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    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Pi in the Sky: Setting up a Raspberry Pi based Cloud Sync Server


    We have already discussed my version of setting up a RPi. Now its times to do something useful with it. In this tutorial, we will be using the RPi as a cloud server for backing up files from anywhere securely.

    I am running a headless server hence I will be logging into my RPi using SSH. For most exercises we don't need a display attached to the RPi itself. So lets get started.

    First things first

    The first things to do before installing anything new is to update everything that is currently installed. To do this simply type;

    [code language="bash"]

    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get upgrade


    This will download updates if any.

    Get BtSync

    The next thing to do is to download the ARM build of the Bit Torrent Sync software. Even though its not open source, it can work for our task. At the terminal type

    [code language="bash"]

    mkdir ~/.btsync && cd ~/.btsync

    wget "http://btsync.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/btsync_arm.tar.gz"

    tar -xvf btsync_arm.tar.gz



    At this point you should get something like

    BitTorrent Sync forked to background. pid = 3143

    which tell us that it ran successfully.

    Space in my cloud

    Now we need to select where we can save the files that are synced. I am using a 16Gb SDcard and will be using that memory itself for my work. However, you can also use an external drive or a USB thumb drive. In order to use the thumb drive we need to do the following.

    Plug the thumb drive in to the Raspberry Pi. Open up terminal and type in:

    [code language="bash"] df -h [/code]

    You will probably find your thumbdrive is something like /dev/sda1 or /dev/sda2 in the next steps replace /dev/sda1 with what you got in the response. (A word of WARNING: the followng steps will erase everything on the drive and label it as BtSync.

    [code language="bash"]

    sudo umount /dev/sda1

    sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1 -L BtSync


    Setup BtSync

    For this step you need to know the IP address of your RPi. I set it up to be static so it is always Please replace this string with what every your RPi is at(its the IP address you used to SSH to it.)

    Using your favorite browser, navigate to ""

    Select ADD FOLDER:


    This will bring up a popup where you need to tell BTsync the location of the local folder. If you are using the thumb drive then just point there. Else if you are setting it up as I did then create a directory and select it. Click on Generate SECRET and copy that string for future reference. This will allow you to connect more devices to the cloud. In case you already have been using Btsync, you can copy the SECRET to sync those folders to the PI.

    Setting Startups

    you typically want that the BTSync should start everytime your RPi boots. In order to do that you bneed to create a BASH Script and register it with update-rc.d This is how to do exactly that. At the terminal type:

    [code language="bash"]

    sudo touch /etc/init.d/btsync

    sudo nano /etc/init.d/btsync

    #! /bin/sh

    # /etc/init.d/btsync


    # Carry out specific functions when asked to by the system

    case "$1" in





    killall btsync



    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/btsync {start|stop}"

    exit 1



    exit 0


    Do a Ctril+X to exit and then change permissions using:

    [code language="bash"]

    sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/btsync

    sudo /etc/init.d/btsync start # test that the script starts

    sudo /etc/init.d/btsync stop # test that the script stops

    sudo update-rc.d btsync defaults


    Thats it!

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