Dropbox vs WeTransfer: Which Service Is Best For Sharing Your Files?

WeTransfer and Dropbox are both great – and fundamentally different – file sharing services. To help you decide which one is better, we’ve compared them across four rounds in this WeTransfer vs Dropbox clash of file transferring services.

Vladimir Sumina
By Vladimir Sumina (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-09-21T16:28:24+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

With files becoming larger and larger, we require a reliable and straightforward way to transfer them via the internet. WeTransfer and Dropbox are two cloud services that enable you to do just that. In this WeTransfer vs Dropbox showdown, we will be taking a look at both services to see which one is better suited for file sharing.

Key Takeaways:

  • WeTransfer and Dropbox are great file sharing services that work in completely different ways. WeTransfer is an easy-to-use free file transfer service, while Dropbox is a standard cloud storage service.
  • The fact that you can use WeTransfer without registering for an account makes it a natural choice for personal users looking to quickly transfer large files. Dropbox is a more feature-rich app that’s better suited to professional users and those who want more control over their file transfers.
  • Both services have free versions, so you can always try them out to see which one you prefer.

Before we get started, we have to point out that we won’t be going as in-depth as we would in a typical review, but rather comparing these two services with one another. If you are interested in learning more about each service on its own, we invite you to read our Dropbox review and WeTransfer review.

  • You can use it completely free. Even better, you can transfer your files without making an account. Please note that you will be limited to 2GB of files on the free version.

  • It has several important security features. Files in transit are protected with a TLS encryption protocol, while files stored on its servers are AES 256-bit encrypted. Registered account users — both free and paid — can turn on two-factor authentication for additional security, and the Pro plan also allows you to password protect your sent files.

  • It depends on your choice of email service. For example, if you’re using an unencrypted file transfer service like Gmail, then using WeTransfer might end up being more secure, since Google scans all your files during upload (allegedly for virus protection). However, WeTransfer retains the right to scan your files, as well as scan, block or delete your information if it receives a tip that you’re using its services for something illegal.

WeTransfer vs Dropbox: A File Sharing Showdown

WeTransfer and Dropbox are two very different cloud services that focus on doing completely different things. Where WeTransfer is all about easy file transfers, Dropbox is a cloud storage service that can share files (but also do so much more).

We will be comparing the services across several rounds — file sharing, pricing, ease of use, and security and privacy. Although we won’t be awarding points or declaring an overall winner at the end, we will still acknowledge a service that is obviously superior in a specific category. Now, let’s find out which one service you should use for file sharing.

1. File Sharing

WeTransfer and Dropbox both have their share of pros and cons when it comes to their features and approaches. On the one hand, WeTransfer is simple to use and you can send up to 2GB of files for free. On the other hand, Dropbox has more features, but it’s more complicated and its best sharing tools are only available on its paid plans.

There are two ways to send files in WeTransfer. The first option is to create a download link (which is active for seven days on the free version), and anyone with this link will be able to download these files. The second way is by sending a download link via email. Our step-by-step guide on how to use WeTransfer explains this process from start to finish.

wetransfer get a link
In WeTransfer, you can transfer files via email or by creating a download link.

Since Dropbox is a cloud storage provider, it takes a different approach (check out our beginner’s guide on how to use Dropbox). You first need to upload your files to the cloud before you can share them, and they’ll stay in your account until you delete them. Then, you can specify which files you want to share from your account.

With Dropbox, you can also control the permission levels of the people you share your files with, meaning you can let the recipient edit, comment or just view your files. Plus, you can disable downloads and set an expiry date for sharing links, though these features are only available on certain paid plans.

dropbox-share
Dropbox gives you a lot of tools for sharing your files.

Dropbox also lets you share folders, which allows the recipient to upload or edit existing files, though they can only do that if they’re a Dropbox user. You can also create “file requests,” where you designate a folder to act as an upload folder. The recipient of the request can then upload content to the folder, even if they don’t have an account.

Simplicity vs Flexibility

Once you’ve shared a file in Dropbox, you can collaborate with the recipient on a file in Google Docs or OneDrive — but again, the other person must be a Dropbox user.

Sharing files on Dropbox isn’t a particularly demanding process, and it offers some very useful features if you need to collaborate on shared files online. However, it might be overkill if you just need to share a file right now and don’t care about collaboration or cloud storage.

WeTransfer has streamlined the entire thing into something so understandable that even people who aren’t tech-savvy can easily figure it out — without even having to log in. It all comes down to how you want to share your files and whether you are prepared to pay for this.

2. Pricing

The big differences between WeTransfer and Dropbox continue in the pricing round as well. WeTransfer has just one paid plan, while Dropbox has several pricing plans that are further divided into personal and work categories. They both have free versions that we will also check out.

Again, it is difficult to determine which service gives you more value in this regard. Certainly, if all you need to do is transfer files for free and without much hassle, WeTransfer is much better suited for this task.

However, if you want a cloud storage provider that can be used for file sharing as well as collaboration purposes, then Dropbox is the superior of the two. It should be noted, though, that neither of these sharing services made our list of best cloud storage deals.

WeTransfer Pricing

WeTransfer’s paid plan is called WeTransfer Pro and it costs $12 a month ($120 on a yearly plan). This plan raises the transfer limit to 20GB, gives you 1TB of cloud storage and features like password protection and custom expiration dates. You can also choose to have your files remain available for download indefinitely.

wetransfer pricing
WeTransfer has a paid plan — Pro — and a free plan.

Dropbox Pricing

Dropbox’s paid plans are a lot more complicated. We have a great article on Dropbox pricing that goes over each of them, so we won’t be going into too much detail here. To start with, its pricing is divided into two categories: personal and work. 

Personal is oriented toward individual users, while the work plans are geared toward businesses. The personal category is further divided into the Basic free plan, the Plus plan and the Family plan.

The Plus plan is priced at $11.99 a month ($9.99 a month if paid yearly) for a single user. For this price, you get 2TB of cloud storage and other perks such as the ability to sync across unlimited devices. You can send up to 2GB per file transfer.

The Family plan costs $19.99 ($16.99 when billed yearly) a month and is similar to the Plus plan, with the difference being that you can have up to six users on it.

dropbox pricing personal
Dropbox’s personal plan is intended for personal users and is divided into the Plus plan and Family plan.

The work category (different from Dropbox Business — read our full Dropbox Business review) has four pricing plans centered around company use: the Basic free plan, the Professional plan, the Standard plan and the Advanced plan.

The Professional plan ($19.99 a month) comes with 3TB of cloud storage, and through it you can send a massive 100GB file transfer. The Standard plan ($45 per month) allows for three users and increases the cloud storage to 5TB, though you’re limited to just 2GB per file transfer. Finally, the Advanced plan ($75 per month) provides unlimited storage and file transfers of up to 100GB for three users.

dropbox pricing work
Dropbox’s work plan is intended for professional users and is divided into the Professional, Standard and Advanced plans.

WeTransfer and Dropbox Free Plans

Just like WeTransfer, Dropbox has a free version. However, while WeTransfer was designed around free use, Dropbox’s free plan — called Basic — isn’t suitable for large file transfers. On WeTransfer’s free version, you can transfer up to 2GB at once. In comparison, Dropbox gives you a mere 100MB per file transfer.

Dropbox also comes with 2GB of cloud storage space on its Basic plan, but this isn’t anything to write home about. As you can see in our best free cloud storage list, you can raise this to 16GB with referrals, but you will need to refer a lot of people before you can reach this cap. For example, Google Drive has 15GB on its free plan, right out of the box, and MEGA.nz offers 50GB in its first month.

3. Ease of Use

If there’s one area where things are cut and dried in this comparison, it’s this one. WeTransfer absolutely nails the ease-of-use aspect of its design. Although Dropbox is by no means difficult to use, it’s still more complex than WeTransfer. You don’t have to set up an account, and you don’t even have to give out your email address in order to start sharing files on WeTransfer. 

Dropbox is a more traditional cloud storage service, which means that you need to register and create a Dropbox account before you can begin using it for file transfers. Both services can be accessed via web browser and also come with mobile apps. Dropbox has a desktop app for Windows, macOS and Linux computers, while WeTransfer only has a macOS desktop app.

dropbox desktop app
Dropbox has a web app, a mobile app and a desktop app.

WeTransfer and Dropbox have very appealing and well-designed user interfaces, though, as we said at the beginning of this round, WeTransfer is the easier to use of the two. Few services can even hope to compare in this regard, as it is one of the easiest services we’ve ever used.

4. Security & Privacy

WeTransfer and Dropbox have fairly comparable security features. Both of these products use AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest and TLS encryption for data when it is in transit. Likewise, both services have two-factor authentication, a very important security feature. Of course, in order to use this feature on WeTransfer, you first need to make a Dropbox account.

Dropbox has seen its fair share of controversy when it comes to security and privacy. Its privacy policy clearly states that Dropbox can access your personal information and share it with its third-party affiliates, such as Amazon Web Services and Google.

WeTransfer bases its privacy on a “good behavior” principle. This means that it expects you to use its services in a legal and ethical manner. However, because WeTransfer isn’t zero knowledge, it can still scan your uploaded files, but says it will do so only if it thinks you’re breaking the law or its rules.

Neither service has zero-knowledge encryption and it is our recommendation that you use additional security measures when using them for file transfers. We advocate combining these services with a private encryption service like Boxcryptor and a quality VPN in order to mask your location. We have a great Dropbox alternatives article if you are looking for more secure cloud storage services.

Conclusion: Dropbox vs WeTransfer

Bottom line, WeTransfer and Dropbox are very different from one another, so which one is the better product for you depends on your preferences and the features you’re looking for from your file transfer service. 

If all you wish for is a quick and effortless way to transfer files for free, then WeTransfer is the better choice. However, if you also want a cloud storage service that’s great for collaboration and businesses, and are ready to pay for it, Dropbox is the way to go.

We hope that you have found this Dropbox vs WeTransfer comparison useful and that you will now be able to choose the best one for you and your personal or professional needs. Have you ever used WeTransfer or Dropbox? Which one do you prefer for file transfers and why? Or do you use other Dropbox or WeTransfer alternatives? Tell us in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.