While most of the best cloud storage solutions come with sync clients of their own, sometimes a technophile just wants a more autonomous, DIY approach. For those occasions, one solution is to roll with a cloud sync tool, and one of the best cloud sync tools is GoodSync.
GoodSync isn’t aimed at the layman, although it isn’t nearly as difficult to use as it first appears, either. What little learning curve there is well worth the small effort of surmounting it, too, as GoodSync works with a variety of cloud providers like Amazon S3, Backblaze B2 and Microsoft Azure.
On top of that, GoodSync supports P2P sync, multi-threaded sync, private end-to-end encryption, WebDAV and several other excellent features. Basically, it’s what those in the elusive redneck-nerd demographic like to call “wicked cool.”
Coming up in this GoodSync review, we’ll look at the licensing costs, features and user experience to help you decide if you should add it to your cloud toolbox. For those that want to try it out, you can sign up for a free version of GoodSync online. For those in need of a simpler sync approach, our cloud storage reviews library has plenty of all-in-one solutions that’ll do the trick.
GoodSync isn’t a cloud storage solution, rather, but a cloud sync tool. It differs from the services mentioned in our best cloud storage with sync guide in that there’s no server space provided with purchase. Rather, GoodSync is a universal sync app that lets you connect to multiple different cloud providers, synchronizing content between them and your devices.
There are several advantages to this approach, such as storing all of your cloud data in a single place, which in turn makes it easier to configure backup plans using services like those mentioned in our best online backup guide.
GoodSync can do more than just sync files between computer and cloud, too. One of our favorite features is P2P technology that will let you sync files directly between your computers, cutting out the cloud as a middleman. This approach leads to faster syncs, plus provides a bit more assurance of security for those that would rather keep certain files off of the cloud.
You can also establish relationships directly between cloud services, similar to what you can do with MultCloud and other cloud-to-cloud sync solutions.
One-way file copy relationships are an option, as well, which lets you backup files. However, as a backup solution, GoodSync doesn’t have nearly as much firepower for that task as another choose-your-own-cloud service, CloudBerry Backup (read our CloudBerry Backup review).
One of our biggest quibbles with GoodSync is the absence of mobile clients for Android and iOS. You can still sync those devices, but doing so requires a direct USB connection to your computer. Check out our best cloud storage for Android guide for some user-friendly mobile sync options.
Another concern with GoodSync is that the list of supported cloud services isn’t very long. For cloud IaaS services, that list includes Amazon S3, Backblaze B2 and Azure. You can also sync to Wasabi (read our Wasabi review), one of the most affordable hot storage solutions, by using the Amazon S3 connector option.
Additionally, there are a handful of cloud storage services you can connect to with GoodSync, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box.com.
The overall list is disappointing, but thanks to a WebDAV option, you can expand your options to cloud services with WebDAV support, like pCloud and HiDrive (read our HiDrive review). FTP/SFTP is also supported, and you can install a GoodSync client on your own server to build an in-house sync system, if you have the money (see pricing, next section).
As a security precaution, the GoodSync client can be used to encrypt files client-side using the AES protocol, which is set to 256 bits.
If you activate this option, files will be encrypted end-to-end and only you will know the encryption password. That means the cloud provider you use won’t be able to decrypt files itself, whether to scan for copyrighted content, hand files over to government surveillance programs like PRISM or for other purposes.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that GoodSync is pretty much exclusively a sync tool. For file sharing or other collaboration options, you’ll want to look elsewhere, like to Storage Made Easy, a great cloud tool for collaboration that also has many more storage options than GoodSync. Check out our Storage Made Easy review for more information.
We’ll cover the general GoodSync setup process in more detail when taking a look at user experience, later, including looking at some additional features like multithreaded sync and file compression.
GoodSync has licenses for both personal and business use. Each license is good for life, but also only good for one device.
|GoodSync Personal:||GoodSync2Go:||GoodSync Linux/NAS:||GoodSync for Server:||GoodSync File Server:|
|Note:||Good for one computer||Good for one portable drive||Good for one computer or NAS device||Good for one Windows or Linux server||Unlimited users and connections. One license per computer|
The personal costs are reasonable, though obviously if you’re going to be setting up P2P syncs with multiple devices that price will rise quickly.
The server costs are substantially more expensive. Unless you’re completely smitten with P2P synchronization, if you’re looking for a business solution you’ll probably find more value (and versatility) with one of our best enterprise sync and share recommendations.
User Experience 75/100
GoodSync isn’t for the technophobe. Unlike a traditional cloud storage service, it takes some elbow grease to get it working. However, with a little pluck, you can get through it all unscathed. Coming up, we’ll help lay the groundwork to do just that, though we won’t be looking at server setup in this piece.
To sync files using your cloud provider as the middleman, start the GoodSync app. If you don’t have any jobs setup yet, you’ll be prompted to do that with two options: sync and backup.
Enter a job name, choose sync and click “next” to proceed. This will open the main GoodSync application, where the fun really begins.
To define a sync relationship between your computer and the cloud, you’ll need to make use of the two folder icons near the top of the client.
Either folder icon actually has multiple options available, in fact. While we’re going to establish a path between a folder on our hard drive and a folder in the cloud, you could setup P2P syncs (GoodSync Connect), cloud-to-cloud syncs, connections to mobile devices, etc.
For the left folder, we picked a new folder on our hard drive that we created and called “GoodSyncTest.”
If you want to, you can select multiple folders for synchronization at once, which will save you from having to set up several different sync jobs.
For the right folder icon, we selected the cloud provider we decided to use for our tests, Amazon S3. To establish the connection, GoodSync needs to be fed an access key ID and access key, which can be obtained directly from your Amazon AWS account via the “security credentials” link near the top of GUI.
We have a beginner’s guide for Amazon S3 if you’d like a bit more help obtaining those credentials. The process is similar for connecting to Azure and Backblaze B2, while if you use a traditional cloud storage service to pair with GoodSync, like Google Drive, there’s no API key to enter: you just need to sign in with your normal account credentials.
Once the Amazon S3 key credentials are entered, it’s just a matter of hitting the green “go” arrow in the top-right corner of the GoodSync client to establish a connection. Provided that’s successful, any Amazon S3 buckets you’ve created will be shown.
If you haven’t created any buckets yet in S3, you’ll need to do so, as they act as repositories for your cloud folders and files. Our Amazon S3 guide will show you how to do that as well.
Select the bucket you want, or better yet drill down and select a folder in that bucket. Click “ok” when you’re ready to go, the path will be established.
The next step is to click the “analyze” button, prompting the client to examine the contents of both your file system folders and cloud folder, looking for differences in content.
Once finished, GoodSync supplies a helpful report of differences between your left and right folders.
From the file list below, you can right-click and exclude objects from the sync job if you want, as well as certain file types. For broader control, you can also click on the “options” button, then choose “filters” from the right-side menu. This will give you the option to add inclusions and exclusions based on strings of text, such as file suffixes (e.g., .txt, .docx, .tmp). That’s an advantage you won’t get with most cloud storage sync clients.
There are many other options available, too. For example, you can disable two-way sync to treat the process like a backup job, choose to save deleted items in your recycle bin (last version) or a history folder (multiple versions), turn on file compression and set a sync delay. GoodSync also lets you set a speed limit to reduce bandwidth impacts or run parallel sync speeds to crank things up.
Once you’ve got everything tweaked just right, click the “sync” button to kick off the process. The client will keep you apprised of the progress. If you don’t feel like waiting around, you can close the client and GoodSync will continue running in the background.
Going forward, all you need to do is drop your files in the folder you created on your computer to sync them with the cloud and any other devices you’ve connected. See, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?
If you do run into trouble, GoodSync provides several avenues of support to help find your way. That includes telephone support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday for paying customers. For those that prefer written correspondence, 24×7 email support is also offered.
We shot a test email off to support to test response time on a Sunday, and we got a response back in within 12 hours, which is pretty good. For those that prefer a more DIY approach, GoodSync maintains a knowledge base online. Resources include a tutorial page, FAQ page and a more detailed manual, though it isn’t searchable.
GoodSync is a fine choice for the DIY techies who just need a sync tool. The interface takes a bit of getting used to, but the opportunities for computer-to-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and especially P2P synchronization are impressive. We didn’t test the server sync capabilities but they look like a good feature for anyone looking to put together an on-premise synchronization system.
GoodSync isn’t a solution for users looking for broader cloud capabilities like file sharing. For that, we’d again point to Storage Made Easy as a solution if you want to tie a bunch of cloud providers together, or any of the recommendations in our best cloud storage guide if you want to keep life simple. We’d also like to see GoodSync offer smartphone clients, as well as a browser-based GUI.
That’s our take, anyway. Let us know what you think of GoodSync in the comments below and thanks for reading.