How many file synchronization services exist these days? If you find that you are working with more than one computer on a frequent basis using a service such as Google Docs or Dropbox saves you the hassle of having to manually transfer the documents you need as it can all be taken care of for you.
The problem with the vast majority of tools that can be used to synchronize files is that they are based on cloud storage and there are limits on the amount of space you have available to you free of charge. This is not the case with Syncbox which enables you set up one computer as a server which will then push file to your connected devices
There are numerous advantages to working in this way rather than using cloud storage, and I’ve already mentioned what is likely to be the killer feature for many people – what amounts to practically unlimited storage space at no extra cost. The number of files you are able to storage and access is limited only by the size of the hard drive you have installed in the machine you’re using as your server.
While you may want to leave it so that only you are able to access your files, you do have the option of sharing them with others or even making them publically available to anyone who is supplied with the relevant address. There are also useful features such as file versioning which not only enables you to revert back to a previous version of a file you have made accidental or unwanted changes to, but also recover files that have been deleted.
Where Syncbox really shines is in its accessibility. I’m concentrating on the Windows version of the software here, but there are also apps available for OS X, iOS, Android and even Linux. Ever increasing numbers of people find that they are working with different system throughout the day, and this is something that Syncbox caters for.
Support for multiple platforms also makes the service ideal for collaborative work. Within a company the art department can upload images from their Macs while writers can use their PCs to access the text based documents they need, and everyone can access files on the move through their phones and tablets. This versatility is something that very much works in Syncbox’s favour.
You are very much left on your own when it comes to getting the software up and running. You’ll need to start with the server software as without this you’ll not be able to share any files. There is a wizard that guides you through the process of getting set up, but there are a no automatic settings that will ‘just work’.
Choose which folder should be used as your storage location, and anything you copy to this folder will be automatically made available online. You’ll be provided with a few means of accessing data – you’ll be given a URL that can be typed into the address bar of a web browser on another computer to gain access in this way, but you’ll also be given a couple of IP addresses: one that can be used to connect to files from your network, and another that can be used from any other computer or device connected to the internet.
On the client side of things, once you have the software installed you just need to enter your account ID and password. After synchronization has taken place you can use the folder that has been configure in Explorer to access your files, and any changes you make, or new files you create will be synced to your connected computers and devices.
While Syncbox is free, the freedom the software affords you does come at a price. Unlike cloud-based services like Dropbox et al, here the onus is on you to get things up and running. You need to install the server software on a machine you are happy to dedicate to storage, and any other device you want to be able to access the files is going to need to the client software installed. This is not a major problem by any means, but it is something to bear in mind.
Something that does need some consideration is the fact that the computer you decide to use as the server will need to be switched on at all times. Should it be switched off, or crash while you are away from it, you won’t be able to access your files from any other device. This is not something you have to think about with more traditional syncing tools.
There’s a great deal to like about Syncbox – it’s an extremely versatile tool, and if you’ve become frustrated at the limitations of cloud based syncing solutions, this could be the service that caters for all of your storage needs. You may find that the setup process takes a little of work, but once this is complete, the app with work seamlessly in the background, leaving you free to just get on and work with your files.