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Looking for a good protocol to transfer media files

Hi everyone,

I currently own a Raspberry pi 3B+ with the latest Debian-Buster installed. I am currently using this as a pihole, tor proxy, pivpn and emby media server. currently, I have my media files stored on a USB stick that is attached to the Raspberry pi which is mounted and accessible to the emby server.

Unfortunately buy you need premium to use the “download to” option to transfer files to the server. Currently, I am using SFTP to do this instead but of course, this is slow.

So what I am looking for is an alternative to SFTP and it needs to do the following;

  1. Transfer files from one system to the location where the media files are located, with a faster transfer speed than SFTP.
  2. I would like this to be accessible regardless of the OS like Linux, Windows and Android (accessible via android media player apps like Neutron).
  3. It has to be lightweight on the raspberry pi

I have tried SMB but found its a bit heavy on resources, but maybe there is a way to make it lighter. I also tried getting NFS working but it seems I am not getting anywhere with that.

Thanks in advance!


Your transfer speeds will only be as fast as your connection speed, no matter what protocol you use.

Differential sync makes it quicker by only transmitting changes, rather than copying the file each time the push is run.


When you’re saying SFTP is slow, can you define what “slow” is for you? Because FTP should be one of the faster ones especially with large files considering it’s more or less made for that purpose. It could just be that the RasPi just can’t handle the throughput.

Also, I don’t know how big your Emby library is but you might want to look into Jellyfin, it’s a fork of Emby.

rsync won’t really help much for downloading whole episodes tho…


If you dont want command line stuff, and would rather have a webUI, try syncthing


syncthing’s handy on the command line, too. :wink:

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Hi guys,

I thank you all for your help on this,

I am giving syncthing a go, unfortunately getting it to keep on running on the raspberry pi seems a nightmare, I had to run it with sudo, although it gives me a warning doing this.

Does anyone have any idea why running syncthing without Sudo ends up being killed after a few mins on my raspberry pi?

How are you running it? Manually running the binary in the terminal?

I run it via systemd sudo systemctl start [email protected]

sftp is encrypted and the Pi may not be keeping up with the crypto. possibly. Or maybe it’s many small files and the re-establishment of transfers is taking a lot of overhead.

Or maybe the USB port is slow?

Could be any of the three, yes. Hence why I’m asking. Though he did mention media files, so it shouldn’t be many small files. And even if it were, most FTP servers support zipping on the fly, but that again might boggle down the Pi…

Had this problem once. Check if you have the latest version. You can get them via PPAs at the official website.

Pi is slow by nature … Instead of SFTP try FTPS or just use https with some lightweight php script to list files and upload option.