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BitTorrent Sync is my favorite sync tool

technologyEdward Kiledjian2 Comments

If I told you I am using BitTorrent, you would probably assume I am downloading pirated illegal content but your would be wrong. I have been testing BitTorrent Sync as an alternative to Dropbox and am really liking it. 

BitTorrent sync leverages all the power of its world renown bittorrent protocol to quickly sync files of any size between your devices without first uploading them to a central cloud service making this very attractive to security conscious IT users. 


You install a small app for your device (Windows, Mac, Android or IOS) and then choose a folder you would like to sync. The app then gives you a secret key (2 actually: one for read/write and the other is read only).


You can also create a one time secret key (good for 24 hours). 

You then install BitTorrent Sync on the second device (anywhere as long as it is internet connected), you enter the secret key, Choose the destination folder and the rest is automatic.

Synchronization is done device to device over a secure and protected channel. Because the transfer is done over the robust and tested BitTorrent protocol, it can handle insanely large files quickly and reliably.

"All the traffic between devices is encrypted with AES cypher and a 256-bit key created on the base of the secret—a random string (20 bytes or more) that is unique for every folder." - BitTorrent

The use of the BitTorrent protocol also means that it will work through most security devices automatically.

Mobile to Mobile Sync

I can also share files from a mobile device to another mobile device very easily. I open the mobile app, and go to the Send Files  tab, Choose the files and it generates a QR code. You can the QR code with the other device and voila, the files transfer like magic. No bumping, shacking or emailing.

The limitations:

  • The one major limitation right now (keep in mind it is beta) is that it does not support corporate proxy servers but the company assures me this is coming
  • If you choose a 2 ways sync, any change on either side syncs to the other device. If both people change the same file at the same time, the last one to save takes precedent and overwrites the other devices file (not a collaboration tool where multiple people can work on the same file).It is important to note that BitTorrent sync supports versioning and keeps all file changes for 30 days in a hidden folder). 

Is BitTorrent Sync worth it?

BitTorrent Sync is a product I would pay money for but is free. BitTorrent says they will launch a premium version later with additional value add options for companies (leaving the current version free for consumers).

So far it has successfully worked every time (even when I threw a 800GB folder at it with a 500MB file). 

Comparing BitTorrent Sync to Dropbox

BitTorrent Sync is better and worse than Dropbox.

It is better than Dropbox because

  • your files are never stores on someone else's servers (more secure and no transfer limits)
  • files of any size can be synchronized
  • files are synchronized quickly and easily
  • it's free

It is worse than Dropbox because

  • every computer needs the BitTorrent client installed (Dropbox offers a web interface)

BitTorrent Sync