The website says that Syncthing is a backup program. says:

Run it on your desktop computers and synchronize them with your server for backup.

But Syncthing is not a backup program…


Run it on your desktops, laptops and mobile phones and synchronize them with your server to have all your files available everywhere. (Combine this with a good backup program on your server, and you won’t have to back up your other devices separately.)

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I doubt that the terms “backup” or “backup program” are clearly defined. Redundancy is a trivial form of data backup. So file synchronization with file versioning can provide a simple backup.

Also the description at the very top clearly states what it is so there should be no misconceptions:

Syncthing is a continuous file synchronization program. It synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time…

No. It it is NOT.

(Yes, Syncthing can be seen as “RAID over network”.)

And I am not alone in claiming that Syncthing is not a backup program. In another topic, @AudriusButkevicius wrote:

Not sure why you start arguing what a backup is when I’ve implied that different people have different views on it.

In my opinion the website just doesn’t give false ideas of Syncthing.

And I am not alone in claiming that Syncthing is not a backup program.

But you are alone in claiming that the website says that Syncthing is a backup program.

This topic is directed to the one controlling the website, and the intention is to reduce the risk of misunderstandings like this: To think that redundancy is (a form of) backup.

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I never claimed that.

I claim that the wording in the quote from the website adds to the confusion that causes many people to THINK that Syncthing is a backup program. There are many topics on the forum where people wrongly refer to Syncthing as a backup program. There are many articles around the web which says that as well. Having a sentence on the front page which says …

Run it on your desktop computers and synchronize them with your server for backup.

… is simply not helpful, because it gives some people the idea that it is a backup program.

This is the end of discussion for me.

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I’ve been using syncthing as a component of my backup strategy since its inception, that was the main reason I wrote the first prototype. Before syncthing I used rsync. Neither is a backup program, but both quite successful in copying files from A to B, which, again, is often part of backing up. Other components of my backup strategy are periodic snapshots, shipping those snapshots to a third server, and syncing (!) those files to cloud storage (which also does versioning).

For me, “syncing files to a server for backup” is accurate.


It’s the title of this thread!?


Maybe it would be better to be more explicit, e.g.


Run it on your desktop computers and synchronize them with your server for backup.


Run it on your desktop computers and synchronize them with your server as a component of your backup strategy.


I’ve also noticed quite a few topics on the forum recently where Syncthing was specifically referred to as a “backup application/program/system”, including the one where the user lost all their files (already mentioned above).

the intention is to reduce the risk of misunderstandings

Kind of ironic that you fail to understand the difference in “backup program” vs “used for backup” and yet accuse others of misinterpreting the statements on the website.

To think that redundancy is (a form of) backup.

This is my statement, please don’t imply that I got it from the website.

What about this? “syncing files to a server for doing backup there”

There’s no need to make such things very personal. Just zoom out a notch and keep the discussion on that level.

In the base I somewhat agree that the current phrasing leaves room for either readers coming to a promptly made conclusion (“oh, I read backup, so it’s a backup tool”) or overall misunderstand what’s being said (“for” is quite ambiguous in this context). The sentence itself is flawless, as in absolutely correct. How a random viewer interprets it, that’s another story. Especially given different levels of understanding of the language it’s presented in.

And given that, here, on the forum we are very clear about it not being backup software, it wouldn’t hurt being as explicit on the website itself - just to take away that tiny margin for confusion. I believe in the docs there are also some notes about this already.


Even if you try hard to avoid the one bad word here on the website, it will do little to change the actual problem - wrong usage of file synchronization for backups.

Resilio Sync monitors your file system and starts to sync file as soon as it detects a change. It allows for both one-way and two-way syncing. The bi-directional file and folder synchronization system could be used to sync devices in the office, between offices, and even for creating a data backup.

Backup your files automatically to another device you own. Create your own Disaster Recovery site. Setup your phone to backup all photos to your laptop, or backup all your documents from your laptop to your NAS. Protect yourself from losing information on a crashed or misplaced device.

FreeFileSync is a folder comparison and synchronization software that creates and manages backup copies of all your important files.

Yes, please. This is all I ask for.

For me, it does back up files from my phone to my computer in case something happens to my phone. One way sync so if the folder on the pc gets screwed up, it doesn’t delete from the phone. Then, my backup provider backs those up with real dedicated backup software.

calmhJakob BorgSyncthing Maintainer is correct in that Syncthing can be a PART of your backup strategy, only it should not be your only strategy. I use a cloud backup service that backs up the files that synced to it from my phone.

If anything happened to my syncthing files and they were not recoverable I have them in my cloud backup for thirty days to restore.

Similarly, no cloud based sync only system should be your only backup. I once accidentally deleted my onedrive files from everywhere by accident because I screwed up on Linux. Accidentally delete files from one sync location to another and all the sync files go away.

Once a week, or as needed, I use a sync app to backup my Google and Onedrive files to an external SSD so I can’t lose everything. Something to consider. Should you ever get locked out of your cloud storage you have a backup on your SSD external.


While I do understand what you mean and I agree that Syncthing is not strictly speaking a “backup program”.

However, in communication everything happens in context. We are now talking about a single word in the middle of the page where the earlier half of the page clearly explains what Syncthing does. I had to use “find on page” to actually find it.

Clarity of communication is always up to the recipient. I think the context makes it very clear what Syncthing does.

I personally have used Syncthing successfully as part of my backup system for years. I use it to sync files real-time to other in different locations. These computers take scheduled snapshots of the files and backup the data to cloud (duplicity).


I am using Syncthing exactly in the same manner. Syncthing is part of a backup solution to keep files in sync. When you have a “central server” Syncthing node network you can snapshot the central server and push some parts to a third party like for me its Google Drive when the house burns down (using rclone sync).


This has turned into a somewhat interesting discussion. (A little surprising based on how it started). I think someone else mentioned the raid analogy and that’s kind of how I think of it. Almost like a distributed, multi-disk RAID1.

It’s great if one of your machines goes belly up. You boot a new machine, install syncthing, connect the new machine, share the existing folders, and syncthing restores everything.

But as has been said multiple times, syncthing isn’t a backup solution because any “bad deletes” are rather immediately deleted from all devices. Versioning can help here but…

Just thinking about it a bit more, not much would have to change for it to become more like a backup tool… how about this:

What if there were a new folder type? We have send/receive, send only, and receive only. What if we had one called “backup”.

The backup folder would basically look like a receive only folder. But it would be paused. (Though it could be connected to the cluster, helping distribute files, etc.). Then when the user wanted to initiate a backup, they open the folder in the UI, and click “backup now” and that folder unpauses, and basically mirrors the current global state. Once the folder becomes “up to date”. The folder goes back into the paused state. A further upgrade could be a scheduler that automates “backup now” to be done weekly or monthly or whatever. And with options like versioning and encryption for untrusted devices it can really be a nice offsite backup solution. One real complication is if for some reason the backup folder never becomes current because a part isn’t available when does it go back to paused? There are probably a few other implantation details but I think this wouldn’t be inconsistent with the core functionality of syncthing.

I’m not saying this would be a quick/easy development but perhaps it’s not a crazy idea.

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Ideas rarely are crazy :slight_smile: and this is surely a possibility.

I think that it’s more a question about whether it’s feasible to blur the lines between syncing and backing up and, perhaps moreover, whether it’s worth the time investment to develop it ánd to maintain it.

There are already quite solid backup options available which work in harmony with Syncthing. I’m personally not sure if it would add much to implement some form of backup-mechanism which most likely will be inferior anyways. This while potentially opening up a rabbit hole of expectations, fail-safe concerns, requests, support, and so forth. And this all to support more of a side-scope compared to what Syncthing actually does; syncing robustly.

Yes. But incremental copy capability has value for offsite backups… the encryption is already there… and robust file copy is essential to backing up.

But I do agree. Your points are valid… even just the concept that this can be used as a backup program opens the door for support challenges.

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