By Paul Niemeyer
November 21, 2013
Dropbox is one of the most popular and most widely used cloud storage solutions with a very simplistic and at the same time, elegant file synchronizationapproach. It doesn’t matter what sort of device or computer you are using, Dropbox will provide instant access to your files wherever you are. The Dropbox cloud service offers strong encryption running on multiple servers and allows you to reach your files instantly and with ease with pure elegance using any internet-enabled device.
Dropbox is a freemium service. To start with, it offers Dropbox Basic, which is absolutely free and provides 2GB cloud storage. Refer Dropbox to a friend through referrals or recommending the Dropbox you’re your Twitter account and you can win an additional 500MB per person.
If you need more space, you can buy 100GB paying pay $9.99 per month, 200GB for $9.99 per month and 500GB for $49.99 per month. These plans are known as Dropbox Pro.
Besides, you can also enjoy the benefits of Dropbox Teams which is basically for small business owners and offers 1 Terabyte of storage for five users at a price of $795 per year.
How to Get Dropbox
You can easily download Dropbox from its website. Don’t go looking for the app on the Mac App Store as it’s not available there. The iOS version of Dropbox can be found in the Apple’s mobile app market and there are apps for Android and Blackberry platforms too.
After downloading the software, you’ll have to install the client. You can sign into your own Dropbox account or create a new account. Installing the software will create a folder called “Dropbox” in your Windows Explorer left pane (which you can later move anywhere). A shortcut will also appear allowing you to launch the application by just a double click. You can also set the preference settings for changing the folder’s location or regulating the upload and download speeds.
There a few different ways to share any file on Dropbox. Firstly, there is the Public Folder. Anything you put in this folder, can be shared with others using just a public link. Right click the file you want to share from the Public Folder and select Copy Public Link. This will copy a web link to your clipboard, which when shared can be easily downloaded or viewed by anyone. This feature does not include a password protection and the file can be accessed by anyone having the link.
There is a subfolder called Photos which allows you to share link to a photo in the Public Gallery the same way. There is another feature which uses invitation.Shared access to folders is allowed through such invitations and this covers folders which are not included in the Public Folder too. Just right click on the folder you’re intending to share and you’ll be directed to the Dropbox website. You’ll be asked to enter the email addresses of the recipients, who can then view, edit or delete files from the folder. They will need a Dropbox account for this, but installing the software is not essential.
Another way of sharing file on Dropbox is to provide a direct link to the file you want to share from the website. Clicking on any file will allow you to choose Get Link which opens the file in a web browser and the unique URL can then be shared by anyone who doesn’t have an account on Dropbox. This is a very convenient feature as it allows sharing files from any folder even with people who are not familiar with Dropbox.
One of the most exclusive features of Dropbox is that it has very neat and intelligent interface. Right clicking on any file on My Dropbox allows to choose Revisions option. This opens the web page and shows a change log of that particular file. This is actually a lot simpler than SugarSync or other cloud services, where you have to hunt down the files using the web page or separate program for viewing the change log.
The web interface is very efficient. There is a collapsible list of Recent Events at the top where the files which you’ve recently added, deleted or edited are listed. An RSS feed of these changes can be created to monitor the changes made by your team members. Check out Cloud Tweak’s article on How Dropbox Leads the Way to Cloud Storage.
- Allows effortless synchronization of files
- Apps supported by a wide range of operating systems
- Reliable servers with zero downtime
- Instant installation
- File sharing supported
- Allow viewing change log
- Compact OS integration
- Synchronous collaboration of files not allowed
- Actual location of files can be a bit confusing
Compare Dropbox with the most popular cloud storage solutions available today from our article on Top 10 Cloud Storage Providers Comparison.