Synchronizing Files on your Raspberry Pi with Syncthing?

Keeping files synchronized across devices is essential for productivity and accessibility. Syncthing is an open-source tool that allows you to seamlessly sync files between a Raspberry Pi and other devices without relying on third-party cloud services. With just a few steps, you can set up secure two-way file synchronization that gives you control over your data.

Synchronizing Files on your Raspberry Pi with Syncthing?

Syncthing is a continuous file synchronization program designed to securely sync files between devices. Some key features include:

  • Open source – Syncthing is open-source and free to use. There are clients available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and more.
  • Secure – Files are transmitted end-to-end encrypted between devices. You control the encryption keys and access.
  • No cloud required – Synchronization happens directly between your devices without third-party cloud storage services.
  • Customizable – Granular control over what directories and files are synchronized. Set one-way or two-way sync as needed.
  • Easy to use – Setup takes minutes and Syncthing handles the file comparison and transmission automatically after initial configuration.

With Syncthing on your Raspberry Pi, you can easily synchronize files between your Pi and desktop computer. Keep configuration files, scripts, media files and other data seamlessly up-to-date across devices.

Installing Syncthing on a Raspberry Pi

  1. First, update your Raspberry Pi’s package list:
  2. sudo apt update
  3. Install the syncthing package:
  4. sudo apt install syncthing
  5. Once it’s installed, Syncthing will automatically run. To manage and configure it, navigate to the web UI at http://localhost:8384.

Configuring Syncthing on Raspberry Pi

When you first access the Syncthing web UI, you will be prompted to setup a user and password. After creating credentials, proceed to create a sync folder by clicking “Add Folder” in the web UI.

Here are the key options when adding a folder:

  • Folder ID – A unique ID for this folder entry.
  • Folder Path – The absolute path to the directory you want to synchronize.
  • Devices – Select which devices you want to sync the folder with.
  • Directory Type – Send Only to only send files, not receive. Receive Only to only receive. Standard for two-way syncing.

For example, you may want to create a folder to sync your home directory files across your Pi and Desktop:

Folder ID: homedirsync001 

Folder Path: /home/pi/

Devices: mydesktop (ID)

Type: Standard

Repeat the process to add more folders for each directory you want to synchronize between devices.

Once folders are configured on the Raspberry Pi, you will need to install Syncthing on additional devices you want to sync with, then add the same Folder ID and paths in the web UI. Devices that both have a shared Folder ID will find each other and sync.

Using Syncthing on Raspberry Pi

After configuring folder syncing, Syncthing will continuously run in the background and monitor file changes within the shared directories.

When files are added or changed on one device, Syncthing will automatically transmit the update to connected devices to keep everything in sync across systems. This allows you to seamlessly work across devices without worrying about manually transferring files back and forth or maintaining multiple unsynced copies in different locations.

Some tips when running Syncthing:

  • Check folder sync status by looking for overlay icons in the web UI or tray/menu bar application on each device.
  • If changes are not syncing as expected, check for errors or warnings related to that folder in the web UI log panel.
  • You can pause synchronization temporarily in the web UI if needed without stopping the Syncthing service.

Overall, with just a few minutes of setup on your Raspberry Pi and other computers, you can easily achieve reliable and secure two-way file synchronization powered by Syncthing.

Key Takeaways

  • Syncthing enables secure two-way file synchronization between devices including Raspberry Pi.
  • Installation is quick from standard repositories on Linux, including Raspberry Pi OS.
  • The Syncthing web UI provides an easy way to configure shared folders to keep in sync across different machines.
  • Once configured, Syncthing automatically handles file changes in the background – safely transmitting updates without user intervention.
  • Pausing sync, checking sync status, and reviewing logs is easy from the always-on web UI.


With more computing happening across more devices, keeping files safely in sync is vital for both productivity and accessibility of your data. Syncthing offers a powerful open-source tool for simple yet secure file synchronization between a Raspberry Pi single board computer and a broader range of machines like desktops and laptops. In just minutes, you can install Syncthing and define shared folders to seamlessly keep files up-to-date across all systems automatically. For Managing and accessing your files from any location or device, Syncthing on Raspberry Pi is an excellent synchronization solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Syncthing secure?
    Yes, Syncthing uses industry standard encryption techniques to secure data in transit and at rest. Devices mutually authenticate before transmitting any file data.

  2. Does Syncthing work between Raspberry Pi and Android?
    Yes, native Syncthing applications allow syncing between a Raspberry Pi and Android devices.

  3. Can I sync a Raspberry Pi with multiple devices?
    Yes, you can set up folder sharing between as many devices as needed, including multiple desktop machines syncing bidirectionally with your Pi.

  4. How much overhead does Syncthing introduce on Raspberry Pi OS?
    The Syncthing process uses minimal CPU and memory resources even when actively syncing, allowing your Pi to still perform other tasks.

  5. Can I control bandwidth for Syncthing transfers?
    Yes, you can limit overall bandwidth Syncthing uses in the settings panel to avoid it saturating your network.

  6. Is there a mobile app for managing Syncthing?
    Yes, Android and iOS apps are available that let you monitor Syncthing folders, status and make some modifications from your phone.

  7. Can I sync files between my Raspberry Pi and NAS with Syncthing?
    If your Network Attached Storage device supports running Syncthing, then bidirectional file sync is possible between it and your Pi.

  8. How many folder shares can I configure in Syncthing?
    You can create unlimited folder sync relationships between your Raspberry Pi, desktops, servers and mobile devices.

  9. Will Syncthing sync deletions?
    By default, Syncthing is configured for bidirectional updating including deletions. But you can disable delete syncing if needed.

  10. Can I see historical activity of Syncthing file transfers?
    Yes, the web UI provides detailed logs of each file operation during synchronization enabling full auditing.

  11. Is there a way to trigger immediate file synchronization?
    Yes, you can manually trigger on-demand scans and synchronization from either the sending or receiving device as needed.

  12. How granular can my synced folder permissions be?
    You have full control to configure read and write permissions on a user and group level for each Syncthing share.

  13. Can I tell Syncthing to ignore certain file types?
    Yes, you can add ignore patterns for file types, extensions, filenames and specific directories. Useful for excluding temporary files.

  14. Is there an option for one-way folder syncing?
    Absolutely, you can define a folder share as send-only or receive-only instead of standard two-way/bidirectional sync.

  15. Can I sync folders on external USB drives with Syncthing?
    Syncthing supports synchronizing folders anywhere in the filesystem including external drives. Just set the folder path accordingly.

  16. What file differences can Syncthing auto resolve?
    Syncthing can automatically handle conflicts like two devices writing to the same file with versioning.

  17. Can Syncthing work even when devices have dynamic IP addresses?
    Yes, Syncthing supports connecting devices across changing network conditions and automatically manages device discovery.

  18. Is there notification when Syncthing completes a sync?
    Yes, you can enable notifications on the sending and receiving device when file transfers complete successfully.

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