How to Move from BitTorrent Sync to Syncthing - FAQ

If you’re thinking of moving from BitTorrent Sync to Syncthing, ask your questions here.

I’ve started work on a guide to describe how to move from BitTorrent Sync to Syncthing, so all of your comments and questions will be included in the guide as I write it.

So ask away, all questions are welcome!



Kudo’s for taking on this project! I just finished reading the forum thread from the person who lost valuable data, so I understand what motivated you to put together an FAQ for new users.

I believe that Syncthing is transitioning from a geeky project aimed at IT professionals into a widely-used consumer product. We should anticipate that in the future, a higher number (and percentage) of new users will not read the manual, and will not understand that sync/mirroring isn’t a substitute for file and folder backup.

In addition to improved readme and FAQ docs, I would also challenge us to think of ways that the application itself can be mistake-proofed. The goal: to eliminate undesired data loss.

Here’s one example: Ship Syncthing with versioning enabled (default), and design the UI so that a new user would likely have to look at the manual/FAQ to learn how to disable it.

I am sure there are better ideas out there.


Hi, I am asking on the behalf of a small group of people who are currently distributing their software via btsync. The problem with syncthing is that we need a way to be able to publicly distribute a link via syncthing, without requiring manual approval of clients. We need for someone to be able to download our software without requiring the admin to approve it every time.

Can syncthing allow people to sync without approval?

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Public distribution is (currently?) not a design goal for Syncthing. There are better tools for software distribution, like

That said, if your requirements are that your clients need a nearly immediate synchronized version of your software (instead of packaged releases, every other day/week/etc.), you could hack such a feature into Syncthing… see

Since Syncthing does not have the functionality you are looking for right now (it might have it in the future) I’ve made a suggestion for you on the sub-reddit to create your own software distribution system.

Hope that helps! :smile:

I have a question concerning nested folders which I could use in btsync:

i had BT Sync backing up >10 Android directories to my NAS through my windows 7 laptop. i could delete items from the tablet to make room but they’d stay safely backed up on the server. trusted it and was VERY happy until 2.0.

will i have any trouble if i install the Syncthing Android app and try to connect the same directories this way to the existing backup directories on my NAS? is there a better approach?

If the files are the same on both devices, Syncthing will not re-download them. Also, Syncthing/BTSync != backup: if you delete a file from one device, it will be gone on all devices.

Yes, you should be able to completely replace BitTorrent Sync with Syncthing for your situation. However, as Zillow said, if you delete something in a folder on your Android, it will be deleted on the NAS.

How do you have BTSync setup now that allows you to delete things on your Android without losing them on the NAS?

yes, that’s right. can’t remember how, but i think it was on the Android side i was able to Backup instead of Sync or something when i added the directory, but it’s definitely one-way (which has been super helpful). Syncthing won’t do this?

Ah ok, yes you can do one-way sync with Syncthing. You can set a specific device to have the Master folder which is read-only. Every other device can download from that folder, but not make any edits or changes back to that folder. Is this what you want? To have the NAS read from the Android but not be able to write to it?

I think this is not the way Master works. If you delete file on Master, it will be deleted on shared too (just tested myself).

Syncthing can do this, but AFAIK only as a workaround. Several options crossed my mind, but I have no experience with External versioning nor Ignore list features, so I might also be writing nonsense here.

  1. Setting External versioning and writing your own script. But files wouldn’t be in the same place on NAS any more. But you could be able to create same folder structure inside folder of your choice, default being .stversions.
  2. Same as 1. but if you set up your Android side as Master, your script could copy deleted file back to its original place in shared folder on NAS. But then you couldn’t use Override changes function on Master.
  3. Probably hardest, if possible at all. Same as 1. but your script could create ignore rule for deleted file and copy it back. Optionally you could set Android as Master without loosing its Override function.

As I wrote, I’m not entirely sure that this would work and there can be tuns of thing to go wrong, so there are probably tuns of reasons why you shouldn’t do it this way, meaning mainly 2. and 3., 1. is officially? supported way I think, but it isn’t exactly what you had with BTSync.

Correct. I’m confused as to how @davidicus was able to get BTSync setup the way he has it. From what I remember, if you set a Read-Only folder in BTSync, it will sync that folder to any device that has the key, but if you delete something in the folder it will delete it on all the other devices.

So this part is equivalent to how Syncthing works, but I’m not understanding if @davidicus is trying to move data From phone to tablet (syncing photos for example), or From NAS to tablet (streaming movies/music for example)

BTsync has a special functionality on Android (and probably iOS) which they call Backup. This is the default behavior for camera backup. If you delete something on Android, it will stay on the other nodes. I don’t know how it handles edits though.

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ohhh that makes sense now. Thanks for clearing that up!

right! found a reference here:

“When backup is enabled, even if you delete the backed up files from your mobile device, their copies will remain intact on the computer you’ve backed them up to.” that’s my use case.

appreciate you taking stabs at solutions, but it doesn’t sound encouraging.

I don’t think Syncthing provides a compatible solution. Have you thought of setting up an app to backup data from your mobile to your NAS or PC? I think if you separated the backups from the syncs it might be safer for your data in the long run.

There are some issues to this on github:

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well, i can’t engineer my own, and it’s surprisingly (to me anyway) rare to find anything that can sync anything to a network location, or from a device :-/ so, short of manually copying entire directories over monthly, i’ve been out of luck. i guess i can shell out $40/year now though, provided i can keep up with the BTSync interface.

I used foldersync before btsync/syncthing to sync all my files between my homeserver and my Androids. I still use it for instant sync of DCIM when on mobile data. It can sync one way without deletion, which is comparable with the backup function of btsync. It supports FTP,SFTP,Webdav,Owncloud,SMB (Windows Shares) and other server types.