BitTorrent Sync on a VPS is a bad idea

Recently I’ve moved to BitTorrent Sync to help keep my data synced. In my searching around I saw a handful of blog posts and guides showing how to sync your data onto a “cloud” by using a VPS. This is great in theory but in real life I wouldn’t trust this at all.

I wouldn’t use a VPS for BitTorrent Sync if you sync large amounts of data because of the cost of disk space.

You have just created an expensive limit for yourself. The benefit of BitTorrent Sync is that there is no limit to the space you have. VPS typically do not come with much space though. If you want to sync your pictures or back them up with Dropbox you can get 100GB for $10/mo. Considering a reliable backup solution like Rsync.net would cost $0.32/GB/mo (100GB == $32/mo) thats not too bad for storage.

DigitalOcean was referenced a number of times because of their fast SSD disks they offer with their $5 VPS. That is all great but for $5/mo you just bought yourself 20GB of storage. This is more than the free Dropbox plan gets you but if you have a large amount of data or backup pictures/videos 20GB doesn’t get you far. 80GB would cost you $80/mo. Even their highest plan ($960/mo) only gets you 960GB of space.

I prefer Linode for my own VPS. $20/mo gets you 48GB of space, and 100GB is (pretty much) achievable with their $40/mo plan at 96GB. Still to get to the 2TB limit I will have on my own server it would cost $800/mo for 1920GB.

Low end dedicated servers with large hard drives are cheap!

My suggestion: Go to WebHostingTalk or another source for deals on dedicated servers and find a cheap server with a large hard drive. You may not get the same CPU performance out of an Atom compared to a low end Linode but for a data server do you need high CPU performance?

My Server

My own data server will have:

  • Dual quad core Intel Xeon processors
  • 16GB RAM
  • 4x 1TB SATA hard drives in RAID10 (hardware not software RAID)
  • 1 Gigabit uplink

The cost of this server is comporable considering the amount of data I expect to have syncing compared against the price of Dropbox and the other alternatives. You may at first think it is expensive but because the hardware is a few years old it costs me just over $50/mo 😉