Is Dropbox Really Free?

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Does Dropbox work?Dropbox is one of the more popular file backup and sharing services out there. It says that it’s a free way to bring everything with you and simplify your life. It’s important to note that if you are looking for something to back up your entire computer, this might not be the best way, as it is mostly geared towards saving multimedia files like videos, photos, and music. The emphasis is on sharing your files, and bringing them with you wherever you go. So let’s see if it’s worth signing up for.

Overview
Dropbox is one of the more approachable filesharing services out there, with an easy to use interface, and easy-to-understand pricing structure. It’s got that Web 2.0 feel to it, which makes it instantly endearing. But once you get over how elegant it operates, does it really bring anything to the table that you don’t already have? It’s not like it is doing anything remarkable, YouTube has made it easy to store and share videos, there are plenty of photo sharing sites that double as a way to back up your priceless pictures, and storing your music online is something that is easy enough to do with other services. Perhaps their only saving grace is that they do all of this in one place.

The Claim
Dropbox says that that you’ll never have to e-mail yourself a file ever again. If you have gotten into the habit of e-mailing yourself important files, you’ve already got experience using cloud technology. You realize that by sending yourself the file to your e-mail you would be able to access it from any computer on the planet, download the file to any local machine, and access it whenever you needed. You trust that the e-mail is keeping your file secure, and you’re not really sure where it’s being stored, or how the e-mail provider is able to give you so much storage for all of your e-mail for free.

The Hype
This is one of the most popular file storing and sharing services out there, and is the one that is most often referenced in a conversation about storing files in the cloud, and backing up important data. But it’s not easy to see why, because all of what they do has been done for years.

The Cost
Dropbox bills itself as being free, and to a point they’re right. You can get a quick 2GB just for signing up, but they will also give you an additional 500MB for each person you refer to their service, up to a total of 18GB. So if you don’t feel very promotional, you are stuck with your 2GB which as we all know doesn’t hold a whole heck of a lot.

If you go with one of their paid programs, you will be paying $10 per month for 50GB, or $20 a month for 100GB. Both of these programs would give you a full gigabyte more for each referral that you send them, up to an additional 32GB.

The Commitment
Once you get signed up with their service, it’s now a matter of getting the files you want to store and share uploaded into the cloud. After that it should make it easier for you to share your files with friends, or access them while you’re on the go.

Evaluation
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Dropbox but it doesn’t really sell us on the fact that it’s necessary above and beyond what you already have available to you with other services. If you have Gmail, you have a Google account. You can upload your videos to YouTube, upload your music to Google Music, upload your photos to Picasa, and put your documents and any other file on Google Drive. Access all of it with an Android phone and we’re having trouble seeing the advantage of going with 2GB and downloading additional software.

As far as using DropBox to backup your entire computer, it’s not really as equipped for the job as other competing services. If you’re like many people you probably have over 100GB of miscellaneous files, and therefore the cap on their bigger plan is still too small, and the price is not right either. You can get an unlimited backup plan with Carbonite and not have to worry about going over your limit or paying extra. SOS Online Backup stresses how fast they are at getting your files uploaded to the cloud. Both of these services keep your computer backed up in real time with each file you create, so it’s set it up once and then forget about it. They both also have apps to access your files from plenty of different devices.

Final Dropbox Review

It’s hard to see why Dropbox is popular, because their service is very similar to Google Drive which starts you out with more than twice as much storage, lets you upload any file, and lets you access it from any computer with an Internet connection. Not only that but it plays nice with other Google services like Calendar and Android phones.

Our Recommendation
If you already have a Google account, you already have Google Drive and you can start using it immediately to start storing videos, music, documents, and any other file that can be transmitted through an upload. They give you 5GB to start off with instead of the puny 2 from Dropbox, and you don’t even have to refer any friends to up your storage.

What do you think? Does Dropbox work or not?

8 Customer Reviews on “Is Dropbox Really Free?

  1. Having used these types of services before it’s good to use when you want to share files among people that are a part of a niche forum and don’t want it to be linked back to you personally. I haven’t used Dropbox per se but I have used similar service called 4shared to share files (usually audio ones). We were using it to share files privately among each other and only public on the niche forum we were a part of. It’s great if you have something to share but don’t want to use Google or are targeting certain group of people.

  2. Dropbox is a program I use daily! I work from home and use it to quickly share files with clients across the world. I have been a dropbox user for over 2 years for this purpose and until about 5 months ago I was able to get by with the free 2GB limit plus the storage I earned from referals.

    One of the best things about Dropbox is that I can edit a document on my computer then hop on my ipad and pull up and edit the same documents. I can even pull documents up on my iPhone! This is one of those services that once you begin using it you become a convert, never to return to the world of having to save to USB or even worse email documents!

  3. I work from home and therefore I use the service on a day to day basis. I have a number of Microsoft Word and Excel docs that need to be backed-up several times a day. It’s much easier than having to remember you USB drive. When I first started the service I got 2GB free. You can earn more storage space by referring friends/colleagues. You can also purchase more storage space if needed. I’ve been using Dropbox for more than 1 year now. It’s never ideal to have to utilize a web-based back-up service, but Dropbox comes pretty close, which is much easier than using a memory stick. It was much faster to use Dropbox then to send a document to my friend, whom was sitting right next to me. That’s saying something for me, who isn’t the best at uploading and downloading! I need to say that I love dropbox!

  4. The free program seems like a good deal. I don’t really have big files to backup and it’s mostly transaction details and scans of physical contracts. I send them to my email to make sure I have a virtual copy, but they get lost in the hundreds of messages I get after I mail myself the documents. 2GB’s more than enough for my use for now. Nice review, thanks.

    1. I use the free program as well and I like it a lot. In fact I use it every week. What I like with Dropbox is that you can also use it on your phone if you download the free app. If you ever have more files to upload and you don’t want to go for the paid version; you can also send the link to others to tell them about the service and Dropbox will provide you with more space as people use your personalized link to sign up for a free account. This is a great way to increase the space without having to pay. Let me know if you decide to try it.

    2. The free program is fine if you have really small files to upload. I usually have to transfer large files, such as high quality photos and videos, to clients and friends because I work at a photo/video studio. The problem that I have run into more than once, though, is that even when I am within the limits set by the free Dropbox account, I sometimes am still unable to get the files to my friends. They go to open them on their end and are unsuccessful. I’ve had to opt for similar services from other companies instead as a result.

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