Insync: The Powerful Google Drive Client For Linux


Insync is a very powerful and full featured Google Drive client for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I ran across Insync when I was looking for a Google Drive client for Linux after I kicked Dropbox to the curb and switching over to Google Drive for all my cloud storage needs.

In all honestly, if it wasn’t for the Insync client I do not think that I would have made the switch at all, as Google does not even offer a basic GUI client for Linux. Really Google?

PSA: The integration that Google Drive provides into Google Photos, Google Music, Google Docs, and Gmail is well worth the switch from Dropbox in my opinion, and 1TB for only 9 bucks a month is hard to beat (100GB is only $1.99 a month). Just having a Gmail account gives you access to 15GB of free space… so there is no reason not to give it a try.

Ok now back to the topic at hand.

Note that a personal license of the Insync Google Drive client is not free, rather it costs $15. However you can download and try it risk free and without entering any credit card info. This one time fee for a personal license allows you to run and install Insync on multiple machines. Currently I have it installed on 4 separate Linux workstations/laptops. Its well worth cash.

Installing Insync is very easy and well documented so I am not going to go into that topic here. Rather lets talk about using Insync on Linux.

Getting Started

Before I began the Insync install on my main workstation (or Google Drive Master), I first mounted up a 1TB LUN from my NAS. This device has two 1TB drives configured as RAID1. This will be the location that I store my local copy of my Google Drive.

# df -h .

Filesystem                       Size       Used    Avail     Use%  Mounted on
//    917G     114G    803G    13%     /root/Google

During the install process you are prompted to choose a “Location” and “Folder Name” for your local Google Drive. I chose the folder location that I had pre-created above for this specific purpose and allowed Insync to create the directory Google_Drive


Once configured, I started Insync which kicked off the sync process, pulling down file after file from Google Drive. A nice little icon appeared in my KDE Panel which told me what files where being synced and how main files were remaining in the sync process. You can right click on this Icon to pause the sync, start the sync, check for errors, and view the sync process. However being a fan of the CLI, I chose dig a bit deeper.

CLI Commands

So, you can also call Insync from the CLI and do a few pretty cool things as shown in the examples below.

For example you can pause the sync as shown below, lets say, for example, via cron at 8am.

# insync pause_syncing

Or you can resume the sync.

# insync resume_syncing

Or view the sync progress

# insync get_sync_progress
4414.tts (0% of 6.2 KB)
3407.jpg (0% of 188.0 KB)
9974 files queued

Or view your Google Drive account information

# insync get_account_information
Total: 1.0 TB
Drive: 101.7 GB (9.93%)
Others: 1.1 GB (0.10%)
Trash: 40.6 GB (3.97%)
Remaining: 880.6 GB (85.99%)
Folder location: /root/Google/Google_Drive
License: Plus
Export option: link

There are a slew of CLI options that you can poke around with, and a nice man page that you can reference as needed.

Master/Client Config

I am running Insync in what I call a Master/Client setup (I just made this up). Everything from the Master is synced with Google Drive and vice versa, every file added to Google Drive from any location is synced down to my Master.

What I call the clients, on the other hand, work a bit differently. Here when I install Insync on these machines/workstations I selectively choose which directories to sync locally.

Google_Drive_Diagram - Network general

Usually I tend to sync documents, scripts, and other small files onto the client machines, while choosing to exclude the 9k plus images of my kids, isos, music, and movies. However, at any point you can modify the configuration on your client and choose to sync an additional directory or two.

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