Unlike traditional online storage providers that boast primarily about their online backup features, Dropbox prides itself on its file sharing capabilities, while the company’s online backup services serve as more of a secondary benefit to the company’s principal service. Nevertheless, users looking for a combination of these features, and even those who only need online backup services, will be quite satisfied with Dropbox’s convenient, easy to use service which certainly does back up files automatically. This ensures that they will be available even in the event of a computer crash or unexpected accident. All that said, Dropbox is widely considered the “king” of online backup/cloud storage/file sharing. Is this all marketing fluff or do they live up to their reputation? Let’s take a look:
To learn more about Dropbox, visit Dropbox.com.
In addition to providing unrivaled file sharing services, Dropbox also provides its users with access to their files from virtually any computer or mobile device, which makes it an excellent option for anyone who wants to retrieve their files on the go without saving the latest copy on a USB key or other mobile storage device. Those who choose to use Dropbox for its file sharing capabilities will appreciate that they get a discrete but noticeable popup each time a shared file is updated, a feature that makes it easy to track the creative process if necessary.
Other helpful features include:
- Works on all Mac, Windows, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices
- File versioning for one month
- Ability to undelete files
- Unlimited undo history for all files (available for an additional fee
Note that just about all of these features are offered on their free 2GB version, which is truly a game changer. However, most people will need more than 2GB of storage space, and Dropbox does not disappoint here. The upgraded (paid) version used to come with 50GB of space. However, Dropbox recently upgraded this to 1TB on the basic paid version – more than enough space for just about any individual user. Overall, you likely will not find better features through any other service provider.
Ease of Use
There are two things that truly set Dropbox apart from its competitors. The first is the impressive amount of free storage space available, and the second is its completely straightforward user interface. Downloading Dropbox takes seconds, and sharing files requires only a few clicks. Files can be accessed directly from your computer’s taskbar, or from the Dropbox website, and users can easily adjust the notifications they wish to receive so that they stay informed about their account without being overburdened by announcements.
Dropbox provides helpful video tutorials which explain to users how to perform basic functions such as sharing files, leaving potential users with little uncertainty (if any) about how to use the service. Lastly, we appreciated the ability to share files with a note, and to choose from their mail contacts of Facebook friends. Overall, using Dropbox was entirely enjoyable and we didn’t miss the stress we felt when testing other online backup services that had only a limited amount of storage space.
In addition to providing a generous free plan that includes up to 2GB of free online backup (users can earn extra storage space for recommending Dropbox to their friends), Dropbox has two paid plans: the Pro plan and the Business plan. The Pro plan is available in 100GB, 200GB or 500GB allotments. The 100GB plan costs $99/year, or you can strecth it into monthly payments that will run you $9.99/month. Pricing for the Business plan, which has 5TB (for 5 users) of backup space for up to five computers, is available upon request.
Like many top online backup providers, Dropbox uses 256-bit encryption to ensure that all files are backed up as securely as possible. Dropbox users can protect their files further by marking them as private, rather than making them public. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that at times, some users would benefit from sharing a file via Dropbox specifically because of the ability to make it public, so that a larger audience can access it if necessary. Moreover, Dropbox has one of the most advanced security systems we’ve seen, requiring users to input a custom password each time they try to access their Dropbox folder from a new device. In these circumstances, the password is sent via SMS to the user and he or she must insert it in order to access their folder. This form of security made us feel highly protected against hackers and was a refreshing upgrade as compared to the security of other online backup services.
Live help is available from Dropbox via email only, something which is not uncommon amongst online backup providers, though it may be frustrating to some users who want an immediate response. That being said, Dropbox does have a very thorough FAQ section which adequately answers most of the questions that users would have in the normal course of Dropbox usage.
There is a reason why Dropbox is the largest online backup and file sharing service (over 300 million customers and counting). Dropbox provides excellent services for home users and small businesses that are looking to share files with each other in the easiest and most secure way possible. Though it may not be the primary focus on the company, there’s no question that Dropbox offers reliable online backup services. After doing this comprehensive Dropbox review, however, we’re confident that any Dropbox user will come to appreciate not only the company’s backup, but all of the services that the company has to offer.