Dropbox provides users a way to create a folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox can then synchronize so that it displays as being the same folder. It contains the same files, regardless of which computer the said folder is being accessed from. It silently syncs over the internet and you may use it on as many computers as you would like and just the same, Dropbox does all the syncing without you having to worry about it. It works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It also works just as seamlessly on mobile devices such as iOS, Blackberry and Android.
Dropbox only synchronizes files saved in a single dedicated folder. In case you prefer to consolidate folders scattered across your system without having to transfer them into your dedicated Dropbox folder, this application may not be your cup of tea. Despite that, its effortless operation should make it most worthy of your consideration for your backup and file sharing needs.
Dropbox is being offered at different price points. To start off, there is the basic package which provides users with 2GB of storage for free. You then get to earn additional free space by virtue of referrals to the tune of 500MB per person, up to a maximum of 18GB. You can also add to this by linking your Twitter account in case you have one.
If this will not suffice, paid plans known as Dropbox Pro are available through the following options:
- $9.99 per month for 100GB ( or $99 per year )
- $19.99 per month for 200GB ( or $199 per year )
- $49.99 per month for 500GB ( or $499 per year )
Lastly, listed below is a package known as Dropbox Teams, a plan best suited for small businesses:
- $795 per year, offering 1TB of storage for five users, plus an additional 200GB priced at $125 for each additional user.
In addition, this type of account provides users administrative tools, phone support, and access to unlimited version history.
After downloading and installing the Dropbox client, you will then have the option to either sign into your existing account or create a new one. A new folder called “Dropbox” will then be created by the program on your computer. You can then specify where you would like to have it installed or simply accept the default location given, which you can always change afterwards. Dropbox will then appear as a shortcut on your Mac’s top menu bar where clicking it allows you to customize it’s settings according to your preference from changing the folder’s location to adjusting your download and upload rate.
Since Dropbox uses cloud storage to save synchronized files, this translates to the same files also being made available on any computer that has an internet connection or where you have also installed Dropbox. Copies of older versions of your files are preserved in My Dropbox. Thus, you will always have the latest copy of the said files on your computers apart from still being able to access older versions or files you have already deleted or moved by virtue of your internet connection. Dropbox also provides the ability to upload and download only the parts of files that change during revisions. After making a few changes to a 200MB file I had, I discovered that Dropbox only needed to transfer 4 to 5MB of data in order to update the file which translates to modest savings on bandwidth.
Aside from the features mentioned above, Dropbox provides collaborative sharing with others, read-only sharing, and image uploads. A mobile app is also available for download albeit with limited options. It is worth mentioning here some of the ways on how you can share files with others. From a subfolder called Photos, one may select to send a link to a Public Gallery that anyone can access to view photos you have copied into it.
You may also opt for invitation-only shared access to folders that you have created in My Dropbox, rather than just for individual files. Simply right click any folder you would like to share, and the application will lead you to Dropbox’s website where you can input the email addresses of people who you would like to grant access. Your friends will now have the ability to add, edit, and delete files in the folder. They will need a Dropbox account but as long as they are satisfied with accessing the folder online, they do not need to install the client. If in case they decide to install it, the shared folder will consequently be downloaded to their My Dropbox folder.
Another way to share files is by giving out it’s direct link. Right clicking on a file yields out an option called Get link, which in turn opens your Dropbox file in a web browser along with its own URL. You can then provide that URL to anyone even if they do not have a Dropbox account. By doing this, you get to keep the files right where you want them on your Mac and still make them accessible to anyone.
Collaborative sharing allows any folder to be shared with any other user ( if they do not have an account, they can sign up for the basic package for free ). A shared folder is then synced among all users accessing it, unless they remove themselves or gets kicked out by the owner.
Dropbox is very well executed, cloud based, and offers automatic file synchronization for working on files saved in a single virtual folder.