Sync files – Seafile, Owncloud, Syncthing, Pydio

It’s hard to trust your files to any cloud provider on the Internet. Thus host your files on your own fitting to your needs!


Good documentation for setup and migration. Available for Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. There is a GUI and a console client. Heavy improvements have been made within the last version steps.

The server is split up in two processes on python – webinterface and storage backend. To add network encryption, a proxy like nginx is required. A system start script wrapper has to be composed – depending on your configuration – which is easy and described in documentation. The user management is stored in database and separated for user and groups – Permissions for user, groups and repositories aswell. In the beginning I had a little trouble with ACL assignments. Seems fixed a while ago (read the changelogs).

The desktop application can be used to create new repositories, explore unsynced directories online (rights for current user implied). By dropping any folder to the app a repository can be created which is a strenght of Seafile. For backup, the console version should be used as the files are stored in chunks on disk unlike OwnCloud. Just back up the chunks. There is a command line version that could access the files… 😉
Repositories can be set up for keeping track of changes. Changes can be reverted for a few days.
Another option is “repository encryption” – the repostory content can not be accessed on the storage backend without an additional password.

Seafile is running for more than a year in my environment. It works with encryption and keeps several hundred gigabytes of data in sync in multi user environment. Even syncing about 60k .midi sound files worked like a charm.


Quick solution to sync files between multiple machines with different bandwith using peer to peer connection. Available on Linux, Windows, Mac, Android – best performance on desktop hardware and stable connection. The authentification and pairing can be done via UUID or QR Code for every directory. A machine can be selected for seeding with larger connection. Syncthing is a great solution to share a directory on multiple machines. It even has change-tracking.

Configuration is done via webinterface that writes config files. Easy to use. Buzzword is decentralized.

Get syncthing p2p syncing


OwnCloud is a good solution running on PHP. It is similar to Seafile with a focus on collab work. Due to its complexiness and the PHP, that means a lot of restrictions to configure, I did not want it. Features like calendar sync are tempting.

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Py Py Python? No. PHP.

Formerly AjaXplorer. Just to mention it. Lost the focus on that one year ago. They even offer some kind of sync service. Will test later. Maybe.


Conclusion for sync files

Too lazy to setup and run a bunch of webserver, ACL, MySQL, whatever-service to simply provide Internet file synchronisation?
Try Syncthing for p2p syncing your files and directories without any pirate torrent network. Don’t forget, a server is still required to run any of those solutions. Yes, you can run syncthing wherever you want, but without any node online, there is no sync.

Seafile offers good and efficient file syncing service. OwnCloud has a crush in neat user experience working with files. But the webinterface of pydio is much better for exploring files online.

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