By Lily / Last update December 13, 2021

How does Syncthing work?

Syncthing is a free file synchronization program that enables you to sync files between two or more computers over LAN or over the Internet. It works on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and OpenBSD. You can use it to sync as many folders as you want with different people or just between your own devices, such as sync a laptop and a desktop.

Here I’m going to show you how Syncthing works in detail:

1. Download Syncthing from the official website on your computer and the computer you want to sync files with.

Tips: If you are a new user or don’t like the command line, it is advised to download Syncthing integrations instead of basic Syncthing.

2. Run Syncthing from both computers. Here I have downloaded Syncthing integrations, so I run SyncTrayzor.exe.

3. Add a remote device in the SyncTrayzor window on both computers.

  • Find the device ID in the Actions > Show ID on both computers and copy them.

  • Click Add Remote Device under “Remote Devices” on one computer. In the pop-up window, paste the device ID of the other computer and input a device name. Then, click Save. Please note the first device should be added to the second device as well.

Add Device

4. Syncthing will create a default folder under C:\Users\Username\Sync. You may copy the files or folders you want to sync to the default folder. Or you can click Add Folder under “Folders” and input Folder Label, Folder ID, and Folder Path to add the folder you want to sync directly.

5. Click on the folder you prepare to sync to expand the menu. Here I choose the default folder. Then, click Edit.

Edit Folder

6. In the pop-up window, open the Sharing tab. Check the device you want to share the folder with and click Save. The sync process will begin. Just wait for the process to be done.

Sharing

▶ How to access the web GUI of Syncthing?

You can access the web GUI of Syncthing by entering the default listening address (127.0.0.1:8384) in your browser. However, it is only accessible from the same machine for security reasons. 

To access the web GUI from another computer, you can change the listen address to 0.0.0.0:8384. Do set a username and a strong password for authentication and check the option to use HTTPS after changing the listen address.

▶ Syncthing limitations

Powerful as Syncthing looks like, you may be disappointed with it in the following situations:

  • It doesn’t support syncing between folders on the same system.

  • It is not an ideal backup program because all changes to your files (modifications, deletions, etc.) will be synced to all your devices.

  • It should be installed on all devices you want to sync files with.

Best free alternative to Syncthing in Windows 10/8/7

Luckily, there is another tool that can makes up the defects of Syncthing. That is the best free file sync software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It runs smoothly on Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. Let’s have a look at its main features:

  • Various sources and destinations: AOMEI Backupper allows you to sync one folder to another on the same computer or sync folders between computers over the network. You can also sync local folders to cloud drives or NAS devices.

  • Automatic sync: AOMEI Backupper enables you to perform file sync regularly. You may sync files from one location to another daily, weekly, or monthly.

  • Backup functions: AOMEI Backupper allows you to create image backups for the operating system, disks, partitions, or specific files. You can recover your data from the backup images when problems occur.

How to use Syncthing alternative for file sync between computers?

To run file sync between computers with AOMEI Backupper, you just need to download and install it on the source computer. Following are the detailed steps:

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AOMEI Backupper on the source computer. Click Sync and select Basic Sync.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Basic Sync

Step 2. Edit the task name so that you can tell it from other tasks. Click Add Folder to select the folder(s) you want to sync to another computer.

Add Folder

Step 3. Expand the drop-down menu of the second bar and choose Select a network location.

Select  Network Location

Step 4. In the pop-up window, click Add Network Location in the lower-left corner. Then, enter the IP address of the source computer and click OK. Type username and password if you are asked to.

Type Network Path

Step 5. After the IP address has been added, all network-shared folders on the computer will be listed. Choose one folder to store the folder(s) you plan to sync and click OK.

Select Destination Folder

Tips: If you haven’t created a shared folder on the source computer, follow this guide to create one.

Step 6. Confirm the operation and click Start Sync to begin.

Start Sync

Note: To access the synced folder on another computer, you can go to This PC > Network. Find the source computer’s name and double click it. All shared folders will be listed there.

Wrapping things up

This page introduces a great Syncthing alternative for Windows OS - AOMEI Backupper. It can do what Syncthing can’t do, such as sync between folders on the same computer and perform file backup. The free version only supports Windows PC operating systems. You may turn to AOMEI Backupper Server if you are running Windows Server.