Syncthing is an open source continuous file synchronization used to sync files between two or more computers in a network. This guide will cover the installation and usage of Syncthing on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04.

Below are key features of Syncthing

  • It is easy to use through a cli and GUI through  Syncthing-GTK
  • Its data syncing fully automatic – Low interaction
  • Synthing strives to be safe from data loss – Ensures no corruption on user’s files.
  • It is universally available – Runs on both Windows and Linux

Installing Syncthing on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04

The Syncthing package is available on the official repository which can easily be added by running the following commands on your terminal. Start by installing curl package.

sudo apt install curl apt-transport-https

Once curl is installed, import GPG Key for the repository:

curl -s | sudo apt-key add -

When GPG Key has been added, create repo content:

echo "deb syncthing release" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/syncthing.list

Then update system and install syncthing package:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install syncthing

Once installed, check version:

$ syncthing --version
syncthing v1.7.1 "Fermium Flea" (go1.14.4 linux-amd64) [email protected] 2020-07-11 18:17:41 UTC

Configuring Syncthing on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04

Now that we have syncthing installed, let’s proceed to the configuration section. Since Ubuntu 18.04 is a systemd compliant, we can create systemd unit files to manage syncthing service. Service files for systemd are provided by Syncthing and can be found in etc/linux-systemd

 sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/[email protected]

Add content below:

Description=Syncthing - Open Source Continuous File Synchronization for %I

ExecStart=/usr/bin/syncthing -no-browser -gui-address="" -no-restart -logflags=0
SuccessExitStatus=3 4
RestartForceExitStatus=3 4


You can as well replace with your system IP address then update Systemd service list:

 sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Then start syncthing service:

sudo systemctl start [email protected]$USER


sudo systemctl start [email protected]
sudo systemctl start [email protected]

Confirm service status:

$ sudo systemctl status [email protected]$USER
● [email protected] - Syncthing - Open Source Continuous File Synchronization for root
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/[email protected]; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-07-16 19:52:42 CEST; 2min 28s ago
       Docs: man:syncthing(1)
   Main PID: 20161 (syncthing)
      Tasks: 16 (limit: 4567)
     Memory: 61.9M
     CGroup: /system.slice/system-syncthing.slice/[email protected]
             ├─20161 /usr/bin/syncthing -no-browser -gui-address= -no-restart -logflags=0
             └─20179 /usr/bin/syncthing -no-browser -gui-address= -no-restart -logflags=0

Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: TCP listener ([::]:22000) starting
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: Relay listener (dynamic+ starting
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: GUI and API listening on [::]:8384
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: Access the GUI via the following URL:
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: My name is "ubuntu"
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] WARNING: Syncthing should not run as a privileged or system user. Please consider using a normal user account.
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: quic:// detected NAT type: Not behind a NAT
Jul 16 19:52:43 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: quic:// resolved external address quic:// (via
Jul 16 19:52:58 ubuntu syncthing[20161]: [QUQ7M] INFO: Detected 1 NAT service

Accessing Syncthing UI on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04

The Syncthing admin GUI is started automatically by systemd and is available on 

If the -gui-address="ip:port" option is not provided, the service will run on https://localhost:8384/

On accessing Syncthing GUI, you’re warned to set UI username and password.

install Syncthing ubuntu 01

After login you should see an interface like below:

engine ui error

If you missed to set username and password, go to Actions > Advanced to set User and Password. Also recommended to tick Use TLS for https connection only.

syncthing ubuntu 18.04 set password

Syncing data between two devices with Syncthing

For you to be able to sync data between two or more computers with Syncthing, ensure Syncthing has been installed and configured on all systems. Once setup is done,  each device must be told about the other device.

Synthing Device ID

This is accomplished by exchanging “device IDs“. A device ID is a unique, cryptographically-secure identifier that is generated as part of the key generation the first time you start Syncthing. Two devices will only connect and talk to each other if they are both configured with each other’s device ID. Obtain Device ID from Actions > Show ID

Adding Syncthing Device ID

To get your two devices to talk to each other click “Add Remote Device” at the bottom right on both, and enter the device ID of the other side.

syncthing ubuntu 18.04 add device

Also, select the folder(s) that you want to share. The device name is optional and purely cosmetic. It can be changed later if required. Once you click “Save” the new device will appear on right side of the GUI (although disconnected) and a prompt will be shown to indicate the need for a restart.

Note: The default folder being shared is ~Sync. When you have made changes like adding Sync directories, ensure you restart Syncthing on “Actions” > “Restart”.


Related guides:

Install Nextcloud on Ubuntu

Setup Pydio Cells File Server on Ubuntu

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