learned.

    • In the end, I bought Dropbox Plus and never looked back. It's freeing to not have to worry about file sizes anymore, it's 2TB, twice my laptop's hard disk. Syncing works flawlessly in the background, even crazy stuff. I had to use their versioning feature once to recover a file I've accidentally overwritten, a life saver. They're trying to expand their business with weird features and app updates that are getting a bit bloaty but syncing still works and seems to be their priority so that's good.

    So, ultimately, you don't want to mess with what is essentially your backup solution. That's worth a lot. Dropbox has been in this game for long enough to have that calmness, that level of expertise that allows you to stop worrying. Easily worth it.

    4 votes
  3. Silbern
    Link
    Syncing data between a bunch of different devices kinda sucks atm. My Uni's Google Drive is great because it's unlimited in size, but it's really slow and takes forever to upload stuff to, and...

    Syncing data between a bunch of different devices kinda sucks atm. My Uni's Google Drive is great because it's unlimited in size, but it's really slow and takes forever to upload stuff to, and it's difficult to access since clients are few and all (including Google's) are pretty terrible. DropBox is a lot better, but it's pretty expensive for the space you get. Bitorrent Sync is awesome once it gets working, but it's cumbersome everytime you want to add a different folder and you need to have the space on every device to hold your data, which isn't ideal when it comes to 250+GB music collections for instance.

    The best solution I've found so far, as silly as it seems, is is simply running an FTP server with basic authentication on my workstation with its own 4TB HDD. On my local network, the lack of secure authentication is fine since it's shielded from the internet, and it has a ton of advantages. It's super fast because of how simple the protocol is, clients for it exist on pretty much every device and it can often be really well integrated (by mounting it as a folder natively for instance), and it's trivial to allow other people access to it as well, since I just need to give them their own account and folder permissions. Once I figure out how to VPN into my system from the outside, I'll be able to access it from anywhere, and I can use some encrypted ZIP backups of it every now and then to my Google Drive folder for a poor man's backup solution.

    3 votes
  4. [6]
    Bauke
    Link
    While it isn't necessarily file-syncing software, I did come across this program called croc that lets you share files really easily. I'm not sure how good it really works but from the GIF in the...

    While it isn't necessarily file-syncing software, I did come across this program called croc that lets you share files really easily. I'm not sure how good it really works but from the GIF in the readme it looks great. With a GUI I can imagine it could be really useful for a lot of people for sharing one-off files with each other.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      loosedata
      Link Parent
      Needs to be drag and drop.

      Needs to be drag and drop.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        tindall
        Link Parent
        Why do you say that? This seems like a really useful program with or without a graphical interface.

        Why do you say that? This seems like a really useful program with or without a graphical interface.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          loosedata
          Link Parent
          I don't want to type in fdkjgflfjdkhgk.jpg to send a file, I'd rather just select it or drag it. Plus there's no way you'd get any tech illiterate to use this.

          I don't want to type in fdkjgflfjdkhgk.jpg to send a file, I'd rather just select it or drag it. Plus there's no way you'd get any tech illiterate to use this.

          1 vote
          1. tindall
            Link Parent
            fgk<Tab> would do the trick, unless you have enough images with similar names that it'd be quite hard to find the right one in a file manager. Just because a tool wouldn't work for some set of...

            fgk<Tab> would do the trick, unless you have enough images with similar names that it'd be quite hard to find the right one in a file manager.

            Just because a tool wouldn't work for some set of people doesn't mean it isn't good for those it's designed for.

          2. PendingKetchup
            Link Parent
            You can drag files onto the terminal and it types their names for you.

            You can drag files onto the terminal and it types their names for you.

  5. Happy_Shredder
    Link
    I use KDE connect to copy stuff between desktop and phone and back. It's very good, and has other nice features too.

    I use KDE connect to copy stuff between desktop and phone and back. It's very good, and has other nice features too.

    3 votes
  6. ohyran
    Link
    Nextcloud for me currently... a combination of secondary hosting and self-hosting.

    Nextcloud for me currently... a combination of secondary hosting and self-hosting.

    2 votes
  7. [4]
    twisterghost
    Link
    Click through to the hackernews post originally announcing Dropbox. My god, its so good. Yeah really Dropbox, you don't seem "viral" or "income-generating" and people can build this trivially with...

    Click through to the hackernews post originally announcing Dropbox. My god, its so good.

    I have a few qualms with this app:

    1. For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software.

    2. It doesn't actually replace a USB drive. Most people I know e-mail files to themselves or host them somewhere online to be able to perform presentations, but they still carry a USB drive in case there are connectivity problems. This does not solve the connectivity issue.

    3. It does not seem very "viral" or income-generating. I know this is premature at this point, but without charging users for the service, is it reasonable to expect to make money off of this?

    Yeah really Dropbox, you don't seem "viral" or "income-generating" and people can build this trivially with FTP and curlftpfs on linux. Going nowhere.

    2 votes
    1. tindall
      Link Parent
      I mean, to be fair to this poster, the original Dropbox service didn't make much money; a lot of their revenue these days comes from collaboration tools.

      I mean, to be fair to this poster, the original Dropbox service didn't make much money; a lot of their revenue these days comes from collaboration tools.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      helloworld
      Link Parent
      Yeah, 1 and 2 are total miss, but 3 hit the bulls eye. Jobs said it better, "Feature, not a Product"

      Yeah, 1 and 2 are total miss, but 3 hit the bulls eye. Jobs said it better, "Feature, not a Product"

      1 vote
      1. onyxleopard
        Link Parent
        Except, it’s a feature that tons of users want and are willing to pay for. I’m not sure about how well Dropbox’s financials are, but they haven’t had to get acquired/acqui-hired yet. Though, they...

        Except, it’s a feature that tons of users want and are willing to pay for. I’m not sure about how well Dropbox’s financials are, but they haven’t had to get acquired/acqui-hired yet. Though, they have had to raise the price, which isn’t a good sign. Personally, Dropbox is great and I’m happy to pay for it. Like the author, I’ve been bitten too many times by GDrive and iCloud such that I don’t trust them. Even if they work for most people most of the time, I don’t feel like I could rely on them the way I have come to just know that all my data in my Dropbox folder is always there on all my devices.

        1 vote
  8. [2]
    petrichor
    Link
    Tangential, but I use Grsync (graphical rsync) for "dumb" backups to an external hard drive. It works great with minimal setup. (Certainly not the use case of the author, but though I'd mention it)

    Tangential, but I use Grsync (graphical rsync) for "dumb" backups to an external hard drive. It works great with minimal setup.

    (Certainly not the use case of the author, but though I'd mention it)

    2 votes
    1. mxuribe
      Link Parent
      Ooooo, I had never heard of Grsync! TIL; thanks!

      Ooooo, I had never heard of Grsync! TIL; thanks!

      1 vote
  9. PendingKetchup
    Link
    They also leave out Seafile. It's much more reliable for me than Syncthing ever was (because it uses an always-available server, and accounts instead of pairwise associations, and isn't trying to...

    They also leave out Seafile. It's much more reliable for me than Syncthing ever was (because it uses an always-available server, and accounts instead of pairwise associations, and isn't trying to traverse NAT and deal with netsplit-induced conflicts simultaneously). It has real applications for all the platforms, including a good Android solution that doesn't involve digging out Xposed or Magisk or whatever. And while it's available to host yourself, you can also buy hosting form several commercial providers.

    2 votes
  10. pew
    Link
    I'm wondering how many files are scattered between individual devices and services and not being synced, especially things like Apple iCloud Photos, Google Photos and so on.

    I'm wondering how many files are scattered between individual devices and services and not being synced, especially things like Apple iCloud Photos, Google Photos and so on.

    1 vote
  11. [2]
    DrStone
    Link
    Am I missing something, or is the submission just a few sentences, where the tl;dr is almost the entire thing?

    Am I missing something, or is the submission just a few sentences, where the tl;dr is almost the entire thing?

    3 votes
    1. JXM
      Link Parent
      That seems to be all there is to it. But it's a good excuse to talk about file sharing/syncing methods.

      That seems to be all there is to it. But it's a good excuse to talk about file sharing/syncing methods.

      2 votes