Dropbox is, in simple words, a file hosting service. It provides free 2 GB data storage for anyone who signs up on their website. It offers cloud storage and file synchronization. The best feature of Dropbox is that it provides us with a parent folder on our personal computer.
Anything we put in that folder is available through cloud service or other computers where we have our Dropbox installed. Another amazing service of Dropbox is the client software. It provides client software for popular operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and on mobile operating system such as Android, iOS, Blackberry OS etc.
I would recommend people to use Dropbox because it has a very simple user interface anyone can understand. In addition, it provides 2 GB free data storage. Granted, other services have more free storage on their shelves but Dropbox is certainly the most well-rounded of them.
Fortunately, Dropbox offers very simple pricing plans for your personal files. Here you can find an overview of this year’s pricing plans:
Over the years, Dropbox has proven itself as a reliable cloud backup service provider through continuous improvement of features and functionalities. This was possible due to venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital, Amidzad, and Accel Partners. It has effectively grown into a very large company with an employee count easily crossing 700. The company has served approximately 275 million clients and the number keeps growing at a very fast pace.
Dropbox Inc. Office Locations
- San Francisco, California (Headquarters)
- Austin, Texas (Second Office)
- MacWorld’s Editor’s Choice in 2009
- Crunchie Best Internet Application in 2009
- TechCrunch StartUp of the Year in 2012
Dropbox is for everyone. The simplicity of this service makes it usable for almost anyone who has a bit knowledge about the internet. Using this service will be a huge mistake only when one does not know the meaning of “Uploading a File”.
The Dropbox team has tried their best to make it as simple as possible. They provide range of storage space apart from the free 2 GB but it will cost extra money.
Dropbox can provide storage of 100 GB, 200 GB, and 500 GB all depending on the amount you are willing to spend on monthly basis. If someone needs more than 500 GB then there is “Dropbox for business” as well.
Update 2015: Dropbox now offers one easy plan: 1TB storage space for 9.99$/mo.
Even the free account is useful if we are just planning to back up small files such as texts, pictures, routines, presentation files and lots more because a lot of space is given even for a free account.
Or think about sharing files with your friends, family and colleagues. It is all possible for free with Dropbox. If you think this review is biased, you might be right as I’m a Dropbox evangelist for quite some time. Yet, I think you’ll get some useful information out of it if you don’t already use it or if you’re currently using a different cloud storage solution (shame on you).
Basic Business Model
Dropbox works on a freemium-based model where basic users are offered a free account with 2GB storage space. You might think 2GB space is not sufficient for storing large amounts of media files, such as photos and videos. However, the beauty of Dropbox is that it keeps offering additional storage space when you use some of its specific features. The obvious question that will now appear in your mind is “what are the various ways to boost the storage space for your Dropbox account?”
Let’s check out some of the popular methods below:
- Dropbox offers 500MB additional storage space for every friend or colleague (referral) that you successfully refer to the Dropbox service. There is a limit of 16GB space, which can be assigned to your account for successful Dropbox referrals.
- Another method to get additional storage is to link your Dropbox account to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Once linked, you’ll receive an additional 125MB storage space for each network.
- You can obtain another 3GB space by simply enabling the ‘camera upload’ functionality to automatically backup photos or videos (from mobile devices) to the cloud.
- You are also entitled to 250MB additional backup space when you take a tour of the Dropbox Basics.
Dropbox File Sharing, Deletion, and Synchronization
It is important to understand the simple process through which any computer user can start sharing files online via their Dropbox folder. The Dropbox software license is per user and not per system. The best part about Dropbox is its compatibility with most operating systems. Some important tips to use for Dropbox file sharing and synchronization tools are listed below:
- To start using Dropbox, install its client on any Windows PC, Linux desktop, or Mac you wish to sync files on.
- Then, create a Dropbox account (if you haven’t already) and use it to sign in to all your devices.
- You should have a “Dropbox” folder created on your device’s hard drive or primary storage.
Now, simply drag and drop files from your PC (that you want to store in your Dropbox cloud account) into the Dropbox folder. This automatically synchronizes these files with your other computers where you have logged in with the same account. If you do not want the files to synchronize automatically across all your devices, you can use the Selective Sync feature for individual Dropbox clients. Moreover, files shared through Dropbox are also available when you are offline.
Any of the files or folders stored in your Dropbox account can be shared with other people using simple sharing options. To access these options, simply right-click on any of the folders that you wish to share.
When you click on the ‘Share this folder’ option for one of your Dropbox folders, a pop-up lets you specify whom you want to share it with.
Retrieving lost files with Dropbox
Dropbox has a feature where it saves a history of deleted items and previous versions of files for until 30 days and if Packrat (an add-on for Dropbox) is installed then Dropbox will save your file versions forever. Data can be recovered though the application of Dropbox and by clicking on “Show deleted Files” and hitting the restore button.
However, it has to be within 30 days of the deleted date unless one is using “Packrat”. Now called “Extended Version History”. Advanced users can also recover deleted items through cache folder within Dropbox. The speed of recovery depends a lot on your internet connection. It should be, however, quite fast if you’re using Cable. In our tests, we couldn’t max out our connection speed in our office, so the bottleneck certainly were Dropbox’s servers.
How does Dropbox compare?
If we talk about competition then Mozy is a pure online backup service whereas Dropbox provides synchronization and somewhat backup like features, although we do not recommend using Dropbox for serious backup tasks. Carbonite is not a free service but Dropbox is. Carbonite has some features that Dropbox lacks though. There are options for private encryption keys, backup scheduling and looking up files.
Nevertheless, files stored in Dropbox can be synchronized across multiple computers, it has no file size limits and there is no free trial because you can use free 2GB version until it is maxed out. So choosing between these two, all depends upon one’s preferences.
Dropbox is left behind by the numerous features that Crashplan has to offer. There are so many features that Crashplan provides which Dropbox does simply not have, like simple backup scheduling. BUT Dropbox is not designed to be a backup program. If you want a simple way to sync your files across your devices, access your photos on your mobile and already have a backup routine in place, Dropbox may be a good start.
A cool gimmick Dropbox offers is increasing your free storage with referrals. If somebody signs up a Dropbox account through you then you will get 500 MB extra space.
Dropbox is not only syncing service but also a sharing service. It allows its users to share data and access them through different means such as other personal computers, tablets, laptops, mobile phones etc. which none of the other services such as Backblaze or Crashplan offer.
Sharing in Dropbox is very easy and fast as files are already in the Dropbox. There is also a feature called “Favorites” in mobile devices where one can save the uploaded files in their favorites section so that it can be easily accessed.
To be very clear, choosing between Dropbox and other services such as Mozy, Carbonite, Crashplan etc. all comes down to two points. First is the fact that if one is willing to pay for cloud storage.
If not, then Dropbox will be the right choice for you because other listed services do not give free space or only in a very limited fashion. The second fact is file sharing. Only Dropbox has the file sharing feature among all the listed alternatives. If one does not care about accessing stored files through multiple computers and mobile devices then Dropbox will not be the right choice.
Other services provide more features than Dropbox. Personally, if file sharing is not a big issue then I would like to recommend CrashPlan or Backblaze over Dropbox but for ease-of-use, simplicity and quickness, Dropbox would be the better choice.
|Free Storage||2 GB|
|Price||Starts from $ 9.99 per month|
|Free External HD Backup|
|Bare Metal Backup|
|Exclude File Extensions for Backup|
|File Size Limit||Unlimited GB|
|Share Photo Albums|
|Server Side Encryption||256-bit|
|Keeps deleted files||30|