You probably have heard of, and have used BitTorrents to download files before. BitTorrent makes use of a distributed technology to download bits of a file from different sources and combine them together at the end point. At a result, you receive your files faster without adding burden to any server. What if you can use the same distributed technology to sync multiple devices? Wouldn’t that be great too?
BitTorrent Sync is the tool that allows you to sync your files across multiple devices using the distributed technology. Unlike Dropbox and other cloud storage providers, BitTorrent Sync does not store your files to the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about online storage space. With BitTorrent Sync, you can sync unlimited files across multiple devices, even if all your files are very large in size. The only limitation is that at least one device with the full set of data needs to be running for the sync process to work properly.
BitTorrent Sync is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Go to the BitTorrent site to download the installer for your operating system. While the Windows and Mac client come with its own application window, the Linux version is a daemon running in the background and accessible from the web interface.
BitTorrent Sync comes with a very simple user interface. There are five tabs at the top of the window: Devices, Folders, Transfers, History and Preferences.
There is not much to configure. Everything should work fine with default settings. If you want customizations, you can go to the “Preferences” tab and change settings like device name, listening port number, download and upload limits and some advanced settings.
The Folders tab is where you add the folders that you want to synchronize. The Devices tab shows the currently connected devices. The Transfers tab shows the files and folders being synchronized at the moment. The History tab keeps a log of synchronizations of each file across different devices.
Using BitTorrent Sync for synchronization
To synchronize a folder across multiple devices:
1. Go to the Folders tab and press the “Add” button. Select the folder that you want to synchronize with another device.
2. Press the “Generate” button. This will generate a Secret key. On the remote device, you will need to provide this Secret key so that it know where to download the files and folders.
Synchronizing a folder from remote computer
There are two options when it comes to synchronization on remote computers. When you are installing BitTorrent Sync, it will prompt you to enter a Secret code that you got from above mentioned method. If you forget to enter the secret, then you can follow the instructions below to synchronize a folder from the remote computer:
- Go to the Folders tab and press the Add button
- Enter the secret code which you received from the above step
- Enter the folder path where you want to copy or synchronize files from the remote computer
- Press the Ok button
This should start the synchronization process immediately.
Two way, one way and one time synchronizations
By default, the synchronization is full access sync mode. This means that changes to folders at both ends will be synchronized with each other. This is also called two way synchronization. If you don’t want to give full access to your folder, you can do the following:
- Right click the folder you want to make read-only for the remote user
- Select “Show folder preferences”
- Go to “Advanced” tab
- Here you will find three options: If you share the code under “Secret”, this will result in a two way sync. If you share the code under “Read only secret”, this will result in one way sync.
You can also generate a one time secret code which will be valid only for 24 hours. After that the code will expire. This is good for giving access to someone only for a limited period of time. In one time secret, you can select whether you want to give full access or read only access.
BitTorrent Sync can be useful for home and office networks where people need to collaborate with documents or backup data to the server instantly. The biggest benefit of BitTorrent Sync is that if any of the computer is turned off, the synchronization process will restart from where it broke the next time the computer is on. This allows users to freely turn their systems on or off without the fear of losing their data.
Personally, I’m using BitTorrent Sync in my home network. Normally the sync speed is slower than normal data transfer but it is quite reliable. What are your thoughts about this nifty utility?
Image credit: Sync is some sort of club?