How to install and configure a BitTorrent Sync server

by Ruchira on July 9, 2013


BitTorrent Sync is the latest addition to BitTorrent product family and to put it simple, it lets you to sync your files between your computers just like Dropbox does. BitTorrent Sync comes handy if you need more space and privacy (PRISM). Dropbox is great I use it everyday and features like camera upload is a life saver. Thankfully to Samsung I have 50GB of Dropbox storage free for 2 years. But the problem is if I need more and more storage, cost goes way up. BitTorrent Sync is totally free except for the costs to run a VPS or Dedicated server as a master Sync device.

BitTorrent Sync uses BitTorrent protocol to sync files between your computers and your master server. While this uses BitTorrent protocol its totally secure and private unlike regular torrents. Files aren’t visible to public as its encrypted by using a private key and only those people who has the private key can view your files. So as long as you keep the private secret (32 character long number sequence) your files are safe. Just like Dropbox, when files added to your sync’d folder it will start to sync the files immediately and when you remove a file on a folder it will be sent to a trash folder on your server so you could recover it later if you made a mistake. You can find more feature details on the main web site.

On this guide, I will explain you how to setup BitTorrent Sync master server. I’m using a 512MB RAM OpenVZ Linux VPS from Ramnode with 120GB of SSD-Cached storage and Debian 7 32bit is installed as the operating system. BT Sync will work fine on any virtualization platform such as KVM,OpenVZ or XEN and it doesn’t require much resources to work. Even if you have 128MB of RAM on your VPS, that’s fine. Also you can use Debian/Ubuntu/CentOS or any other Linux operating system for this guide.

  • First SSH in to your VPS/Dedicated Server with root privileges.
  • Next, we have to download the BitTorrent Sync installer and install it
cd /home
wget wget

As you can see below I have chosen the 32bit version of the installer because I’m running an 32bit operating system. If you have less than 1GB of RAM its recommended to run 32bit operating system thus the 32bit version of BT Sync. However if you are running a 64bit OS, you can choose the download file from here. Just replace the link on above command with 64bit version.

Since the download is complete, We have to extract the tar.gz file and install it. Below command’s will untar and install it.

tar -xvzf btsync_i386.tar.gz


Above screen shows us that BitTorrent Sync is installed ans started. Yes! Its that simple. Now you can access the BT Sync web interface at “yourip:8888″

As you can see, our BT Sync control panel is not password protected. So lets edit the configuration and setup a password and change the port (:8888) if you like.

Below command will show you a example configuration.

./btsync --dump-sample-config

Copy the output of it and lets save it elsewhere and edit it.

nano /home/btsync.config

Above command will create empty btsync.config file and paste the configuration options that you copied earlier.


As you can see on above screen, you can add a password, user name and change the port by editing the text here. To save the options just press Ctrl+O and then Ctrl+X to exit the editor.

Now we need to restart the btsync process to apply changes. To do that you can either restart the server and start bittorrent sync again by running ./btsync or just kill the process and start it again. To do that run


and find the pid for the btsync process. Also the assigned pid is shown to you when you first started the btsync process. As my screenshot shows on above, my pid is 1915. So I can kill it by issuing

kill -9 1915

To start the btsync process again with our saved config, Just issue

./btsync --config btsync.config


Now navigate to your web control panel at “yourip:XXXX” (XXXX= the port you choose) and it will ask for login details.


Now the setup is mostly complete. We have to specify a folder in your server to save the synced files. To do that lets create a new folder

mkdir /home/bt

Above command will create a folder named “bt” on the /home directory of your server. Now you can install the BitTorrent Sync application on your computers. This part is basically self explanatory just download the installer for your Mac/Windows PC from the main web site and install the application.


As you can see above, it will show you a secret code when you setup a folder (Just like Dropbox folder) and copy this code and navigate to your server’s btsync control panel and click “Add Folder” and select the path of previously created folder (/home/bt) and on the “Secret” field,  paste the secret code that you copied and click the “Add” button.

Your computer will show up on the control panel and now you have a complete BitTorrent Sync setup correctly. All the content that you put on to your computers btsync folder will be instantly synced to the server.


I'm Ruchira Sahan and all posts on this blog are completely my thoughts and writings. I love DIY and Technology. So feel free to contact me for anything about this blog and don't forget to add a comment if this blog helped you! Thanks
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