Dropbox Pricing

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.

How much does Dropbox cost?

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.)

Dropbox Basic

COST: Free

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. 

See this How Can I Get More Space? help page on Dropbox's website for a list of ways that you can earn free extra computer memory for your Dropbox account.  Also, see our Dropbox Referrals tutorial.

Dropbox Pro

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!

Dropbox for Business

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.

Are there any discounts or free trials for Dropbox?

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.

Is Dropbox Safe and Secure?

Addressing the safety and security of Dropbox means answering two questions in one. So, to avoid confusion, we’re going to address each question separately.  First, we’ll talk about how safe your files are against being changed or deleted when you store them on Dropbox (as opposed to your own computer or somewhere else).  Then, we’ll discuss how secure your files are from having other people accessing and tampering with them while they’re on Dropbox.

How safe is Dropbox?

When it comes to whether or not your files are safe from being changed or lost when you put them on Dropbox, the answer is “yes”.  Since you can access your files on Dropbox from multiple different computers or mobile devices, including from the Dropbox website itself, you will still have access to your files even if one of your devices breaks or otherwise has something go wrong with it.  And since they’re holding onto your files for you, it’s in the best interests of Dropbox to make sure that nothing unwanted happens to those files, in order for you to maintain your trust in them.

There is one wrinkle, however, and that’s if you share files or folders with other people.  If you share a file or folder with someone, they may change or delete it on you.  However, this isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds.  If you log into your Dropbox account on the website, you can revert a file to a previous version, or recover a deleted file/folder, as long as that file/folder (or version of it) is newer than 30 days.  You can extend this timeline — and use extra features that let you limit what other people can do with your files and folders — by upgrading your Dropbox account (see tip #3 below).  Or you could just not share certain files and folders (see tip #1 below).  If you need help, see these Dropbox articles on how to restore a previous version of a file and how to recover a deleted file.

Dropbox Safety Tips

1. Don’t put files with overly sensitive personal information on Dropbox.

It’s probably not a good idea to use Dropbox for storing things like account passwords, credit card information, or government-issued documents.  Besides the risk (low, but still potential) of someone else snooping on that information (especially if they end up in a shared folder), if they somehow get deleted from Dropbox, you might be in trouble.  It’s probably best if you store information like this personally, either in physical form or on a dedicated backup disk (see the last point).

2. Use the Dropbox website to manage who is able to do what with your files and folders.

You can use the settings available on the Dropbox website to remove yourself or others from a shared folder, so that you or other people can’t share files in that folder anymore.  You can also adjust the permissions of certain people with regards to a shared folder, so that they can see the files inside said folder, but can’t do anything with them.  However, this requires you to upgrade your Dropbox account (see the point below for more information).

3. Upgrade your Dropbox account.

If you get a subscription to Dropbox Pro or Dropbox for Business, you get more than just an increase in the amount of computer memory that you can use to store your computer files.  You also get added security features, such as the ability to set passwords and expiry dates for direct links to your Dropbox files, and the ability to delete Dropbox and all related information from a device in case it gets lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised.  You can also make it so that people whom you share folders with can see the files inside those folders, but can’t change them in any way.

See our Dropbox Pricing article for a full list of benefits of upgrading your Dropbox account.

4. Use a dedicated alternative backup disk.

If you’re still overly concerned about losing your files, what some people will do is put additional copies of their files somewhere other than Dropbox, such as on an external hard drive.  External hard drives are relatively inexpensive, and have a lot of memory storage space, and are easy to connect to your computer by using common U.S.B. technology.  Then, just copy your files onto the disk, and rearrange them however you want!  Though, for your purposes, this might be overdoing it.

How tight is Dropbox security?

As to whether your files and folders on Dropbox are safe from strangers getting at them and looking at what’s in them, the answer is “mostly”.  Dropbox regularly tests their system to make sure that it can keep thieves and other troublemakers out.  In addition, Dropbox locks your files with an encryption “key” when they are sent into and out of Dropbox, as well as when they are inside Dropbox.  This means that, even if someone else were able to get a hold of your files, they wouldn’t be able to find out what’s in them without that “key”.

However, we wouldn’t be being honest if we didn’t let you know that Dropbox has had a few security-related incidents in the past, most of which they have learned from, and used to fix and improve their system.  We should also mention that, since Dropbox stores the “keys” for locking your files instead of you, there are some security professionals who worry that this setup presents a security risk.  It might mean that Dropbox employees can access the content of your files (even though the Dropbox Privacy Policy states that they’re not allowed to except in very rare circumstances, like when they are required to do so by the law), or that an intruder might be able to read your files if they got a hold of Dropbox’s “keys”. 

See our Is Dropbox Private article for more information.

How to make Dropbox more secure

1. Use a strong password for your Dropbox account.

Though this one’s a bit of a no-brainer, it’s still worth mentioning.  Your account password is at least part of what keeps your files secure on Dropbox, so make sure that it’s a good one.  Use a combination of letters and numbers if you can, and even some symbols.  Also, try upper-case and lower-case variations of letters.  Try to make your password something that isn’t too hard to remember, but won’t be too easy to guess.  For example, instead of “baseball” as a password, try one like “B@5eb@11”.

Our How to Make a Strong Password tutorial has a full set of tips for making secure passwords.

2. Enable two-step verification on your Dropbox account.

This is a bit of an advanced tip that might be more of a hassle than a help, but if you have a mobile phone that can receive text messages or has a verification application installed, you can add an extra layer of security to your Dropbox account.  Two-step verification allows you to require both your password AND a randomly-generated six-digit security code in order to log into Dropbox, or connect to your Dropbox account from a new device.  If you’re interested, see this Dropbox help article for how to enable two-step verification.

3.  Use another program to lock your files before you put them in Dropbox.

Again, this is a very advanced tip that probably means overdoing things, but there are certain programs out there, such as AES Crypt, AxCrypt, and VeraCrypt that allow you to lock your files before you put them on Dropbox.  This means that, in the rare situation that a stranger gets a hold of your files on Dropbox, they’ll have to undo Dropbox’s locks on your files, as well as the locks that you put there, if they want to do anything with those files.  This kind of defeats the purpose of using the easy sharing features of Dropbox (since you or anyone else who gets the file has to manually unlock it, as opposed to Dropbox locking and unlocking it automatically), but it’s an option for making Dropbox more secure.

Dropbox Review

Are you ready to take a deeper look inside Dropbox?  Here are some of the service's high points and low points, for your consideration.


  • Dropbox is everywhere you go — Dropbox is accessible from multiple places: your desktop computer, your tablet computer, your mobile smart phone, or anywhere you can access the Dropbox website.  Even if one of your devices breaks or otherwise malfunctions, your files on Dropbox are still safe with them, and you can still get at them by using another device.

  • Easy and intuitive — What Dropbox lacks in features, it makes up for in simplicity.  It creates a special folder on your computer, where you can move other files and folders, and then navigate through them just like you would with your computer's usual file explorer.

  • Files can be as big as you want — There is no restriction on Dropbox for the amount of memory space that a single file can take up (unlike for some of Drobox's competitors).

  • Share files and folders in a flash — You can use Dropbox to share files and folders with other people who use Dropbox, or with people who don't have Dropbox via direct links.  Putting files on Dropbox, taking them off Dropbox, and synchronizing them across your devices is significantly faster with Dropbox than most of its competing services.

  • No need to panic over lost or altered files — If one of your files or folders on Dropbox is changed or deleted against your will, you can reverse the change or deletion within 30 days (or longer, if you upgrade your account).


  • No live collaboration on files — Dropbox doesn't allow two people to work on a file at the same time, or else it creates two separate copies of the same file.  You will have to wait for one person to finish editing a file, save it and close it, and then let it synchronize on Dropbox before you can work on it.

  • Comparatively small initial storage space — The initial 2 gigabytes of memory storage space that Dropbox provides with free accounts is relatively small.  Many comparable services offer anywhere between 3 and 10 gigabytes of storage with free accounts.  However, you can get around this somewhat by referring Dropbox to your friends, and getting them to use it.  We'll have a tutorial dedicated to how to do this.

  • Speed… at what cost? — Dropbox has received a bit of criticism for how it handles security and privacy.  In a couple of our later articles, we'll get into details about this, and provide a few tips for staying safe and secure while using Dropbox.

The Bottom Line: 8/10

Dropbox is one of the most well-recognized names when it comes to storing and sharing computer files through the Internet cloud, for a couple of reasons.  First, it's one of the easiest and simplest services out there; just install the client, throw files and folders into your new Dropbox folder, and you're good to go.  Dropbox also allows you to get at your files from your desktop computer, your mobile device, or their own website, so there's always a way to access your stuff, even if one of those routes breaks down.  And your files will almost always synchronize between devices, so you'll always be able to see the latest changes made to a file.

Dropbox also makes it easy to share your files with other people, whether or not they use Dropbox.  This is useful for avoiding clunky attachments interfaces in email clients, especially if you're part of a team that's working on a certain document at the same time.  And if someone whom you've shared a file with accidentally changes or deletes it, you can retrieve the file (or a previous version of it), as long as the change or deletion is less than 30 days old.

As Dropbox has grown, though, so has the criticism regarding it.  The initial amount of memory storage space that you get to store your files and folders with on a free account is relatively small, compared to the amount that some of Dropbox's competitors now offer for free.  Dropbox has also received finger-wags from experts in the computer world concerning how its security and privacy systems work and are designed.  Though Dropbox has worked (and continues to work) hard to correct many of its initial problems, it's still not perfect, and you'll have to take a few extra steps if you really want to cover all of your bases.

What is Dropbox? + How Does Dropbox Work?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could access the files on your computer anywhere you went?  Well, there are ways to do it, but how practical are they?  If you use a standard desktop computer, USB memory sticks are an inexpensive solution that let you load your files onto another computer.  However, they're easy to misplace, and it's easy to forget what files are on which stick. And if you own a laptop, you don't necessarily want to be lugging it around everywhere you go. And even so, what happens if your laptop crashes, or you lose your USB stick? How do you recover those files?

In today’s world, there are much easier ways to store your files, and then access them while on the go. Using the Internet to save to "the cloud”, you can access a computer file storage system from your computer's desktop, from Internet browsers (like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer), or even on your mobile device! One of the most popular services like this is Dropbox.

Dropbox is a cloud-based storage system that uses the Internet to save and store your files.  This allows you to access them almost anywhere that you can get an Internet connection, such as on other computers or your mobile device. Dropbox also provides a backup for all of your files, so you never lose them.

How Dropbox works: 4 reasons you should start using Dropbox

1. Store and retrieve your files from just about anywhere

Dropbox gives you multiple ways to put your computer files on Dropbox's secure servers, or take them off (if you need to): through Dropbox's website itself, through an access program and folder on your desktop computer, or through an application on your mobile device (e.g. tablet computer or smart phone).  Dropbox will synchronize your files across all devices that you connect to it, so you can upload and work on a file in one place, and then pick up right where you left off in another place.

(Image source: TechLozenge)

2. Share folders to synchronize files and work on them together

Dropbox also makes it easy to share your computer files with others.  If you know others that use Dropbox, you can invite them to share any of your folders on Dropbox.  If they accept, then all you need to do is put a file in that folder, and it will show up in the same folder on your friend's account.  From there, your friend can add more files to that folder, delete files they don't need any more, and make changes to the files already inside the folder.

3. Share files with links to stay in control of them

If you want to share your files on Dropbox with others without letting them make any changes, Dropbox lets you do that, too.  You can share Internet links to your files and folders on Dropbox that let people who have them view what's inside those folders, view previews of those files, and even download copies of those files.  However, they can't make any changes to the files and folders that you link to.

4. With multiple backup copies, your files are safe

Dropbox will back up the files that you put on it for at least 30 days.  This means that even if something goes wrong with your computer or mobile device, or you trade in for a new one, your computer files will be safe on Dropbox.  Dropbox also keeps backups of your files and each of their versions for at least 30 days (more if you upgrade your account), so if a file accidentally gets changed or deleted on Dropbox, you can change it back or fish it out of the trash!


And those are just a few of the reasons why so many people use Dropbox!  Throughout our Dropbox course, we'll outline the security and privacy implications of using Dropbox, show you how to set up a Dropbox account, teach you how to use Dropbox to store and share your files and folders, and even tell you how to set up a shortcut for Dropbox on your desktop computer.  Soon, you'll be a Dropbox whiz, able to manage your computer files across multiple devices easily and conveniently!