Remember BitTorrent? The controversial peer-to-peer file sharing application. Well, things have dramatically changed since those days, and the company is developing new interesting products today. BitTorrent Labs, just released “BitTorrent Sync”, a free application that continues using P2P technology and it can well be your next favorite “remote backup”/”private cloud” solution, you’ve been waiting for.
BitTorrent Sync is a file syncing software that is compatible with Windows, Linux and OS X, very similar to the same functionality in the now retired Windows Live Mesh, but it also works in home network without an internet connection.
“Sync” is pretty simple to install and configure, all you need to do is to assign a folder that will contain the files and folders you want to sync between devices (in the same way you would configure SkyDrive), then generate a “shared secret” code to secure the content traversing the network — It’s worth noting that this code is a unique AES 256-bit cypher key and it will be different for every folder you want to have replicated (files and folders exclusion within a folder are also supported).
Finally, install the BitTorrent Sync software in another device, across the room or across the globe (it doesn’t matter, it just work). Repeat the process but don’t generate a secret key in this system, instead copy and paste the code you generated in the other computer.
Beside its simplicity, another interesting feature to point out about BitTorrent Sync is its speed. The software really knows how to optimize your internet connection bandwidth. In a test, I copied an 800MB file in my shared folder; Sync immediately started and it only took 2 minutes to copy the large file across the room in the second Windows 8 PC. This was possible because the software is capable of detecting where the target computer is located, and if it detects that the computer is just a few feet away it doesn’t utilize the internet for extra round trips — something that Windows Live Mesh used to do.
BitTorrent Sync doesn’t limit you in the amount of files and folders you wish to copy, you can put 100K files and folders and it will work, you put a 4GB file or a single 10GB and it will copy it over.
You can pause and restart the synchronization at any time. Also the application supports one-way-syncing by generating a “read only secret”, in case you don’t want others to change your files, and a “one-time secret” will allow you to set a sync expiration date (24 hours).
Better than Live Mesh
If you loved Windows Live Mesh, then you are going to like BitTorrent Sync. It works very similar but it is more enhanced, because of all the options available and the ability to copy files without an internet connection within the local network.
BitTorrent Sync works in Windows 8, 7 and previous versions of Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Currently there is not a mobile app, which would sweet to have.
Keep in mind that “Sync” isn’t a cloud solution (so to speak), this is a great solution for people who do not trust cloud services (e.g., Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box, etc.) and can easily become your best solution as remote backup. With this peer-to-peer syncing application, your system will turn into a private cloud and everything by default becomes more secure. You can backup important files (large RAW image files, homemade movies, pictures, music, documents, etc.) off-site to another computer, keeping all the meta-data intact, that you can set up at your parent’s or best friend’s house. You can even let other people you trust put files in your shared folder or configure a backup of their files in your computer as a disaster recovery solution — And yes, you can configure BitTorrent Sync in more than two computers.
BitTorrent Sync Manual
If you want to learn more, you can download this PDF file with users’ started guide. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to install the application as well as all the answers you need using this “remote backup solution”.