Brand New to SyncThing: is there a "primer" ~ "getting started" ~ "best practices" guide?

Hello all!

I’m looking at moving from Resilio Sync to Syncthing, as the former appears to be a dead parrot. :parrot:

I have read the Getting Started page at and then looked at the FAQ (which was a bit overwhelming as a starting point).

I wondered if there might be a resource that is recommended for people who are just starting, especially those moving over from other sync tools.

Thanks for any pointers you can provide.

What are you missing in the getting started guide?

I guess I am just trying to understand what exact information you are after.

I guess my response would be that I don’t know what I’d be missing, because I don’t know enough to know what I should know.

There is a quote that goes something like “There are things we know, things we don’t know, things we know that we don’t know, and things that we don’t know we don’t know.”

For example, I’ve been “lurking” in the forums, trying to see what I might learn before I started using Syncthing. Just the other day I noticed this comment in the thread Helping first sync by manual copy:

Always make sure that if you add many files to a folder that is used by Syncthing, that the folders are either paused or Syncthing is not running. Then run rescan.

That caught my attention because it goes counter to what I would have expected, namely, that the best way to make sure the Syncthing is up-to-date is to make sure that it’s running when a large change is made.

I’m not sure why the above advice was given, whether it’s a work-around for a bug/glitch/performance issue, or whether the “rescan” feature is just more effective at dealing with this particular issue. (I suppose another possibility is that the advice given is not something that everyone agrees on.)

What happens if you add a lot of files to a folder that Syncthing is actively monitoring and don’t know to use the “pause/rescan” option? Will it fail? Will it miss some files? Or will it just be slow and take a lot of CPU while it catches up?

That seemed particularly useful information when setting up a new folder, which I was about to do, and it’s also not something I feel like I would have known if I hadn’t just happened to see it on the forums.

That’s just one example, of course. I have no idea what other “good pieces of advice” aka “best practices” might be out there.

That’s sort of where I was coming from. I guess it’s the next step beyond I understand the basics of setting up basic sync.

What are some things that people who use Syncthing might say “Here are some things/tips/tricks/suggestions that are good to know when you’re getting started.”

So I don’t think there is any point of sitting here discussing what if scenarios.

I think you should do what you do, in whatever way you think is appropriate, and if you hit issues, you can start threads on the forum to get to the bottom of them.

Not really sure why that advice was being given. It is not best practice, not part of the official docs and not necessary. Perhaps the poster was suggesting it to reduce I/O load (copying lots of data, Syncthing reading that data at the same time).

My advice is: Should you be using a program designed for automatic, continuous file synchronisation? If not, perhaps Syncthing is not for you. If you want a backup program or a system for copying files from A to B but not doing this, that, the other, cherry-picking this, ignoring permissions on a full Moon, feeding excluded folder settings from a shell script more complex than orbital mechanics, then please, think things through first.

If Syncthing does seem like the best tool for your use case: welcome! Take a backup of your data because now you have multiple sources for data corruption, deletion, loss, plus the possibility of a Syncthing bug.

Use the all of the defaults, for the love of all that is good, at least until you’re familiar with how Syncthing works: its behaviours, how it discovers, connects, detects and communicates changes and syncs files; how long things take, what resources it consumes. If you don’t mind tinkering, mucking about, diagnosing yourself, then sure: go hog wild and change 50 settings on day one.

Until you are an experienced Syncthing user, don’t second guess it. Just let it do its job because it is great at doing its job.

The defaults are great, they make for a very resilient system for finding devices, figuring out how to punch through firewalls and NAT and using relays if need be, when and how to detect changes to files and what’s best to choose for the speed of your devices and networks.

Don’t expect a device to connect in 2ms and instantly copy all data because a watched pot never syncs. Sometimes it might take a little while for a device to attempt connection. Just leave it alone for a few minutes! For a set of devices to exchange lists of file changes, to read file from storage, encrypt it, send it across the network, and then undo all that at the other side has overhead, it takes time. You will not get 1Gbps throughput between your Raspberry Pi Zero and your Pentium III 733MHz computer, however fast your network is.

If you have a problem, search the forums first. Use the tools as your disposal to solve the problem: what are the logs on all devices saying? What are the device/folder status panes saying? What has changed since it last worked?

If you do ask for help, help the project folks first. Tell them your Syncthing versions, system specs, network speeds, post Syncthing log files, screenshots of device/folder status, tell them what you have tried, why you think it should not be acting as it should, and please keep the post simple.

Ok, I think I’m all set to go with the defaults, and go from there if I need to.

I can confirm your view. Resilio is not dead at the moment but not fair and conclusive. The activities show that there are differences in the Connect and Sync products. I had been using BTsync for a long time, the previous name of the product, and using Resilio for a number of years now with acquired licenses for it when Connect did not even exist. Connect’s engine is said to be the same as in Sync. Nevertheless, Resilio has also left the license users on Sync v2.7.2 and is now on v2.12.4 with Connect. That wouldn’t even be the problem, but with the advancement of the platforms and their operating systems, there are increasing problems that are not solved up to now. The result is that more and more users are dissatisfied and comes to here.

Maybe you can also tell us which variant you have, with or without a license, etc. and which devices with which platforms and operating systems you have in use.

Well, I digress a little. First of all, there is a fundamental difference between Resilio and Syncthing. Resilio is folder (peer) oriented and Syncthing is device oriented. Therefore, when you start Syncthing, firstly is relevant with which devices you want to work together, so they must be connected to each other first. Once you’ve internalized that, the rest is easier to understand. To start with, I recommend installing a test environment, creating test directories and test files and doing experiments with them. When you are trained and feel safe, you can change gradually or completely.

Hello! :wave: Thanks for the message.

I have Resilio Sync 2.7.2. I bought a family license because I thought I was going to end up using it with my high-school-aged son, but that never really materialized. I considered it a contribution to hopefully help keep the project alive.

I have a collection of aging Macs that I use for various purposes and automations, including a 2007 iMac, a 2011 (or 2012) Mac Mini I keep at my office which mostly does Zoom meetings, a Mac Mini at MacStadium which is my main ‘server’ and also does some web hosting. My two ‘current’ Macs are an M1 Mac Mini and an M1 MacBook Air.

My main use cases will be:

  1. Syncing folders to/from each of the various Macs to the MacStadium Mac (but not necessarily with each other).

  2. Syncing folders between the M1 MacBook Air and M1 Mac Mini (which I will probably also sync to the MacStadium Mac since that is ‘always on’… although the M1 Mac Mini is almost always on).

I have never found the Resilio Sync iOS apps to be all that useful, so I do not anticipate that the lack of Syncthing iOS apps will be an issue for me.

I do have a potential 3rd use case, which would be to sync a folder from a Windows 10 computer at my office to my M1 Mac Mini.

I’m not sure I understand the distinction.

My experience with Resilio Sync was that all of the computers could “see” all of the potentially shared folders which were available, even if I did not sync all of them.

One of the things that I have liked about Resilio Sync (especially as opposed to, say, Dropbox) is that I can sync folders separately, so, for example, if have folders “A” and “B” on my MacBook Air which sync to folders “A” and “B” on my Mac Mini, each folder is a separate sync process, so a large sync operation in one does not prevent the other from syncing as well.

Does Syncthing want to just share one folder from each computer, more like Dropbox does?

That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it would be important to understand. However, if that’s not what you meant, perhaps you could try explaining it another way. I’m quite sure that I’m capable of understanding this distinction, I’m just not familiar with it.

Read the documentation carefully

Since you can see the peers in Resilio and have a license, the procedure even has some parallels. In order to be able to see the peers in Resilio among each other, all affected clients or devices must be connected to each other, mostly to one master, otherwise you would have to exchange a key for each peer.

It’s very similar in Syncthing. First connect all your Macs with each other via “+ Add Remote Device”. If the devices are all in the same network, they should even see each other by displaying the keys in the dialog window. A box will appear in the GUI of each devies with a request that you have to confirm.

Then try to create a folder (peer) via “+ Add Folder”. If the content is then scanned and results are displayed, that should be fine. If you get any messages regarding problems, e.g. permission issues, the appropriate permissions must first be assigned in the file system for Syncthing in order to create folders (peers).

What you describe about folders “A” and “B”, is in this way possible without restriction. You can connect any individual folders with each other if the devices know each other. But if you think that if devices do not know each other, and that individual folders can be connected to each other via keys, that does not work in Syncthing. That’s what I meant by Resilio is folder (peer) oriented and Syncthing is device oriented.

Ah! I think I understand now.

That sounds like the way that I always used Resilio Sync, so I don’t think I’ll have any problems with Syncthing’s “model”.

Thank you again.

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.