The Best File Synchronization Software

Folder SynchronizationFile synchronization software lets you update computer files in two or more locations at the same time.

A common scenario would be to sync files on your work computer with your home computer.  Synchronization of files can occur over a local area network (LAN), and in some cases over the internet depending on the software.

Good synchronization software should encrypt your files when synchronizing across the internet.  It should also be easy to use, and be able to perform all the synchronization methods you need (such as mirroring, two-way synchronization, etc.).

Here is a list of what, in my opinion, are the best file synchronization programs out there.  I looked at each program for how easy it is, how many features it has, and how fast is can synchronize files between locations.

#1 – GoodSync

Price: $29.95

GoodSync is a powerful synchronization program that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  You can sync files to any number of locations, including other computers, online storage, and mobile devices.  Yes, GoodSync can even sync files to your Android or iPhone.

The way you use GoodSync is to choose a left and right folder.  These are basically the locations you want to sync.  You can choose locations such as a Windows Share, FTP server, Amazon S3 account, Google Drive account, and others.  After you’ve chosen the locations you want to sync, GoodSync lets you compare and analyze changes to files before you synchronize them.

GoodSync analyze changes

To sync over the internet, you’ll need to sign up for a GoodSync Connect account.  This will let you easily connect 2 computers as long as they’re connected to the internet.  Files are transferred as fast as your connection allows, since there’s no cloud service in the middle.  This also means there’s no limit to the size or number of files you can transfer.

As far as features, GoodSync uses a block-level sync, so only parts of changed files are transferred.  Automatic job execution lets you sync whenever a file changes, or after a certain number of minutes after a file changes.  GoodSync also lets you use a secure mode, which encrypts your files over SSL.

Finally, GoodSync “knows” if two devices are on the same network, and will sync files locally if they are.  It’s a fairly smart synchronization program.

Try or buy GoodSync at

#2 – SyncBackSE

Price: $34.95 (Free and Pro versions also available)

SyncBackSE is a fast, easy to use file synchronization program that is also packed with features.  2BrightSparks, the company that made it, has been developing the SyncBack software for over 10 years now.  SyncBackSE is the middle version, but there’s also a Pro version with more features and a Free version with less features.  SyncBackSE can do just about any synchronization task, from the simplest to the most complicated, without breaking your bank.

SyncBackSE synchronization profile

When you first start the program you’ll be guided through the process of creating your first synchronization job.  You can make decisions about what to do if a file has changed on both the source and the destination, what to do if a file has only changed on the destination, etc.  You have control of 13 of these types of decisions.  SyncBackSE uses SmartSync technology, which keeps track of what changed since the last time the profile was run.  This helps the software know what to do when files change, and gives you more control over your sync jobs.

SyncBackSE supports syncing to local destinations, network drives, and FTP servers.  Syncing computers across the internet is supported, but only via FTP.

The software is not just for synchronization, as it has many options for backing up files as well.  It supports file encryption, compression, logging, and reporting.  It also has a “Fast Backup” mode to speed up your backups.

Try or buy SyncBackSE at

#3 – SmartSync Pro

Price: $45

SmartSync Pro is a powerful file synchronization and backup utility.  It can sync to local destinations on your network, or a remote computer via FTP.  When first started, it will start the New Profile Wizard and help you setup your sync job.  You can choose to mirror your files (sync in one direction) or a bidirectional sync which would copy in both directions.  Deleting unmatched files is also supported.

SmartSync new profile wizard

SmartSync Pro has the ability to do incremental backups, and can run profiles even when the computer is logged off.  It will give you detailed synchronization progress for your running profiles, as well as color highlighting for any differences.

Try or buy SmartSync Pro at

#4 – @MAX SyncUp

Price: $24.75

Max SyncUp can synchronize your files to local destinations, other computers, FTP servers, WebDAV, and Google Drive.  To sync over the internet it uses a “Max SyncUp server” which runs on one of the computers.  This allows you to synchronize your files anywhere in the world.  Max SyncUp can encrypt your data so no one else can view it, as well as compress it.  Also, it uses a Rsync-like algorithm to transfer your files, so only changed parts of files are sync’ed which can save bandwidth.

Max SyncUp sync profile

When syncing over the internet, it can use either your IP or a global SyncUp account to make the connection.  The global account would be useful if the IP frequently changes on one computer.

Overall, Max SyncUp is a powerful, easy to use file synchronization program.

Try or buy @MAX SyncUp at

#5 – Bvckup 2

Price: $19.95

Bvckup 2 is a fast, lightweight file synchronization program. The installation file is under 2 MB, actually. It provides extremely fast mirroring of files to local drives and network locations. It uses “delta copying,” which only copies changed parts of files. This makes for extremely efficient file transfers.


Multiple backup tasks can be created, so you can sync any number of folders. Two-way synchronization is not supported, however. It can only mirror files (copy them from the source to the destination).

As far as extra features, Bvckup supports scheduling, archiving deleted files, and file exclusions. Email alerts can be sent, for backup completions or only for errors. Commands can be run before and after tasks. The software can be run every time Windows starts, and it can start minimized in the background.

Bvckup has a “device fingerprint” feature that can link the software to your removable drives. So if you unplug your drive, the sync won’t run until it’s reconnected. And if Windows re-assigns your drive letter for whatever reason, Bvckup will know that.

It doesn’t have file compression or encryption, but it’s also very small and inexpensive, and I feel these features might bloat the software.

Try or buy Bvckup 2 at

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.

Geoff Akerlund


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@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 3 weeks ago

  • JiminWesternCO

    As far as I can tell, FreeFIleSync no longer allows you to unselect the installation of the malware OpenCandy. This malware will be installed if you install the FreeFileSync software, and I haven’t found a way around it. It will send information from your computer to someone who will then use that information to send you recommendations for other software you might want, and whatever other sinister (read: profit-seeking) purposes they might choose.

    Be aware, people. The process begun two decades ago by Microsoft is now fully complete. There is no longer sufficient profit in making computers, or in making useful products for your computer. The money all lies in access to information about you, your computer, your habits and your life. That information is secretly being sold to the highest bidder. All the time. Even right now, as I type this message. We can fight back, but we’re not likely to win.

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    • Unfortunate. Thanks for the info, Jim. I just tested FreeFileSync and can confirm OpenCandy is installed. I notice they’ve switched from trying to install Conduit to ZoneAlarm Toolbar, but OpenCandy is installed regardless. I will no longer recommend it.

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  • JiminWesternCO

    Thanks for the prompt response. What a pleasant surprise!! Sadly, the only pleasant moment in a miserable process.

    So, I moved on to your next recommendation, GoodSync.

    I’m literally tearing out my hair.

    Spent the last two hours trying to start a backup of my “Jim” user folder and another smaller external drive. The start-up routine walked me through the first several steps then presented me with an interface that is totally overwhelming to me. I bravely made a few guesses as to what to do next. Tried to “Browse” for the “Left Folder” which I guessed was the “From” location, and checked “select multiple items,” then checked off boxes for a folder and a drive I wanted to have a backup of. Then I tried the same thing on the Right side, figuring that to be “To.”

    Each time I selected a removable drive, it proposed that it would replace my original selection with the drive name with an = character in front of it, so it would be able to find the drive even if it was removed and mounted with another drive letter. That seemed logical, so I assumed they knew what they were doing, and let them do it.

    Then what? “Analyze” is not the most logical thing to do next, but there weren’t many other choices, so I tried that. It told me “file:// cannot be sync folder because folders cannot be created here.” For a program that is supposed to be user friendly, that means nothing whatsoever to me. I couldn’t find any explanation in the help system. I tried a dozen or more things, and after many tries, I found a combination that would actually conduct the analyze function and give me a message “All files excluded. Check that your filters are correctly set.” What filters? I didn’t set any filters! Where would I find these mythic filters that I somehow magically set incorrectly so that all the files I thought I had included were actually excluded.

    $30, two hours, and much insanity later, I have not copied or moved a single file except installing BadSync.

    IMHO, this is not a user-friendly program, unless you’re a computer programmer. The help system has useful information like, “How to select the Left Folder. Go to Left Folder.and select the ones you want.” That’s like a dictionary that defines “stupider” as “more stupid” and defines “stupid” as “adjective form of stupider” Not useful information unless you already knew what stupid meant, in which case, you wouldn’t need a dictionary.

    All I’m trying to do is find a program that will let me automatically make duplicate copies of my photographs, and then when I delete a file that I no longer want, the duplicate will be removed from the extra copy as well. Seems like something simple that a lot of photographers, and some other crazy people, might want to do. I have no idea why it’s so hard. I tried the backup program that came with one external drive, WD, and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t “propagate deletions.” I tried the backup program that came with another external drive, a Seagate, and it couldn’t find any external drives on my computer, though their drive and the WD show up when I look for them through any other program (and the lights are on on the drives).

    Does anyone make anything anymore that is simple, does what it’s supposed to do, and just works?

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    • Jim,

      That sounds really frustrating! I agree the “left” and “right” terms are pretty nonsensical. GoodSync is powerful software, but ease of use is not it’s strong point unfortunately. I have a brief walkthrough in my full review, but I’m afraid I don’t know the solution to your problem. You could try emailing if you haven’t already.

      You may want to consider SyncBack, which is very easy and will duplicate your photos like you want. They call this “mirroring” and it’s not just for photogs and crazy people 🙂

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  • Walter

    Thanks for the article! Very helpful! Btw.. Sincerly I think syncback free is the number 1 actually. Goodsync is nice but not easy to use. Syncback is easy and you can not do wrong things with this software, because
    when you start the software syncback is asking you if you want do a backup, or a synchronization or a mirror, explaining exactly what the software will do.
    Instead goodsync is not so clear… Goodsync automatically is doing a mirror and not a backup, so if you just want do a simple backup you must uncheck an option inside a setting panel to prevent any deletion file on the destination folder. Another thing I dont like of goodsynk is that he is creating databases filders here and there inside my soure or destination. Syncback apparently is not creating any database files, and I prefer syncback for this reason too. So, my friend, put syncback as number #1 and Goodsync as number #2.. Hehe 🙂

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  • Matt

    That link for SyncBackSE takes you right to the checkout? That’s a tad aggressive.

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