Dropbox is what you'd call a "freemium" service. If you haven't heard that term before, it basically means that they offer a free version of the program, but its features are somewhat limited. This supposedly entices people, if they like the program, to upgrade the program with additional or better features by purchasing a subscription.
In the case of Dropbox, the upgrades that you get for a paid account usually have to do with getting more computer memory to use to store files on Dropbox, or getting extra security features like being able to remotely delete Dropbox and its associated data off a lost or stolen computer or mobile device.
There are three different pricing plans that you can use for Dropbox: "Basic", "Pro", and "Business". Each one gives you different features and costs a different amount of money. We'll break each of them down below. (Note: all prices listed are in U.S. dollars.)
This is the free version of Dropbox. It allows you to:
Store your computer files on Dropbox's servers, so they don't take up space on your own computer or mobile device.
Access your computer files from the Dropbox application on your computer or mobile device, or directly on Dropbox's website.
Share files (and the folders that contain them) instantly with other people who use Dropbox. Files will synchronize (automatically update) to reflect any new changes to them.
Give people links to your files on Dropbox so that they can view and download those files, even if they don't use Dropbox themselves.
Recover a previous version of a file that you've stored on Dropbox, as long as that version is less than 30 days old.
The main drawback of a basic account is that you only get 2 gigabytes of computer memory with which to store computer files on Dropbox. This isn't so bad if you're just sharing office documents, since they usually don't take up much memory space, but pictures, songs, and videos are another story. 2 gigabytes only holds about 33 hours of music, 4 hours of video, or about 300 photos (depending on the average size of your files).
Fortunately, Dropbox has ways for you to increase the amount of computer memory that you can use to store your files, without having to upgrade your account. These include referring others to sign up for Dropbox, or linking your account on Facebook or Twitter to Dropbox.
COST: $9.99 per month, or $99 per year
This is the first upgrade for Dropbox. The most noticeable improvement is in the amount of memory space that you get with which to store your files on Dropbox. As opposed to the 2 gigabytes that you get with a basic account, you get 1 terabyte of memory, which is the equivalent of 1000 gigabytes! That's 500 times greater memory capacity for your account!
Dropbox Pro offers all of the Basic features, plus a few extra security features, such as:
Add a password layer of security to your shared links. People can follow links to your files on Dropbox, but without the correct password, they can't see or download those files.
Set expiration dates for your shared links. Choose for how long people can follow certain links to your files on Dropbox.
Set view-only permissions for shared folders. This allows people you've shared a folder with to view files inside that folder, but does not allow them to change those files in any way.
Delete the Dropbox application -- and all data associated with it -- from your computer or mobile device, in case it gets lost or stolen. Don't worry; all of your files will still be safe on Dropbox's servers.
Also, like with a Dropbox Basic account, you can earn more memory space (should you need it) by referring other people to use Dropbox. As a bonus for having a Dropbox Pro account, though, your reward per referral and your extra space limit are both doubled! Again, see our Dropbox Referrals tutorial for more information.
COST: $75 per month,for up to 5 users + $15 per month for each additional user
This is the big one, the version of Dropbox that is used by professional organizations. When you sign up for Dropbox for Business, you get 5 licenses to use the service, which you can distribute to team members in your business, or perhaps clients you interact with frequently, or whomever else you need to use Dropbox (they just have to sign up with their email addresses). You can purchase additional licenses for extra team members, as well, but they will cost you extra money per month.
Extra features in Dropbox for Business (beyond the ones in Dropbox Pro) include:
1 terabyte of computer memory on Dropbox for each user. That's at least 5 terabytes, or 5000 gigabytes, or 2500 times the amount of memory space that you get with a basic account!
Two separate Dropbox clients: one for the business, and one for your personal use, to keep those two worlds separate for both you and your employees.
If someone leaves your company or stops being a client, or otherwise stops needing to use Dropbox, you can easily transfer their files in Dropbox -- and permissions to view and edit business files and folders in Dropbox -- to another person.
Each version of the files in your business Dropbox is stored indefinitely. That means you don't have to worry about whether a version is older than 30 days or not if you want to recover it. From the first draft to the latest edits, they're all there, ready for you to roll back to a previous version of a file if something goes wrong.
Activity logs and internal auditing functions allow you to track your team's productivity easily. See who did something on Dropbox and when they did it, from logging in to sharing a folder to editing a document to downloading a file through a shared link.
As a matter of fact, there are. Dropbox offers a free trial of Dropbox for Business for two weeks. Also, if you contact Dropbox's sales team, they can give you discounts for Dropbox for Business if enough people in your company will be using it, or if your organization is non-profit or educational in nature.
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