For most people with more than one computer, BTSync is a better alternative to Dropbox or Google Drive.
I've been using Dropbox for quite a while, and was always happy with it's performance and feature set. For about 18 months, I even paid $10 a month for 50gb of space, and used it for both day-to-day shared folders and for long-term archival storage.
When BitTorrent Sync was released last year, I gave it a try, and was happily surprised by how well it works. For my setup, it does everything that Dropbox does, but without storing data in the Cloud. BitTorrent Sync uses the same highly efficient transfer protocol as its namesake, but is strictly private, and can be used only between two consenting parties.
After setup, BTSync automatically syncs files between two or more computers. Since I have two or three computers that I use regularly and which stay up nearly 24x7, BTSync protects me from most any hardware failure possibility -- if the hard drive on one of my computers fails, my backed up files are safe on the one (or more) of the others. All BTSync transfers are encrypted, and their setup makes it easy to selectively sync folders on a case-by-case and computer-by-computer basis.
After a few weeks of testing, I made the plunge about 6 months ago, and made these changes to my online backup strategy:
- I moved all my long-term archival backups off of Dropbox and onto BTSync.
- I moved my portable apps folders from Dropbox to Google Drive. I have a bunch of different apps I used on regular basis that are built to run from share folders, USB sticks, etc., and Google Drive was a logical place to keep them.
- By doing #1 and #2, I was able to go back to the free, 5gb level of Dropbox, which saved me $120 per year.
I still kept my free Dropbox setup for day-to-day document storage, which was very handy in letting me access my files at home, work, or on my Nexus 7 tablet or phone.
After months of problem-free experience with BTSync, I decided last week it was time to leave Dropbox altogether. Theeir privacy policies don't sit well with me, and since there was really no need to stay, it was time to cut the cord.
I copied all my Dropbox folders over to a new folder named 'Central' -- except for the Camera Upload folder, which I archived. I set Central as a BTSync folder, and began syncing it between my various systems. Then, starting with the Desktop system at home, I uninstalled Dropbox, about one system per day, leaving the phone and tablet for the end.
I've been using this setup for a few days now, and it has worked flawlessly. To make it even easier, I moved my Apps folder from Google Drive onto Central, so now my Google Drive is used only for Google-related files, like ebooks and a few shared documents.
If you need to collaborate with others - editing and updating the same shared files in a controlled way - Dropbox or Google Drive is the way to go. For general, day-to-day backup and safe, long-term archival storage, BTSync does everything except store your files on a third-party cloud, which is actually a big plus.