How to Sync Files Between Computers Without Storing Them in the Cloud
So you have multiple computers and you want to keep your files in sync, but you don’t want to store them on someone else’s servers. You’ll want a service that synchronizes files directly between your computers.
With such a service, you can synchronize an unlimited amount of files and people can’t gain access to your files just by gaining access to an account on a server and viewing the files via the web interface.
1# BitTorrent Sync
BitTorrent Sync uses BitTorrent to transfer files — in private and in encrypted form, so no one can snoop on them. Just install it, select a folder, and generate a secret. Provide that secret to anyone — either another computer you own or a friend you would like to sync files with — and your folder will be automatically kept in sync across all configured PCs. This happens directly — either over a local network or over the Internet — using the powerful and fast BitTorrent technology. And it’s completely free.
AeroFS is free, assuming you don’t need its more advanced features. It creates a Dropbox-like folder on your computer and files sync automatically between the computers you set up. You can share each folder with one additional person, but you’ll need the paid version to share with additional people after that. It doesn’t use BitTorrent and relies on a user account system — there’s a central server that manages user accounts and sharing, but files aren’t hosted on AeroFS’s servers. They’re only stored on your computers. AeroFS promises that it “can’t even see your file names.”
LogMeIn’s Cubby offers cloud storage, but it also offers a “DirectSync” feature. DirectSync allows you to synchronize an unlimited number of files directly between computers, skipping the cloud.
You will have to create an account, and cloud storage is enabled by default in Cubby. While DirectSync was previously free now it’s a paid feature…
4# Run your own cloud server
- SparkleShare: SparkleShare is an open-source Dropbox-like file syncing solution. The only difference is that you host it yourself. You could host Sparkleshare on one of your computers or on a server you have access to and get Dropbox-like syncing that’s entirely under your control.
- rsync: rync isn’t an instant syncing solution, but it can be used to run automatic incremental backups to a server. You could run a nightly rsync job and sync your files to an FTP server.
- OwnCloud gives you universal access to your files through a web interface or WebDAV. It also provides a platform to easily view & sync your contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all your devices and enables basic editing right on the web. Installation has minimal server requirements, doesn’t need special permissions and is quick. ownCloud is extendable via a simple but powerful API for applications and plugins.